Professional Activities

Graduated 11 PhD and 8 MSc students in NUS (Singapore) previously. Completed co-supervising 1 PhD student in the Faculty of Medicine, UM.  Co- supervisor of Mr. Tan Chee Wah, PhD student working on “The role of Cell Surface Heparin Sulfate in Enterovirus A71 Infections and the Development Antiviral Agents Targeting Viral Attachment and RNA Translation Initiation”. Completed co-supervising 3 PhD students from Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne in 2012 and 2013.

Research Grants      
Previous Research activities funded by Academic Research Fund (NUS)    National Medical Research Council (Singapore), University Research Fund (NUS) and National Research Foundation (NRF)  Singapore.
Past research funding amounted to nearly Singapore SGD $1.83 million.
Completed co-supervising research activities (funded to S$1.4 million) in Singapore. These were being funded by NRF (S $600,000), PUB (S$300,000), NUS (S$200,000), EDB (S$200,000), University of Malaya research fund (UMRG-RM 60,000) and UTARRF (RM 80,000) and MOSTI E-Science Fund RM144, 000(2012 April, 2012). Sunway Internal Grant completed in 2012 Dec (RM60, 00), receive two new Sunway Internal Grants in 2013, each of RM60, 000 value to mentor the development of the research potential of two junior lecturers in the Department of Biological Sciences within the Faculty of Science and Technology. Received two more Sunway Internal Grants totaling RM157, 000 in 2014 March and August, 2014, respectively.

Teaching Experience
Previously-lecturing, conducting practicals and tutorials in areas of Medical and Environmental Microbiology (NUS), conducting PBL to MBBS students in UM and Protein/Proteomics course (in UTAR).
Lecturing activities in UM: Public Health Microbiology to Biomedical Science students (Course code: MFEB 3402), Master of Pathology Year 1(Medical Microbiology) students and delivering PBL Tutorials to MBBS Phase II, session 2010/2011 students.

Teaching Experience
Previously-lecturing, conducting practicals and tutorials in areas of Medical and Environmental Microbiology (NUS), conducting PBL to MBBS students in UM and Protein/Proteomics course (in UTAR).
Lecturing activities in UM: Public Health Microbiology to Biomedical Science students (Course code: MFEB 3402), Master of Pathology Year 1(Medical Microbiology) students and delivering PBL Tutorials to MBBS Phase II, session 2010/2011 students.                               

In NUS, Singapore

Developed the curriculum for BM 3101 Medical Microbiology for Biomedical Science students at Year 3 level. Co-ordinator of the Biomedical Science course for 4 years (1999-2003). The microbiology component of the Biomedical Science course was run successfully sinceits inception in NUS.
Developed the Genetics and Molecular Microbiology modules for lecturing at Year 2 and Year 3  levels to Life Science students. Participated in teaching Molecular Biology (NUS). Developed a new curriculum in Applied Microbiology for lecturing year 3 under a new Life Science course offered in 2003. Delivered lectures on Vaccines & Molecular Diagnostics (NUS). New Life Sciences courses in NUS (July 2002 onwards) - Participate as teaching staff in Molecular Biotechnology, Environmental Biotechnology and Industrial Biotechnology. Co-ordinator for LSM 1304 - Microbes, Environment and Man. This is a Life Science module taken by students from Faculties other than Science in NUS. Invited by MDIS, Singapore as an external staff to deliver off shore teaching activities(Singapore) in Medical Microbiology and   Environmental Microbiology to students enrolled in the Degree of  Biotechnology/Biomedical Science offered by Macquarie University,  Sydney for 2 years.

In Singapore Polytechnic, I was invited as an external teaching staff for  Food Microbiology for Diploma students. Teaching activities include Practicals for Food Microbiology-introducing students to the different  types of microorganisms that could cause food spoilage and food   poisoning. In Sunway University, I was instrumental in setting up the Programme of BSc(Hons)Biology with Psychology, taking into account the strength of staff from the Department of Psychology with newly appointed staff  in the new Department of Biological Sciences.
I have also completed the setting up of a second programme- BSc(Hons) Medical Biotechnology. Currently, I am working with the HOD of Department of Biological Sciences to develop a PhD  Programme in Life Sciences. A MSc in Life Sciences programme had
Recently received approval from Malaysian Ministry of Education.

Administrative Duties Sunway University
Head of School of Health and Natural Sciences (2011 April–2012 February, 2012)

As Inaugural Dean (March 2012- Feb 28, 2014)                                    
As Dean, setting up Faculty of Science and Technology structure , provided academic governance to the Faculty. Setting up the Faculty Board of Studies, Faculty Assessment Board, served as Chair of Faculty Teaching & Learning Committee, served as member of the Senate, Committee member of University Higher Degree Committee, Committee member of University Research Committee (URC), on certain occasions served as Acting Chair of URC, Committee member of University Management Committee for strategic planning, Committee member of University Teaching & Learning Committee, and Committee member of Library Committee. Member of Recruitment Committee for Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) and recruitment of other academic staff of Sunway University.

Setting up a new department – Department of Biological Sciences to offer two new programmes: BSc(Hons) Biology with Psychology and BSc (Hons) Medical Biotechnology which are up and running with 30students. In the process of setting up a Biomedicine degree. Prepared a MSc in Life Sciences degree which has been approved recently and is in the process of submitting a PhD in Life Sciences for approval. All the undergraduate and postgraduate degrees are validated by Lancaster University, UK and students are being awarded two degree certificates.

