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Medicine Department

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About
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The Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya is managed by 24 staff members including 13 academic lecturers. The core functions of the Department are: teaching, research and diagnostic service. The Department is responsible for the teaching of Medical Parasitology to the students of the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), Bachelor of Biomedical Science, Bachelor in Pharmacy, Bachelor of Nursing Sciences, Master of Pathology (MPath), Master of Public Health (MPH) and University elective course. The Department has to date produced hundreds of Master and PhD students, including international students.

The Department also serves as a reference centre for parasitic diseases for government and private hospitals. Teaching and research are continuously being improved and upgraded in order to meet the needs and demands of the clients. Diagnostic tests in the Department are benchmarked against international standards.

The Department regularly organizes workshops for scientists and the public to disseminate information and knowledge on parasites. Inter-university quiz on Parasitology has also been organised in order to stimulate students’ interest in the field of Parasitology. In 2015, the Department held discussions with over 20 institutions of higher learning on the standardization of Parasitology curriculum.

The Department’s effort is to promote Parasitology not just as a teaching subject but also to create awareness among the public at large on the ill effects of parasitic infections.

Vision

  • Our vision is to be the Centre of Excellence for research, innovation, publication and teaching in Parasitology.

Mission

  • To advance knowledge and learning of Parasitology through quality research and education
  • To be recognized as the National Diagnostic and Referral Centre for Parasitic Infections
  • To standardize the Parasitology curriculum by spearheading discussion sessions among local universities

Newsletter
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Event
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This workshop was conducted by the Department of Parasitology at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, from 4-8 March 2019. It consisted of a series of lectures and practical sessions.

Countries in the region are working towards malaria elimination and Plasmodium knowlesi malaria is the predominant species affecting humans in Malaysia. All countries in Southeast Asia have reported cases of P. knowlesi. The Department of Parasitology of the University of Malaya is at the forefront of knowlesi malaria research and strives to share knowledge with other institutes and is always sensitive to global needs. Thus, participants attending this workshop gained valuable information and techniques that they can bring back and implement in their respective institutes and universities. It also served as a platform to interact with various research institutes and universities within the country as well as the region to foster collaboration on P. knowlesi.

The workshop had 20 participants from eight countries which are as follows: Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

The University of Malaya received support from APMEN, the MESA Alliance, hosted by ISGlobal, MSMBB, Prima Nexus and Nextgene. Full series of reports and the daily reports posted on website:

Contact Information
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Department of Parasitology, 
Blocks N & O, Level 5,
Faculty of Medicine,
University of Malaya, 
50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +603-7967 4745 
Fax: +603-7967 4754
Website: https://medicine.um.edu.my/parasitology-department
Facebook: www.facebook.com/parasiteum
 
History
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Past and Present Head of Department

Prof. Dr. R. Bisseru

1967 – 1972

Prof. Dr. A.S. Dissanaike

1972 – 1979

Assoc. Prof. Dr. S. Ramalingam

1979

Assoc. Prof. Dr. V. Thomas

1984

Prof. Dr. S.P. Chua

1986 – 1989

Assoc. Prof. Dr. K. Chandra Shekhar

1990

Dr. Nik Najib Nik Abdul Rahman

1990

Prof. Dr. B. Sinniah

1992

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Johari Surin

1994; 2005 – August 2016

Prof. Dr. Khairul Anuar Abdullah

1995 – 2004

Prof. Dr. Rohela Mahmud

2000; Sept 2006

Prof. Dr. Suresh Kumar

Oct 2015 – March 2019

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Lau Yee Ling

March 2019 – Current

 
Staff
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Associate Prof. Dr. Lau Yee Ling

Head of Department

 
Academic Programme
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Undergraduate
  • MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery)
  • Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences
  • Bachelors in Pharmacy 
  • Diploma and Bachelor in Nursing
  • Elective course
Postgraduate
  • Master of Medical Science
  • PhD
  • Master of Pathology (MPath)
  • Master of Public Health (MPH)
 
Research
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Active research on parasitic diseases and emerging parasites is another core activity. The Department has acquired many grants and translated its activities in the form of publications and presentations at national and international conferences.

