Career-Research Positions Vacancy

June 2, 2017 Career-Research Positions Vacancy

 

We are looking for new team members for the following positions. If you are interested, please send us all the relevant documents.  We look forward to working with you and seeing you achieve great things!

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death. In pancreatic cancer diagnosis,
the least invasive diagnostic test is pancreatic fine needle aspiration (FNA) cytology. Pancreatic
cytopathology is increasingly being recognised as a safe, rapid, reliable and cost-effective modality in
confirming the clinical impression before instituting cytotoxic or radiation therapy [9]. As a first line
pathologic examination procedure, it has surpassed pancreatic wedge and core needle biopsies that
could have higher risk in complication (i.e. hemorrhage, fistulas and tumor seeding). There are two
methods of tissue sampling for FNA, which differ in the way the samples are handled: either as an
aspirate of cells being smeared on a slide for cytological interpretation (FNA-cytology), or as sections
of a cell block being fixed in formalin for histological interpretation (FNA-biopsy). The preference
depends on the quantity and quality of the collected material, but performing cytological
preparations with a cell block is beneficial, complementary, and improves the diagnostic value of
FNA.

However, as cytopathology rarely involve quantification steps, this procedure can be prone to errors
and is relatively subjective. On the other hand, measurements of the examined cells are possible
with the use of digital cameras and image analysis software. High degree of objectivity through
measurement is technologically feasible. However, processing a magnitude of measurements can
also be a barrier [9,10]. Therefore, cytopathology is an ideal discipline to apply artificial neural
networks so as to help in supporting decision-making in cytopathology.

In our previous study, we developed an assisted diagnosis classification tool for the grading of
pancreatic FNA-cytology samples. The tool uses convolutional neural network (CNN) to classify
Haematoxylin and Eosin (H&E)-stained pancreatic cancer cytology images into four classes, namely
Normal, Grade 1, Grade 2 and Grade 3. The developed system was able to correctly classify a very
promising 94.4% overall accuracy, which is comparable to cytopathologists marking that currently
being done manually.

In this study, we aim to develop an artificial intelligence system to aid cell block analysis of FNA-
biopsy for pancreatic cancer diagnosis. This proposed system coupled with the previous system
developed for the classification of FNA-cytology can subsequently be a very valuable tool for
cytopathologists in improving the standard of prognostic reporting. These systems could decrease
the chances of false diagnosis and augment late or misdiagnosis of pancreatic cancer, as well as
cultivate a new automated pathological interpretation model. Pathology powered by artificial
intelligence will also augment what pathologists can see and do, thus elevating their role in an era
of increasingly personalised medicine to consistently deliver a higher quality of care.

Why this study?
This project will allow you to work closely with our industry partner, which is an establish Artificial
Intelligence international company in building the image recognition algorithms.

Requirements

Applicants are required to have obtained

  1. A bachelor’s degree with minimum CGPA of 2.75 or equivalent, as accepted by the HEP Senate; or
  2. A bachelor’s degree or equivalent with minimum CGPA of 2.50 and not meeting CGPA of 2.75, can
    be accepted subject to rigorous internal assessment; or
  3. A bachelor’s degree or equivalent not meeting CGPA of 2.50, can be accepted subject to a minimum
    of 5 years working experience in relevant field.

Note:
Applicants with the experience in programming language (ie Python) will be given priority of
selection.

 

Job Description MSc Studentship
Location International Medical University, Bukit Jalil, KL
Position Type Full Time
Duration December 2020 – December 2022

Principal Investigator: Dr Elaine Chan Wan Ling
Project Title: Functional role of MIRO1 in NLRP1 inflammasome-mediated neuronal pyroptosis
Research Grant: FRGS Grant

Qualifications and Personal Attributes

Applicants are required to have obtained:

  • A bachelor’s degree with minimum CGPA of 2.75 or equivalent or
  • A bachelor’s degree or equivalent with minimum CGPA of 2.50 and not meeting CGPA of 2.75, can be accepted subject to rigorous internal assessment; or
  • A bachelor’s degree or equivalent not meeting CGPA of 2.50, can be accepted subject to a minimum of 5 years of working experience in a relevant field.

Note: Applicants with the appropriate experience will be given priority of selection.



