26 Jan 2021 Creating Awareness on Medical Biotechnology at IMU’s Virtual Medical Biotechnology Day

In 2020, we have seen many challenges in terms of conducting face-to-face seminars and workshops due to the on-going pandemic. Despite these challenges, the Medical Biotechnology team successfully conducted the 3rd IMU Medical Biotechnology Day, and the very first Virtual MB Day, on the 24 October 2020.

The theme of this year’s Medical Biotechnology Day was “The role of medical biotechnology in the era of the pandemic”. While 2020 changed everything, it was also the same year that paved way for the rest of the world to understand the importance of medical biotechnology tools in fighting the on-going pandemic. In line with this, the major highlight of this event was the e-poster presentations by the IMU Foundation in Science students on the applications and advancement of Medical Biotechnology, which are widely used in this era of the pandemic.

A total of 41 groups of 205 FIS1/20 students participated in the virtual e-poster competition, of which 10 best posters were selected for the final online presentation held during the Virtual Medical Biotechnology Day. Overall, all the entries showed great teamwork and collaboration amongst the group members, and they came up with creative and informative e-posters. The students’ participation in the virtual e-poster presentations was remarkable and so much fun! They did a commendable job in creating the artworks in the form of e-posters. The amount of preparation and research undertaken by the students in designing and creating the e-posters were impressive. Even though there were only three official winners, all the students who have participated in this competition showed great creativity in their entries. Throughout the web presentations, participants were able to gain a lot of information regarding the every-day applications and amazing advancement of medical biotechnology.

Interestingly, most of the entries submitted for the online e-poster competition were focused on CRISPR technology. The students’ preliminary research and information mining has led them to understand how such gene editing tools can be applied in the fight against COVID-19.

Winners of Virtual e-Poster Competition
First E-poster titled “CRISPR Based Point-of-Care (POC) Test” which showed the graphical landscape of CRISPR as a diagnostic tool to detect the presence of the viruses and the potential it holds in controlling the current and future pandemics.
Second E-poster titled “Reverse-Transcription (RT) PCR”, which showcased RT-PCR as an effective tool in combating viral diseases, especially in detection of viral RNA in small-volume samples and quicker diagnoses.
Third E-poster on CRISPR showcasing some of the advantages and disadvantages of this tool.

The Virtual Medical Biotechnology Day also saw a guest speaker, Jay Padasian sharing valuable information on the landscape of medical biotechnology in Malaysia’s Healthcare Bioindustry. He also shared about the Medical Biotechnology field which is currently booming and something to look forward to in the immediate years ahead. It is the key field that is known to offer solutions for major issues faced in today’s world, such as the environmental crisis and the outbreak of pandemic diseases.

About the Guest Speaker
The guest speaker, Mr. Jay Padasian is a consultant for both the government and private sectors on healthcare bio-Industry; vaccines; medical technology; industry hub development and site selection. He has over 25 years’ experience within the healthcare and bio Industries and was involved in building the Healthcare Bio-Industry at Malaysian Bioeconomy Corporation. He has sat on various Technical Advisory Committees under MOSTI, MOH, and MITI. As a member of the newly formed National Experts Group Technology Development (EGTD) for Vaccines, he is also involved in numerous commercial entities: Small Medium Enterprises and Start-ups in Medical Technology, Vaccines and Medical Cannabis.

Overall, this event was successful at creating awareness on Medical Biotechnology through the e-poster competition, and enabled participants to understand the development and innovative solutions from this field in combating Covid-19.

Prepared by Dr Premdass Ramdas, IMU Medical Biotechnology Lecturer

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