Biotechnology in Action: Sabah Chinese School Triumphs in UEC Competition

The champions, Exothermic, explaining their project to the Guests of Honour including Y.Bhg Datin Paduka Professor Dr Khatijah Yusof (Deputy Secretary General, Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation), Professor Dato Dr. Hassan Said (Vice Chancellor & President, Taylor’s University), and Dr Stacey Yong (Dean, Taylor’s School of Biosciences)

It was a jubilant moment for three students from the Sabah Chinese School, when they outdid over 60 other competitors to emerge Champions at the UEC Biotechnology competition.

Organised by Taylor’s University School of Biosciences (SBS), the competition themed “Green Biotechnology towards a Sustainable Future”, was part of the School’s initiative to create awareness and generate interest in the field of biotechnology and bioscience amongst students.

Participants, who came from all over the country, proposed inventions revolving around topical issues such as renewable energy, bio-security, environmental health and food security.

The winning team “Exothermic”, were made up of UEC students Yong Yung Bing, Wong Man Hou and Soo Lik, who won the judges over with their project titled “Nett Carbon = 0”. Illustrating the concept of renewable energy, their model home showcased features such as solar panels and jogging tracks that converted energy to electricity, and an algae pond that absorbed carbon dioxide emissions.

“We decided to focus on homes because they are said to be the second largest contributor of carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere. We came up with these ideas together, as a team. We did a lot of research online, through magazines and of course consulted our teachers for guidance,” said 18-year-old Yung Bing. The team took home prizes worth RM3,000 in cash awarded by Y.Bhg. Datin Paduka Professor Dr. Khatijah Yusof, Director General, Ministry of Science, Innovation and Technology.

Meanwhile, grabbing the second and third places were teams “Unicorn” and “Love Life”, who both represented Pei Min Middle School, Miri, Sarawak. The teams took home cash prizes of RM2,000 and RM1,000, respectively.

The UEC Biotechnology competition was held in conjunction with MyBio Carnival 2011 – a collaboration between Taylor’s University, the Malaysian Biotechnology Information Centre (MABIC) and the Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation (BiotechCorp).

Launched by Y.Bhg. Datin Paduka Professor Dr. Khatijah Yusof, MyBio Carnival 2011 saw visitors of all ages throng to Taylor’s University Lakeside Campus to learn more about bioscience and biotechnology in an informal and interactive way. Various informative and entertaining activities were lined up that day, including BioQuiz, BioSpell, BioColouring, BioGames, BioWonders, BioTalk and BioFashion Auction.

In her speech, Y.Bhg. Datin Paduka Professor Dr. Khatijah Yusof expressed her support towards the event. “I am pleased to see the continuous efforts from both BiotechCorp and MABIC in ensuring the development of the biotechnology sector in Malaysia. It is also heartening to see a private university like Taylor’s practicing its corporate social responsibility and realizing the P-P-P (Public Private Partnership) aspirations by our government.”

“One of the key objectives of MyBio Carnival 2011 is to create awareness on biotechnology, for the betterment of the industry in Malaysia. The UEC schools competition is a great way for the students to understand the field of biotechnology and cultivate a love for it. We hope that through such events, we can develop the biotech and bioscience fields in Malaysia, and generate interest and curiosity among members of the public, starting from a young age,” commented Professor Dato’ Dr. Hassan Said, at the launch of MyBio Carnival 2011.

Also present were Ms. Stacey Yong, Dean of Taylor’s University School of Biosciences; Ms. Mahaletchumy Arujanan, Executive Director of MABIC; Razif Abdul Aziz and Mohd Yazid Abdul Hamid, both Senior Vice Presidents from Biotech Corp; and Tengku Nila Putri Tengku Ilham, Vice President, Capability Development, Strategic Planning, BiotechCorp.

The event also saw the official launch of The Petri Dish, a free biotechnology newspaper published by MABIC. Being the first of its kind in Malaysia, The Petri Dish is expected to play a proactive role in bridging biotechnology and society, translating biotechnology research into simple laymen terms.

YBhg Datin Paduka Professor Dr Khatijah Yusof, officially launches the MyBio Carnival 2011 at Taylor’s University Lakeside Campus

The winning teams of the Biotechnology in Action 2011 Competition

About Taylor’s University School of Biosciences (SBS)

Established in 2004, Taylor’s University School of Biosciences offers comprehensive undergraduate programmes that encompass the key areas of life sciences, namely the Bachelor of Science (Hons) (Food Science & Nutrition), Bachelor of Biotechnology (Hons), and Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Hons). Students undergo an in-depth curriculum which gives them a high level of scientific knowledge, as well as the ability to think critically, solve problems effectively and communicate succinctly. They will be groomed into outstanding leaders who are committed to using science to meet the pressing needs of society now and in the future. Taylor’s also offers a Foundation in Science which caters for students who are interested to focus on careers related to Science. For those interested to pursue a doctorate degree, Taylor’s University also offers the Master of Science and PhD in Science doctoral programmes.

About Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation (BiotechCorp)

BiotechCorp is the lead development agency for the biotechnology industry in Malaysia and acts as a central contact point providing support, facilitation and advisory services for biotechnology and life sciences companies in Malaysia. Since its establishment in 2005, BiotechCorp has played a key role in building the biotechnology industry in Malaysia. To date, BiotechCorp has facilitated the development of 188 BioNexus Status companies in Malaysia with a total approved investment of RM1.96million.

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About Malaysian Biotechnology Information Centre (MABIC)

MABIC mission is to provide scientifically accurate and fact-based resources to all stakeholders, to provide a platform for discussion of issues on biotechnology, and ultimately to support the Government’s efforts in developing biotechnology as a tool for national development. MABIC works closely with parties that have stakes in the development of biotechnology in this country. MABIC’s strategic partners are the various ministries and government agencies, public research institutes, industry, higher learning institutes, schools, members of the media, embassies and high commissions, and international organisations. MABIC has forged admirable professional relationships with government agencies what are involved in biotechnology and has a remarkable reputation among the local and international biotechnology community.

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