Executive Summary

Problem Statement:

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an irreversible neurodegenerative disease. The causative proteinopathies associated with beta amyloid (A?) deposition and tau-based neurofibrillary tangles evokes a substantial immune response that can result in cell death via 'inflammasome' pathways. Our previous data (FRGS/1/2016/SKK08/IMU/03/1) revealed that as compared with control, mutagenesis of MIRO1(RhoT1) prevented SH-SY5Y cell death from a combined treatment of A? and NLRP1 inflammasome agonist (dual stimulation), whereas the same cells showed increased cell death with either A? treatment or NLRP1 agonist treatment alone (single stimulation). The protective nature of MIRO1 mutation with dual stimulation (perhaps mimicking the AD pathological state) suggests there exists an integration of mitochondrial dynamics and inflammatory responses- and this integration is potentially a novel AD therapeutic route.

Objectives:

We hypothesise that MIRO1 could be a significant gatekeeper of neurodegeneration; acting at a previously undescribed convergence of multiple inflammasome, amyloid, and mitochondrial pathways and pathologies. The objectives of this study are to gain a clear understanding on how MIRO1 regulates NLRP1 activation which subsequently leads to neuronal pyroptosis, and to identify downstream targets of MIRO1 in inflammasome-mediated cell death.

Methodology:

A CRISPR/Cas9 approach will be used to generate MIRO1 knockout neuronal cells. Subsequently, MIRO1 knockout and wild type neuronal cells will be induced with single (A?/ NLRP1 agonist) or dual (A? & NLRP1 agonist) stimulation, and the biological effect followed by the potential downstream targets of MIRO1 involved in regulating A?-induced neuronal pyroptosis will be investigated using Multiple Dimension Protein Identification Technology (MudPIT). Relevant functional assays will be performed to validate the identified downstream targets of MIRO1 in neuronal cells.

Expected Outcomes:

This study will provide a mechanism for unraveling the role of MIRO1 in the pathogenesis of AD upon A? induction and activation of NLRP1 inflammasome, providing a potential novel target for the treatment of AD.


Interested candidates are required to submit your curriculum vitae to Dr Elaine Chan Wan Ling at elainechan@imu.edu.my

Job Description MSc Studentship
Location International Medical University, Bukit Jalil, KL
Position Type Full Time
Duration 1 Jan 2021-31 Dec 2022

Principal Investigator: Dr Low May Lee
Project Title: Bacterial membrane targeting agent - metal based photosensitizer conjugates as novel effective therapeutics against multi-drug resistant bacteria: feasibility and synergistic mechanism studies
Research Grant: FRGS Grant

Qualifications and Personal Attributes

  • Undergraduate 1st class or 2nd class upper honours degree in Chemistry, Pharmacy or other relevant discipline.
  • Strong interest in multidisciplinary research (chemistry-biology-medicine).
  • Self-motivated.


Executive Summary

The emergence of multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacteria has drastically reduced the efficacy of the available antibiotics and increased the frequency of therapeutic failure. Photosensitizers (PS) capable of generating bacterial cell-damaging free radicals upon light induction have received increasing attention as an alternative in MDR treatment, as free radicals may cause non-selective damage to the intracellular components of the bacteria cells, including the drug resistance machinery. However, PSs’ poor bacterial uptake and selectivity, solubility and stability often hinder their effective use in vivo. In this study, we aim to investigate if these shortfalls of antibacterial PS may be improved through conjugating them with bacterial membrane targeting agents. Metal complexes will be employed as the model antibacterial PS due to their rich photophysical properties, tunable functionalities, ease of synthesis and photobleaching resistance. We hypothesise that antibacterial PS conjugated with bacterial membrane targeting agents may selectively bind and penetrate the bacterial membrane for enhanced intrabacterial drug uptake, and further disrupt the bacterial intracellular components, including the efflux pump machinery by photo-production of free radicals. To assess this hypothesis in this work, we will prepare, optimise and systematically evaluate the PS-targeting agent conjugates in terms of their aqueous solubility/stability, enhancement of uptake efficiency and selectivity, and antibacterial efficacy using suitable model MDR bacteria.

 

Interested candidates are required to submit your curriculum vitae to Dr Low May Lee at MayLeeLow@imu.edu.my

Job Description MSc Studentship
Location International Medical University, Bukit Jalil, KL
Position Type Full Time
Duration Nov 2020 - Oct 2022

Principal Investigator: Dr Tan Boon Keat
Project Title: Molecular mechanisms of toxicity induced by nanoplastics in human cells
Research Grant: FRGS Grant

Qualifications and Personal Attributes

  • Bachelor degree of science's graduate with great passion in research.


