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Pathology Department

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The Department of Pathology was formed in 1963, when the faculty of Medicine in the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur was founded.The Department had been involved with the teaching of the undergraduate medical program (MBBS), and four year masters program (MPath). As part of our obligation in assisting other developing countries our department also conducts a 2+1 year program specifically tailored for countries such as Sudan


The Department of Pathology was formed in 1963, when the faculty of Medicine in the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur was founded. Since its formation, the Department had been involved with the teaching of the undergraduate medical program (MBBS), starting from the second academic year with General Pathology, followed on by Applied (Systemic) Pathology. Clinical Chemistry, Clinical Hematology cum Transfusion Medicine and Forensic Pathology are introduced when the students enter their rotational clinical postings. A new integrated curriculum was introduced in 1999 in order to bring the curriculum more in-line with the modern concept and approach of self-directed learning.

In 1972, the Department, at the request of the University started an undergraduate pathology program for the newly formed Faculty of Dentistry. It involves the teaching of General Pathology and Applied Systemic Pathology courses in the undergraduate dental program (BDS).

In 1973, at the request of the Ministry of Health, the department started its 2 year post-graduate program (M.Path). Subsequently in 1991 the program was upgraded to a full four year masters. The current con-joint program consists of 2 parts. The Part I exam is taken at the end of 1 year of rotational postings in Anatomic Pathology (including autopsy pathology), Haematology (including Transfusion Medicine), Microbiology (including parasitology) and Chemical Pathology The part 2 is taken at the end of the 4th year is taken after sub-specialization in one of the 5 disciplines offered in UM – Anatomic Pathology, Haematology, Chemical Pathology, Microbiology and Forensic Medicine. In addition the candidate is required to submit a Research Report.

As part of our obligation in assisting other developing countries our department also conducts a 2+1 year program specifically tailored for countries such as Sudan. We run the Postgraduate Master of Medical Science in Clinical Pathology essentially for the training of Sudanese doctors to provide General Pathology services upon returning to their country.


Associate Prof. Dr. Nazarina binti Abdul Rahman

Head of Department

Academic Programme

Teaching Programme

The department runs the following undergraduate programme:
2. BDS

Number of student enrolled for undergraduate programme

Programme No of students enrolled (2011/2012) No of students graduated (2010/2011)
MBBS Phase II 217 206
MBBS Phase IIIA 201 192
MBBS Phase IIIB 192 187
BDS 74 70

The postgraduate programmes are:
1. Master of Pathology
2. Master of Medical Science in Clinical Pathology (MMSCP) Basic
3. Master of Medical Science in CLinical Pathology (MMSCP) Monospecaility
4. MD
5. PhD

Number of student enrolled for postgraduate programme

Programme No of students enrolled (2011/2012) No of students graduated (2010/2011)
MPath 68
MMSCP Basic 7 6
MMSCP Monospeciality 6 6
MD 1

More information about Postgraduate Programme click here

Prof. Dr. Cheah Phaik Leng
  1. Cell-cycle regulators in hepatocellular carcinoma
  2. p161NK4a as a surrogate marker for high-risk HPV to improve diagnostic accuracy and add prognostic value to the histopathological diagnosis of cervical neoplasia
Prof. Datuk Dr. Looi Lai Meng An investigation into the clinical utility of serum telomerase as a molecular detection marker for breast cancer
Prof. Dr. Wong Kum Thong

1. Pathology of Infectious diseases

  1. Human viral encephalitis including Henipavirus encephalitis, rabies, Japanese encephalitis and Enterovirus 71 encephalomyelitis
  2. Animal models of henipavirus and Enterovirus 71 infections
  3. Melioidosis (Burkholderia pseudomallei infection in humans and animal model)
  4. Plasmodium knowlesi (monkey) malaria
  5. In situ hybridization techniques in the detection of pathogens in infected tissues
  6. Dengue and cellular targets

