By Syifarida Zaki
Photo by Noor Azreen Awang
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 8 – A senior lecturer from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Faculty of Biotechnology & Biomolecular Sciences, Dr Normi Mohd Yahaya won the L’Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science National Fellowship Award 2015 in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of L’Oreal Malaysia.
Themed “change the numbers”, the programme was aimed at encouraging women participation in the field of Sciences that recognizes excellence as the inspiration for future generation.
Dr Normi was among three people who received the award from Education Minister, Dato’ Seri Mahdzir Khalid. Each received a research grant of RM30,000 and an appreciation certificate.
Dr. Normi was named the winner for her relentless efforts in carrying out a research on antimicrobial resistance by generating new peptides as agents to fight pathogen among the intense growing bacteria in the world.
bacterial resistance possessed several mechanisms which allowed them to be resistant to antibiotic. One of the ways was by producing beta-lactamase, an enzyme that is antibiotic-resistant.
She added that among the dangerous beta-lactamases were metallo-beta-lactamases which were resistant to a broad range of antibiotics. The spread of bacteria containing this enzyme, particularly during disasters in densely populated areas, will pose a health hazard due to its ability to resist the diverse set of antibiotics.
“In another word, antibiotic could be rendered useless in treating infected victims
“Asia with a population of 4.4 billion which makes up half of the world’s population, could face this situation as its several mega cities are densely populated.
“Such a situation requires us to find an alternative to address the problem of antibiotic resistance from the bacteria,” she said.
She then proposed that they worked on producing peptides as new agents to inhibit metallo-beta-lactamase enzymes so they could not break down the antibiotics, thus addressing the problem of antibiotic resistance among the bacteria.
“This is not a personal achievement but victory for women scientists in making a difference and bringing about impactful changes at the national and global levels,” she said.
The L’Oreal-UNESCO for Women in Science award is a special and prestigious accolade given in recognition of excellence by women scientists.
It serves as a useful and integral platform to expose the society to the importance of Sciences and women’s participation in the field, their contributions as well as the impact of their researches to the whole world.
“To be able to succeed, women scientists must have confidence in themselves and their ideas although their ideas may be poles apart from others. It is these differences that will bring about changes, creativity, and hopefully, the impacts. Never ever hesitate to make a difference,” she said.
Besides her, other award recipients were Dr. Oon Chern Ein from Universiti Sains Malaysia and Dr. Wan Wardatul Amani Wan Salim from Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia.
43400 UPM Serdang
Selangor Darul Ehsan