Executive Summary

Plastics is everywhere. Recent studies have shown that nanoplastic particles (< 1000 nm), an unintentional by-product of plastic fragmentation in the environment, might be taken up into the human body and can overcome tissue barriers, thus also allowing interaction with single cells. However, very little is known about the potential toxicity of nanoplastics (as opposed to microplastics) to human cells.

This study aims to investigate the molecular mechanism of how nanoplastics induce cellular toxicity in human cells. We will first investigate the mode of toxicity induced by different sizes of nanoplastics in a panel of carefully selected normal human cell lines representing the tissues that are most likely to have high exposure to nanoplastics (e.g. colon, lung, skin, retina, nasopharynx, cardiomyocyte, and embryonic stem cells). Next, we will use genome-wide transcriptional profiling and network-based systems toxicology to reveal the impacts of nanoplastics on biological pathways and processes that had not previously been considered to be involved in nanoplastics-induced toxicity response. Mechanistic hypotheses can be generated that can then be experimentally tested using the full arsenal of cellular phenotypic assays. Finally, we will integrate the genomic and functional data to validate the putative toxicity pathways using genetic reconstitution strategies.

This study will lead to the better understanding of the adverse effects and the underlying mechanisms of nanoplastics on human health, and help inform policies and regulations to protect both human health and the environment.

 

Interested candidates are required to submit your curriculum vitae to Dr Tan Boon Keat at boonkeat_tan@imu.edu.my

Job Description MSc Studentship
Location International Medical University, Bukit Jalil, KL
Position Type Full Time
Duration 3 Years

Principal Investigator: Professor Renu Agarwal
Project Title: Dual mechanisms underlying the neuroprotective effect of trans-resveratrol against excitotoxic retinal ganglion cells: involvement of adenosine A1 receptors and glutamate transporters loss
Research Grant: FRGS Grant

Qualifications and Personal Attributes

  • MBBS, Pharmacy graduate, Bachelor degree in biological sciences


Executive Summary

Glaucoma, the leading cause of irreversible blindness, is characterized by retinal ganglion cell (RGC) loss that involves glutamate-mediated excitotoxicity, particularly through NMDA receptors. Current anti-glaucoma medications act by lowering intraocular pressure (IOP), the major risk factor for glaucoma, and are expected to protect RGCs secondary to IOP reduction. Hence, an agent with both the oculohypotensive and neuroprotective properties would be highly valuable. Excitotoxic RGC loss can be counteracted by dual approach. Firstly, by interrupting NMDA mediated neurotransmission which involves adenosine A1 receptors (A1AR); and secondly by enhancing synaptic glutamate clearance via glutamate transporters. In this regard, trans-resveratrol is known to cause A1AR mediated IOP lowering, however, it remains unknown if it interrupts NMDA-mediated neurotransmission via A1AR and protects RGCs. Secondly, it remains unknown if trans-resveratrol enhances retinal glutamate clearance, which has previously been observed in CNS. Hence, the aim of this study is to elucidate dual mechanisms of action of trans-resveratrol against excitotoxic RGC loss involving retinal (1) A1AR activation (2) increased glutamate clearance. Study will include 2 parts. In study 1, rats will intravitreally receive NMDA/trans-resveratrol with or without A1AR antagonist. Subsequently, retinal A1AR, calpain-1, caspase-3 expression will be determined using PCR and Elisa and glutamate contents using elisa. In study 2, rats will receive glutamate intravitreally with and without trans-resveratrol and retinal glutamate transporters, glutamine synthetase and glutathione expression will be determined using PCR and Elisa. For both studies, retinal and optic nerve morphology, RGC apoptosis and visual behaviour of animals will also be studied. The study will reveal dual mechanisms of action of trans-resveratrol, which are crucial in predicting the scope of its therapeutic use and possible adverse effect profile. Two indexed papers will be published and one PhD student will be trained. The study is in accordance with the global vision of eliminating avoidable blindness.

