INSTITUTE OF HEALTH & COMMUNITY MEDICINE

Current Research Project


  • Research Project

    Construction and Characterization of An Immunogenic Dengue Virus-Like Particle (Ph.D. in Medical Virology)

    The increased spread and intensity of dengue over the past decade, ineffective vector control programmes, plus the current lack of available antivirals or licensed vaccines, highlights the need to control dengue. Limitations of current dengue vaccine candidates necessitates continued research into new avenues of creating a neutralizing and long-lasting protective immune response against dengue.

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  • Research Project

    Antigenicity Studies of Rabies Virus Structural Proteins for Antibody Production and Serological Assay Development (Ph.D. in Virology)

    Rabies is an endemic and fatal zoonotic disease, and causes 55,000 human rabies deaths in more than 150 countries and regions per year. Because of limited control measures in many countries and a lack of governmental concern, rabies remains a neglected tropical disease. Although the DFA test is considered as the “gold standard” diagnostic method for rabies, its accuracy is dependent on the quality of brain tissue, availability of high-quality anti-rabies diagnostic conjugates, and accessibility to a fluorescence microscope.

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  • Research Project

    Characterization of Viruses in Patients with Dengue-Like Illness (Ph.D. in Virology)

    Dengue virus occurs in two distinct transmission cycles: transmission among non-human primates which also known as the sylvatic cycle and the human cycle in which the transmission occurs among humans in rural villages and urban settings (Vasilakis et al., 2011). Phylogenetic analyses and ecological studies indicate that the ancestral sylvatic DENV are both ecologically and evolutionary independent from the current endemic sylvatic DENV circulating within urban transmission cycles. However, there are evidence that sylvatic DENV come into regular contact with humans (Fagbami et al., 1977 ; Rudnick, 1986 ; Diallo et al., 2003, Diallo et al., 2005).

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  • Research Project

    Development of Rapid Real Time RT PCR for Rabies Detection in Sarawak (M.Sc. in Virology)

    In mid-2017, Sarawak experienced an outbreak of rabies virus which involves dog bite cases. The state has not recorded any rabies cases for more than 30 years prior to this rabies outbreak. Rabies is an infectious viral disease that is almost always fatal following the onset of clinical signs which is almost exclusively transmitted through saliva from the bite of an infected animal such as dogs and cats. Rabies affects the central nervous system, ultimately causing brain disease and death. The public are continuously reminded to take all necessary precautions to prevent themselves from being bitten by dogs.

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  • Research Project

    Single-Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) Investigation of Rabies Virus (RABV) Strains from the Sarawak Rabies Outbreak (M.Sc. in Virology)

    Sarawak had been historically rabies free although the circulation of the deadly neurotrophic virus has been documented in East Kalimantan since 1974. In June 2017, 2 children from a remote village in the district of Serian at the Sarawak-Indonesia (Kalimantan) border with dog-bite history were presented to the Sarawak General Hospital Sarawak with acute viral encephalitis. RABV was confirmed to be the causative agent of the acute encephalitis. Hence, specific viral genotypes or single nucleotide polymorphism associated with pathogenesis is an important area to be studied.

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  • Research Project

    Genetic Characterization of Human Rhinovirus Isolates from Severe Lower Respiratory Tract Infections of Paediatric Patients in Sarawak (M.Sc. in Medical Virology)

    Human rhinoviruses (HRV), first identified in 1950s, are now showing increased prevalence in causing lower respiratory tract infections particularly among patients of lower age group. Until now, there are no known preventive or antiviral therapies against HRV. Development of effective vaccines that can confer sufficiently wide-ranging immunity becomes today’s major challenge due to the antigenic heterogeneity and high-level sequence variability among HRV serotypes.

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  • Research Project

    Cloning and Expression of Domain III of Envelope protein and prM protein of Zika Virus (M.Sc. in Virology)

    Zika virus (ZIKV) is a member of the Flaviviridae family and is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. ZIKV causes Zika fever in adults and neurological defects in infants. Due to the similar clinical symptoms between ZIKV to other flaviviruses such as dengue and chikungunya, diagnostic confusion may occur in the detection of ZIKV illness.