One of the major research thrusts is on Neglected Tropical Diseases among marginalized populations (e.g., Orang Asli communities, migrant workers) using tools such as Geographic Information System (GIS) and Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). Our researchers have also begun exploring molecular mechanisms that underpin the interactions between intestinal parasitic worm infections, nutritional status, gut microbiota (bacteria) and immune inflammatory responses.

Another research focus is the development of rapid specific and specific diagnostic methods for malaria such as loop mediated isothermal amplification combined with nucleic acid lateral flow strip. This innovative technique enables fast diagnosis using simple facility, which is potentially useful for remote areas.

Our entomology research team has embarked on project to identify vectors of Plasmodium knowlesi the zoonotic malaria parasite. Several species of Anopheles has been identified as vectors in Peninsular Malaysia. Apart from malaria vectors, studies on new paradigms for dengue surveillance have been successful with proactive strategies developed to prevent the spread of the deadly disease. Innovative mosquito capturing sticky traps have been developed for randomized control studies. The department has a state of the art insectarium with facility for breeding of mosquitoes and conducting infection experiments.

Research on Blastocystis in the Department has resulted in better understanding on host–parasite relationship, mode of infection, immunity of hosts and pathogenicity of the parasite, leading to its placing in the fact sheet of the 4th edition of the drinking water guidelines of WHO. Twenty five years research on Blastocystis has enabled the Department to be recognized as being in the frontiers of global Blastocystis research.

The biology and pathogenicity aspects have been researched on other intestinal protozoan parasites such as Cryptosporidium, Acanthamoeba, microsporidum and Trichomonas vaginalis. Cryptosporidium and Giardia are also focus of research in the Department.

A laboratory in the Department is especially dedicated to the understanding of both vertebrate and invertebrate developmental neurobiology. Apart from identification of difficult arthropod specimens using both molecular and taxonomic tools, the laboratory is capable of imaging micro specimens including invertebrate and vertebrate embryos. It also was successful in the construction of the world’s first mouse model of spina bifida occult a arising from failure of primary neurulation.

 
Facilities & Services
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1. Water analysis service
The Department of Parasitology has provided a specialized lab known as Para: SEAD Lab which incorporates diagnostic and water analysis units. The water analysis unit offer service to detect Cryptosporium and Giardia (oo)cysts in water sample. This effort has started since 2004. Thus far water samples received were from various agencies, government and private entities of several states in Malaysia. The type of water sent were majority from rivers and water treatment plant. Other samples occasionally processed were water from lake, dam, tap water and also bottled drinking water.  The unit also held workshops in collaboration with private companies for staff of the Ministry of Health. This unit is currently working hard on cooperation with a private company in order to secure more water samples to be processed by this unit. The unit strives to become a reference center for detecting of not only Cryptosporium and Giardia (oo) cyst but several other parasites that can be found in water to ensure especially the quality of drinking water in this country is free from parasites contamination. 

2. Mosquito collection
We have species of the following mosquito genera: Toxorhynchites, Anopheles, Armigeres, Topomyia, Heizmannia, Zeugenomyia, Faicalbia, Malaya, Uranotaenia, Tripteroides,Orthopodomyia, Aedes,Culex,Mansonia,Coquillettidia, Aedeomyia. This collection is available for teaching and research upon request.

3. Facilities
The department houses advanced parasitology laboratories with the necessary facilities, including: a) Biosafety Level 2 Malaria culture laboratory; b) Arthropod Containment Level 1& 2 facility; and c) Advanced Molecular Parasitology laboratories for rent and research collaborations. Unpaid internship, training, lab attachment opportunities are available upon request.

 
Future Plan
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1 year (April 2019-March 2020)
  • Accreditation of diagnostic laboratory by Standards Malaysia.
  • Organize a malaria workshop
  • Organize Parasitology Quiz 2019
  • Launching of MSc Parasitology and entomology
  • Appointment of Adjunct Professor and Academic Icon
  • Training of undergraduates and interns.
5 year (2019-2013)
  • Each academic staff is to supervise students for Master in Medical Science or PhD
  • Each academic staff is to obtain an national or international for research purposes
  • Collaboration in the field of research with institute within and outside the country
  • To renovate seminar room
  • To offer MSc Parasitology and Entomology
Last Updated: 16/05/2019