 

Interested candidates are required to submit your curriculum vitae to Professor Renu Agarwal at RenuAgarwal@imu.edu.my

Job Description MSc Studentship
Location International Medical University, Bukit Jalil, KL
Position Type Full Time
Duration 01-11-2020 to 01-10-2023

Principal Investigator: Dr Heethal Jaiprakash
Project Title: Mechanisms of corneal abrasion healing properties of tocotrienol rich fraction (TRF) in rats: Focus on suppression of proinflammatory and oxidative stress markers
Research Grant: FRGS Grant

Qualifications and Personal Attributes

  • Bachelor degree in biological sciences, MBBS, Pharmacy graduates


Executive Summary

Corneal abrasions comprise 8% of all eye presentations in primary care and are the most common eye conditions seen in emergency departments. Corneal abrasion leads to blindness if not treated adequately. Corneal abrasions and resultant inflammation/scarring have been reported as the leading cause of corneal blindness. Currently, corneal abrasions are managed by antibiotics and/or anti-inflammatory drugs, which have high potential to cause adverse effects particularly the antibiotic resistance. Hence, investigations into safer alternatives are warranted. Tocotrienol has been shown to enhance skin wound healing. Additionally, it is effective in several diseases associated with oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which are pathogenetic factors in corneal abrasion related complications leading to blindness. Since, Palm oil derived tocotrienol rich fraction (TRF) is rich in tocotrienol (80%), its biological effects are largely attributed to tocotrienol. Despite the knowledge about potential healing properties of tocotrienol, it remains unknown if it facilitates healing of corneal abrasions. Hence, this study aims to investigate mechanisms underlying the healing effect of topical TRF in rats with a corneal abrasion. Rats with experimentally-induced corneal abrasion will be treated with vehicle/TRF and the extent of corneal abrasion healing will be determined clinically and histopathologically. Further, the expression of inflammatory cytokines including TNF-?, Interleukin (IL)1, IL4 and IL8 and pro-inflammatory transcription factor NF-kB (nuclear factor-kappa B) will be determined using multiplex ELISA and RT-PCR. NF-kB activation will be determined by measuring phosphor NF-kB using immunohistochemistry and ELISA. The corneal oxidative stress markers including GSH, catalase, SOD and MDA will also be estimated. The extent of healing will be correlated with the expression of inflammatory and oxidative stress markers. Two indexed papers will be published and one PhD student will be trained. This study is in accordance with one of the 17 sustainable development goals which are good health and well-being.

 

Interested candidates are required to submit your curriculum vitae to Dr Heethal Jaiprakash at HeethalJaiprakash@imu.edu.my

Applications are invited from suitably qualified candidates to pursue an MSc degree in Medical and Health Sciences at the International Medical University (IMU), Malaysia. The prospective student is expected to work on a project titled “Influence of micro- and nanoplastic (polyethylene micro- and nanosphere) on the combined toxicity of copper and cadmium in microalgae” funded by the Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FRGS), under the Ministry of Education, Malaysia. The successful candidate may be employed as Research Assistant under the FRGS project.

The theme of the project is on pollution due to plastics and heavy metals, which has received much attention in recent years. The primary aim of the study is to investigate how polyethylene micro- (MP) and nanosphere (NP) can influence the combined toxicity of Cu and Cd in two selected microalgae.

The candidate should possess a Bachelors degree in the relevant disciplines (e.g. health or biological sciences). Highly motivated students with relevant experience in bench work, and strong writing and communication skills are encouraged to apply.

Application should include
1) a brief description of your research interests;
2) your CV and
3) a reference letter.

Prospective students should directly contact:

Dr Kok Yih Yih
International Medical University
No 126, Jalan Jalil Perkasa 19,
Bukit Jalil,
57000 Kuala Lumpur
E-mail: yihyih_kok@imu.edu.my

 

Only shortlisted candidates will be called for an interview.

Job Description PhD Studentship
Location International Medical University, Bukit Jalil, KL
Position Type Full Time
Duration 3 Years

Principal Investigator: Dr Umer Daood
Project Title: Antimicrobial Drug Discovery of a New Quaternary Ammonium Silane: Effect on Pulpal Stem Cells and Bacterial Biofilms
Research Grant: FRGS Grant

Qualifications and Personal Attributes

  • A Master’s Degree or its equivalent in the related field
  • Should be experienced in microbiological and stem cell work


Executive Summary

Problem Statement:

There is acidic dissolution of hard tissues due to breach of microorganisms through exposed teeth surfaces and cracks and reach the pulp space causing infections. Poor disinfection procedures result in bacterial penetration within the root of teeth leading to infection and failures. Use of voluminous irrigating solutions is considered pivotal for root canal therapy. Hence the use of disinfectants becomes invaluable for the elimination of toxic microorganisms.