2.   Pathology of muscle disease

  1. Genetics of inherited muscle diseases: Limb girdle muscular dystrophy (e.g. dysferlinopathy,
    sarcoglycanopathy), Ullrich congenital
    muscular dystrophy
  2. Inflammatory myopathy
Associate Prof Dr. Veera Sekaran Nadarajan
  1. Characterisation of tyrosine kinase domain mutations in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia with resistance to imatinib therapy and implication on cell cycling and apoptotic pathways
  2. Identification of mutations other than JAK2 V617F in patients with myeloproliferative neoplasm and correlation with their phenotype and clinical outcome
  3.  Serial identification of unbalanced genomic aberrations by array CGH in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia on imatinib therapy
Associate Prof Dr. Malathi A/P Thevarajah Clinical Utility of Her-2/neu as a Tumor Marker for monitoring women with breast cancer in the Malaysian population
Associate Prof Dr.Pavai Sthaneshwar Establishment of reference interval for newborn screening by Tandem mass spectrometry
Dr. Hemalatha Shanmugam
  1. Diagnostic usefulness and application of rapid screening test for pregnant female alpha thalassaemia carriers
  2. Assessment and clinical utility of immature platelet function (IPF) in immune and non-immune thrombocytopenias
Dr. S.Jayaranee
  1. Frequency of von Willebrand’s disease(vWD) in women presenting with presumed dysfunctional uterine bleeding in Universit Malaya Medical Centre
  2. Prevalence and clinical importance of antiphospholipid antibodies in systemic lupus erythematosus patients in the Malaysian population

The Department of Pathology, headed by Professor Dr. Cheah Phaik Leng comprises 3 divisions:
1. DIVISION OF ANATOMIC PATHOLOGY- coordinated by Professor Dr. Cheah Phaik Leng

2. DIVISION OF FORENSIC PATHOLOGY – coordinated by Associate Professor Dr. Nazarina Abdul Rahman

3. DIVISION OF LABORATORY MEDICINE – coordinated by Prof Dr Clement Kam Man Ho

Division of Anatomical Pathology provides diagnostic services in Histopathology and Cytopathology to the University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC).

The type of services offered by the histopathology laboratory includes diagnostic histopathology based on H&E and special histochemistry and immunohistochemistry. The histopathology laboratory also provides urgent diagnostic services through intraoperative frozen sections.

Clinical specialists of this laboratory also provide consultancy services to Ministry of Health Hospitals and private hospitals in the areas of renal, cardiac, muscle and nerve pathology.
Services provided by the cytopathology laboratory include gynaecological and non gynaecological smear tests as well as Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology. Pathologists carry out Fine Needle Aspiration for the in-patients in UMMC ward. Fine Needle Aspiration Clinics are conducted twice a week.

Forensic pathologists undertake forensic pathology services for the police and also conduct clinical autopsies to UMMC. They also serve as “expert witness” for court cases. This division is also responsible for the smooth running of UMMC mortuary.

Autopsy reviews are carried regularly with the Division of Anatomic Pathology once in two weeks.

The Division of Laboratory Medicine (LMD) is a clinical diagnostic laboratory of national and international repute, providing quality service of the highest order to its customers through relevant, effective and up to date laboratory diagnosis and consultancy.

The facility is located on the 4th and 6th floors, Menara Timur, UMMC while a satellite laboratory operates in the clinic area on the ground floor of the Primary Medical Care (RUKA) Building.
Diagnostic services

This is a composite of several disciplines providing routine diagnostic service. These disciplines are grouped together on the basis of similar workflow in their operations and include:

· Routine Clinical Chemistry
· Fluids and Excretion

· Routine Haematology
Several areas function as specialized laboratories in view of the nature of work, which are performed, requiring specific staffing and methodologies. These include:

Endocrine Laboratory

This laboratory handles chemical and immunological tests that require special techniques and include hormones and tumour markers.

Inborn Errors of Metabolism (IEM) laboratory

Investigation of Inherited Metabolic Disorders or Inborn Error of Metabolism including urine screening, amino acid and organic acid analyses, GAG Quantitation and GAG electrophoresis and sweat test.


This laboratory provides Immunology service including immunochemistry, protein electrophoresis, auto antibodies screen, monoclonal gamma globulin detection and quantitation of lymphocyte subsets.