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  • Research Project

    Molecular Epidemiology of Burkholderia Species in Sarawak (M.Sc. in Emerging Infectious Diseases)

    The genus Burkholderia is a species so diverse that live in the soil and water reservoirs in endemic regions such as the Southeast Asia and the tropical northern Australia. Some of the Burkholderia species are widely used in the biotechnological and agricultural industries for bioremediation.

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  • Research Project

    Characterization of Virus Isolates from Dengue-Like Patient Serum (M.Sc. in Virology)

    Dengue, chikungunya and Zika are epidemic diseases famous for being asymptomatic cases which poses problems in clinical diagnostic. Recently, a group of sample that consisted of local patients' sera which are unidentified specifically were discovered. Clinical diagnostics showed dengue-like symptoms, however, lab diagnostic results were negative.

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  • Research Project

    Proteomics characterization of Burkholderia spp. from Sarawak (M.Sc. in Emerging Infectious Disease)

    Melioidosis is an emerging infectious disease that is highly endemic in Southeast Asia and Northern Australia. The causative agent of this potentially fatal disease is Burkholderia pseudomallei, which is resistant towards a wide range of antibiotics. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are gaining the interests of researchers as an alternative to antibiotics in treating infections caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria. Bacteriocins are AMP secreted by bacteria that usually kill other bacteria that are closely related to the producer strain.

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  • Research Project

    Construction and Characterization of Recombinant Antibody of Chikungunya and Zika Virus (M.Sc. in Virology)

    Monoclonal antibodies have tremendous applications in the field of diagnostics, therapeutics and targeted drug delivery systems. This typical methods involve the use of animals in the production process which requires numerous ethical and animal welfare conditions. Here, we are proposing to produce recombinant antibodies against antigen of Chikungunya and Zika virus using recombinant antibody technology. Recombinant antibodies (rAbs) are mAbs which are generated in vitro using synthetic genes, without using animals in the process.

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  • Research Project

    Correlation between environment factors and Melioidosis in Central region of Sarawak (M.Sc. in Microbiology)

    Melioidosis is a fatal disease caused by B. pseudomallei, where it is endemic in Southeast Asia and Northern Australia. Melioidosis can be acquired by inoculation of bacteria through wound or cut, ingestion of contaminated water and inhalation of contaminated dust. It is co-morbidities associated with diabetes, renal disease, and cancer and also associated with occupational risk such as rice farmer. Burkholderia pseudomallei is a gram-negative bacteria where it can be isolated from soil and water samples. The presence of Burkholderia pseudomallei can be influenced by land use, soil moisture content, soil pH, soil nitrogen and iron content in the environment.

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  • Research Project

    Characterization of Coxsackievirus A6 Strains associated with Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease in Sarawak Malaysia, 1998-2015 (M.Sc. in Virology)

    Coxsackievirus A6 (CVA6) is a human enterovirus which caused hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) in infants and young children prevalence in subtropical and temperate countries around the world. In the early years, the virus strain was considered as having less clinical importance to other species A enteroviruses (namely EV71 and CVA16) associated with HFMD, as infections with CVA6 are typically mild.

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  • Research Project

    Antibiotic Susceptibility of Burkholderia pseudomallei Towards Co-trimoxazole and its Mechanism (M.Sc. in Emerging Infectious Disease)

    Etiologic agent, Burkholderia pseudomallei that responsible for the potentially fatal melioidosis is known to be intrinsically resistant towards a wide range of antimicrobial agents has resulted in high mortality rate and even showed emerging resistance towards the antimicrobial agents used to treat it. Thus, question the efficacy of antibiotic used in the melioidosis treatment and prophylaxis especially the often chosen important drug, co-trimoxazole that is used in both acute and eradication phase of melioidosis therapy.

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