Pulpal stem cells usually remain quiescent when they are within the pulp, but respond quickly after injury and infections. Microorganisms breach hard tissues via acidic dissolution. It is these bacteria that may cause persistence bacterial infection as a result of poor tooth disinfection. The evoked infection and bleeding leads to the accumulation of undifferentiated stem cells. Prevalence of E. faecalis in persistent root canal infections ranges from 67% to 77%. Antimicrobial agents used can only reduce E. faecalis, but cannot remove all E. faecalis colonized in the tooth. It is important to research and evaluate substances with antimicrobial effect and minimal toxic effects on the periapical tissues. Therefore, it is critical to find new methods and antimicrobial agents for effective control of bacterial infections. In this study, as a potential determinant, a new class of Organosilane quaternary ammoniums (QAS(k21); were investigated containing tetraethoxysilane as an anchoring unit with one molecule of 3-(trimethoxysilyl) propyldimethyloctadecyl ammonium chloride (SiQAC) and three molecules of 3 methacryloxypropyltrimethoxysilane, attached with a silane based sol-gel route.

Objectives: Investigate mechanism by which new k21/QAS antimicrobial irrigant will provide (i) antimicrobial efficacy work altering gene expression of biofilm producing Enterococcus faecalis and Fusobacterium in a tooth model; (iii) evaluate the bacterial biofilm chemistry using spectroscopy after changes with k21 (ii) evaluate DPSCs to adhere and proliferate on dentine treated with k21 irrigant solution (iv) determine M1/M2 profile of macrophages (v) analyse the mechanical properties of teeth treated with k21 molecule (vi) .

Methodology: Biofilms will be tested against 3.5 %QAS using CFU, Alazarin red staining against 3T3 NIH fibroblastic cells, gene expression, Raman of biofilm changes, macrophage polarization in response to 2%QAS, DPSCs adhesion and proliferation using scanning electron microscope, confocal laser scanning microscope and Raman Spectroscopy. 

Expected Outcome: Establish mechanism of action of 3.5%QAS on bacterial bioflims and dental pulpal stem cells so that, in future, it may translate into best dental care for patients.

Significance: Study will form basic foundation and evidence towards use of intracanal therapy, thus enabling clinicians to enhance delivery of dental care.

 

Interested candidates are required to submit your curriculum vitae to Dr Umer Daood at umerdaood@imu.edu.my

Job Description PhD Studentship
Location International Medical University, Bukit Jalil, KL
Position Type Full Time
Duration 2 Years

Principal Investigator: Dr Huma Shahzad
Project Title: Mechanisms of underlying increased blood pressure in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis in a postmenopausal rat model
Research Grant: FRGS Grant

Qualifications and Personal Attributes

  • A Master’s Degree accepted by the HEP Senate
  • Other qualifications equivalent to a Master’s degree
  • Candidates with Bachelor’s degree who are registered for Master’s degree programmes may apply to convert their candidacy to the doctoral degree programmes within ONE (1) year after Master’s degree registration


Executive Summary

At menopause, less estrogen may affect the cardiovascular (CV) and musculoskeletal systems. Besides, the incidence of osteoarthritis (OA), caused by mechanical wear and tear of the joints and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune diseases are increased after menopause due to low estrogen. Postmenopausal women are known to have cardiovascular diseases (CVD) such as hypertension (HT) with the incidence much higher than the age-matched men and premenopausal women. The reduced estrogen levels and its vasodilatory actions increased the tendency for elevated BP secondary to increase in the systemic vascular resistance. Approximately there was 52-73% increase in the prevalence of HT in RA patients, whereas 40-75% increased HT prevalence in OA patients, but the mechanisms were not clear. The increased HT in RA and OA patients may be due to the higher oxidative stress and C-reactive protein (CRP) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) levels. Besides, hyperlipidemia, inflammatory markers with apoptosis were increased in RA and OA patients which might contribute towards increased in CV risk. Abnormal growth factors also contribute to increase HT in RA and OA patients. The aim of the study is to investigate the mechanisms underlying high prevalence of HT in sex-steroid deficient animal model suffering from RA and OA.

 

Interested candidates are required to submit your curriculum vitae to Dr Dr Huma Shahzad at HumaShahzad@imu.edu.my