Special Chemistry

Chemistry tests which are more complex and not provided on a 24-hour basis are conducted here. This includes therapeutic drug monitoring (in conjunction with Pharmacy Department), HbA1c and catecholamines.

Special Haematology

This laboratory handles Haematology tests that are more esoteric and in-depth and include specific coagulation and haemoglobinopathy studies.

Bone Marrow Studies

These involve analysis of bone marrow samples including morphological and immunophenotyping studies.

Molecular and Genetic Analysis Laboratory

This laboratory provides cytogenetics and molecular diagnostics for various haematological and non-haematological disorders including histocompatibility and immunogenetics testing.


This laboratory provides the services in the area of clinical Toxicology.


The division also operates a satellite laboratory, named The Polyclinic Laboratory, located at the Rawatan Utama Building and serves all the outpatient areas. It carries out basic Routine Haematology and Fluids and Excretion examination including urinalysis and seminal assays.


1. Review of Autopsy Cases weekly
2. Clinicopathological Correlation Sessions with Radiology, Breast Surgery Team, Urology, Gastroenterology, Orthopaedics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, General Surgery, Opthalmology, Otorhinolagryngology on weekly basis
3. Specialist Clinicopathological Correlation Sessions with Neurosurgery, Nephrology, Dermatology
4. Guest Lectures:

  • Lectures by: Assoc Prof Dr Tan Soo Yong
    Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Senior Consultant Pathologist, Singapore General Hospital Director, Singhealth Tissue Repository

Year 2010

Date Teaching Programme
14.04.2010 Approach to diagnosis of lymphomas
15.04.2010 Low grade indolent B-cell lymphomas
16.04.2010 High grade aggressive B-cell lymphomas
03.08.2010 Normal lymphoid tissue and immunoarchitecture
04.08.2010 Slide seminar – Lymphoma pathology
05.08.2010 1. Principles and applications of interphase FISH 2. Practical : Interphase FISH with enumeration and breakpart probes
06.08.2010 1. Algorithmic approach to NK and T cell neoplasms 2. Slide seminar: Diagnosis of mature NK and T cell neoplasms

Year 2011

Date Teaching Programme
10.01.2011 Hodgkin Lymphoma
11.01.2011 Slide seminar: B- cell Neoplasms
12.01.2011 Cutaneous lymphoma
13.01.2011 Slide seminar: NK and T cell neoplasms
14.01.2011 Slide seminar: Hodgkin lymphoma and others
08.08.2011 Algorithmic approach to NK and T cell neoplasms
09.08.2011 Slide seminar: NK and T cell lymphomas
10.08.2011 1. Histopathology in the investigation of sudden deaths 2. Pathology of Low grade indolent B-cell lymphomas
11.08.2011 Slide seminar:Hodgkin Lymphoma
12.08.2011 Pathology of high grade b-cell neoplasms
02.12.2011 Normal immunoarchitecture and ontogeny, and Autopsy /slide seminar
05.12.2011 Approach to low grade b-cell neoplasms and Autopsy /slide seminar
06.12.2011 Approach to high grade b-cell neoplasms and Autopsy /slide seminar
07.12.2011 Approach to NK and T cell neoplasms
08.12.2011 Pathology of Hodgkins Lymphomas and Autopsy /slide seminar
09.12.2011 Autopsy /slide seminar

5.Division of Forensic Pathology also facilitated and assisted the Departments of Surgery and Orthopaedic surgery in the conduct national and international workshops and courses during the year 2010.
1. 1st Korea-Asean Joint Laproscopy cadaver workshop in Malaysia on 18th June 2010
2. 1st laproscopic surgery cadaver hernia workshop in Malaysia on 28-30th June 2010
3. ACL Double bundler Reconstruction workshop on 12-13thAugust 2010

Dr Ong Beng Beng -Forensic Pathologist, Forensic and Scientific services Queensland Health visited the Department to give lecture on topic Sudden Cardiac Deaths (28.01.2011)

Future Plan

To increase the range of molecular diagnostic techniques to further enhance the diagnostic services.

Last Updated: 14/01/2020