As the Dean of Faculty of Science and Technology, I was managing the development of Psychology, Nursing, Biological Sciences and Computer Science departments. Besides being involved in appraisal of undergraduate teaching activities, I was actively involved in encouraging staff to apply for research grants and collaborate across disciplines. Mentoring young researchers to initiate research work and collaborate with experienced researchers. In Swinburne University where I worked for 1.5 year, I collaborated with young teaching staff and introduced them to Enterovirus 71 research. We graduated 3 PhD students through co-supervision, published 3 journal papers and several conference papers in the EV71 field. In the University of Malaya, I am co-supervising 1 PhD student and  we have published 3 Tier one journal papers and filed 2 provisional patents in Malaysia. I am good at forming new teams and introduce new staff to the field of infectious disease research, see them  through the research and publish with them as co-authors.   Since the formation of the Faculty of Science and Technology in March 2012, the Faculty staffs had attracted RM1, 074,751 internal grant awarded by the Sunway University and RM 1,908,952 in external grant funding from the Malaysian Government research agencies. Sunway University is a young University and was formed in Dec, 2010. It is planning for research collaborations with Harvard university and Lancaster University. Faculty staffs have produced 16 journal papers and 33 conference papers in 2013.

Acting Head of Department, NUS (February, 2005)
Departmental representative in the Medical Faculty Dean’s
Retreat (NUS) to develop a strategic plan for the Faculty of Medicine

Chairperson of Departmental Postgraduate Training Program Co-ordinated the provision of research training for postgraduate students at the MSc and PhD levels . Setting up Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) for students to present their results to the Supervisor and 2 other staffs.  The progress of PhD  candidates were monitored on a 6 monthly basis by the TAC.

Co-ordination of postgraduate seminars presented by new MSc and PhD candidates and candidates who were about to hand in their theses in NUS. MSc and PhD candidates had to present their defence  in seminars and were evaluated by examiners in public seminars.

Institutional Biosafety Committee (NUS) - Committee member and Chairperson, Departmental Biosafety Committee (Microbiology, NUS)
To ensure that Microbiology teaching and research activities conform to the Ministry of Health and the National University of Singapore’s Biosafety practices.

Course co-ordinator of modules offered by the Department of Microbiology for Biomedical Science Year 2: Immunology and Year 3: Medical Microbiology students (NUS).

Acted as departmental viva examiner for BSc (Hons) students. Participated as viva panel examiners for MSc and PhD candidates.
Acted as PhD and MSc examiner of theses submitted by postgraduate   students from Biochemistry and Microbiology departments, NUS.

Administration (Faculty Level)         
Leader at Faculty level (NUS) in the following committees to discusspolicies and coordinating operations of the following programs:
University Research Opportunities Programme in Science (UROPS) - Chairperson of UROPS for Life Science and Biomedical    Science students (NUS).  Liaising with departmental co-ordinators regarding student projects, fund allocations and mark moderations.

Student  Exchange Program with Foreign Universities (SEP) at NUS- Handling student and staff enquiries, participating as mentor for foreign students. University Scholars Program (USP) at NUS – liaising with high achieving students and staff regarding placement and evaluation of suitable assignments and research projects.

International Invitations
Invited as a speaker by the South Korean Society for Microbiology and Biotechnology, and the Microbiological Society of Korea to deliver a paper entitled “Mobile genetic elements of Pseudomonas alcaligenes NCIB 9867” in the 9th International Symposium on the Genetics of Industrial Microorganisms.  July 1 – 5, 2002, at Gyeongju, Korea.

Service as a reviewer
Served as reviewer of 2 grant applications to Wellcome Trust (UK), Academic Research Fund (National University Singapore Academic Research Fund) and Singapore National Medical Research Council fund.

Served as a reviewer of papers submitted to European Journal of Clinical Microbiology (Europe), Plasmid (USA), Journal of Bacteriology, Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering (Japan), Journal of Medical Virology, Singapore Medical Journal, Journal of Virological Methods , Proteomics and Biochemical Biophysical Research Communications and PLoS One.

Collaboration with Industries         
Visiting scientist to New England Biolabs, Massachusetts, USA. In            1993 for 4 months. From this research attachment, a joint collaboration was formed in search of restriction enzymes from the Asian countries and I have discovered a few cultures that produce useful restriction enzymes. I was a co-author of a paper published in Molecular General Genetics for the work conducted during the visit.

Invited to act as a consultant to evaluate the antiviral properties of Citrofresh products by Citrofresh, Australia.

Collaboration with Rockerby Pty Ltd in Perth, WA and Singapore to develop a rapid immunochromatographic platform for  identification of Enterovirus 71 from clinical specimens. Supported by Economic Development Board funding (SGD $200,000).

Collaborations with Foreign Universities
Collaboration with Prof Vicki Shingler, Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology, Umea University, Sweden on molecular biology of aromatic hydrocarbon degradation had resulted in two papers being published in internationally refereed journals such as Gene and Journal of  Bacteriology.

Collaboration with Professor John Tapsall of the Department of Microbiology, Prince of Wales Hospital, UNSW, had resulted in a paper published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology and a Genitourinary Medicine paper on Neisseria gonorrhoeae molecular epidemiology.

Collaboration with Professor John Heckels of South Hampton University, UK, had resulted in a paper on molecular epidemiology of Neisseria gonorrhoeae in the journal “Microbiology”.

Collaboration with Professor Tom August of Johns Hopkins on the development of DNA vaccines against EV 71. Co-supervise a PhD student.

Collaboration with Dr Rob Drew of Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University College London, on Biochemistry and Genetics of Pseudomonas species. Published work carried out during my sabbatical leave in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Chit Laa Poh, PhD

Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences


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    Sunway University