By Azman Zakaria
SERDANG, July 1 – Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences’ Master in Science (Haematology) student, Angeli d/o Ambayya @ Ampiah has done UPM proud when she won the 2015 Berend Houwen Travel Award.
She was among nine researchers from all over the world who won the award recently.
The prestigious award was presented during the 28th International Symposium on Technological Innovations in Laboratory Haematology held in conjunction with the annual International Society of Laboratory Haematology (ISLH) conference in Chicago in the United States of America from May 19 to 21.
ISLH is a non-profitable organization formed in 1992 by a group of laboratory professionals with about 800 members from 50 member nations, aimed at formulating a new direction for hematologic diagnostic.
Angeli, 33, from Raub, Pahang, received a certificate, a plaque and cash of AS$2,500 and registration-free participation in the conference.
According to her, she won the award through her abstract research on blood-related diseases, i.e analysis on genomic for in Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) using “comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)” methods.
Genome wide analysis using array comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array enable elucidation of cryptic and submicroscopic genomic aberrations including copy number alterations (CNAs) and regions of copy neutral loss of heterozygosity (CN-LOH) in Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) which otherwise undetectable by conventional cytogenetic method.
In this study, a custom combination of CGH+SNP 180K microarray which included additional custom probes for 49 genes with eleven genes covering every exon (TP53, DNMT3A, TET2, ASXL1, MLL, IKZF1, PAX5, EZH2, FLT3, NOTCH1 and ATM) was used to study the AML genome.
Paired tumour and wild type (remission sample obtained from the same patient after induction) DNA were used to delineate germline variants in 41 AML samples. Matching aberrations present in tumour and matched wild type DNA were considered germline and changes present only in tumour were classified as tumour related changes. After comparing tumour versus germline DNA, a total of 475 imbalances (n <1Mb = 298, n 1-5 Mb = 121, n 5-10 Mb = 21, n 10-20 Mb= 9 and n >20 Mb = 26) were detected.
In summary, a combination platform of CGH+SNP provides invaluable insights in elucidation of large spectrum of genomic aberrations in AML which may demonstrate prognostic implications. Evaluation of tumour sample along with matched normal genomic enabled the delineation of somatic genetic lesion from the germline CNVs or CN-LOH
Angeli said she did not give up when she failed to win any awards in her two abstract research she submitted for the year 2012 and 2013 to ISLH.
“Last year, I sent another abstract research and I finally won it for the year 2015,” she said, adding she was notified of her victory through an email sent by ISLH.
“I was shocked when I opened the email in the early morning of December 23, 2014, which stated that I had won the award. I was so excited as furthermore, I have never been to Chicago,” she said, adding that she attended the annual ISLH conference, accompanied by her parents.
After reading the email, she said she immediately informed her supervisor, senior lecturer at the Pathology Department of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Dr Sabariah Md Noor and co-supervisor Dr Zainina Seman.
She also notified Ampang Hospital Haemotology Department head, Dato’ Dr Chang Kian Meng and the hospital’s Haemotology Laboratory chief, Dr Subramaniam Yegappan who is a joint researcher and supervisor for the research. The genomic analysis for Acute Myeloid Leukaemia using CGH and SNP methods have been used at Ampang Hospital since last year on more than 80 patients.
“I gained invaluable experiences while attending the ISLH conference in Chicago as I was able to interact with international researchers,” she said, expressing her gratitude to all parties for their help and support. - UPM.
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