A webinar on herbs that are beneficial for respiratory health 

 A webinar titled “Herbs Webinar 2021: Herbs for Respiratory Health” was jointly organised by Malaysia Holistic and Herbal Organisation (MHHO), UTAR Centre for Biomedical and Nutrition Research (CBNR) and UTAR Centre for Agriculture and Food Research (CAFR) on 20 December 2021 via Zoom and Facebook Live. Sponsored by Isolab Sdn Bhd, the event saw 140 participants in attendance.

Speaking at the webinar were MHHO Medical Doctor Dr Inthirani Sivarajah KMN, MHHO Medical Doctor and TCM practitioner Dr Lu Zhi Gang, UTAR Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS) Centre for Research in Traditional Chinese Medicine Chairperson Assoc Prof Dr Te Kian Keong and Sunway Healthcare Group Sunway TCM Centre Senior Manager-cum-Registered Pharmacist (special interest in Herbal Medicine) Chan Si Yan. There were two moderators at the webinar, namely CBNR member-cum-Faculty of Science (FSc) Department of Allied Health Sciences lecturer Dr Ho Lai Yee and MHHO Director-cum-Wellness Medical Qigong (WMQ) Founder Master Tan Soo Kong.

The webinar aimed to bring a group of imminent scientists and specialists together to share their knowledge on herbs that are beneficial for respiratory health to students, faculty staff, researchers, scientists, practitioners and the public.

Organising Chairperson-cum-FSc Department of Allied Health Sciences lecturer Dr Teh Lai Kuan expressed her gratitude to the organising committee, sponsor and participants during her welcome speech. She said, “This Herbs Webinar 2021 is our fifth event related to herbs. Since 2017, we have been organising the Local Herb’s Day Series. Last year, due to the pandemic, we held the first online Local Herb’s Day Series titled ‘Herbs Webinar 2020: Sustainable and Contemporary Practices’. Today’s event is our second online series that focuses on ‘Herbs for Respiratory Health’.”

Dr Teh welcoming the participants

A video was played at the webinar to introduce the Local Herb’s Day Series. Following the video was welcome remarks by CBNR Chairperson-cum-FSc Department of Biological Science Dr Eddy Cheah Seong Guan.

Dr Eddy Cheah said, “As one of our committees’ outreach initiatives, the Local Herb’s Series aims to enlighten and promote awareness of the value and many benefits of herbs. In Malaysia, we are blessed that we are rich with rainforests that have various natural species of medical herbs. Despite rapid modernisation, herbal medicine is still popular in Malaysia, especially in rural areas. Herbs are gaining acceptance by the middle-income and upper-income classes, in line with the new wave of alternative medicine. With the advancement in pharmaceutical research and accumulated safety data, there has been increasing recognition of herbal medicine by health professionals. Today’s webinar focuses on the theme ‘Herbs for Respiratory Health’, with four experienced speakers present to share with us their expertise in this area.”
Dr Eddy Cheah delivering his opening remarks

The webinar featured four talk sessions by four invited speakers. The first session was conducted by Dr Inthirani on a topic titled “Our Respiratory System”. According to Dr Inthirani, our respiratory system is divided into two; the upper and lower respiratory system. The lower respiratory system consists of the trachea which is divided into right and left bronchus. The right lung has three lobes, while the left lung has two lobes. The lungs also consist of functional units known as the alveoli.

“Alveoli are the functional unit of the lung where gas exchange takes place. If the alveoli are affected, the function of gas exchange will decrease. In any case of infection, the lungs would collapse and blood would fill into the lungs. Bacteria or virus usually enters the body through the airway. Once the infection gets into the respiratory system, the organism starts to multiply either in the upper or lower system. The symptoms will show up depending on the aggressiveness of the organism and your immune system. As time goes by, if the infection becomes severe, there will be inflammation in the air sacs, called alveoli, and the alveoli will be filled with fluid or pus. This will lead to symptoms like fever, breathing difficulties and cough (containing yellow or brown mucus). The patient will also feel more difficult to swallow when he or she breathes,” said Dr Inthirani.

She further explained, “If a person has a good immune system, the infection would not play out. Some may not show symptoms of infection if their immune system is strong. However, they will still carry the virus and the virus are highly infectious. These types of viruses are usually spread through droplets and air. The aim of our herbal treatment is to help patients preserve or improve their lung functions. Herbal treatment is found to act as anti-microbial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and immune stimulatory. Besides that, we need to have good food and good sleep to improve our immunity.”

Dr Lu spoke on the topic “The Comparison between Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine on Pulmonary Infection”. He said, “Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Western medicine have different understandings of aetiology, pathogenesis and pathology, as well as different diagnosis and treatment methods. In Western medicine, lung infections refer to pulmonary infections. It is treated as a common disease before the pathological diagnosis is confirmed. The diagnosis of the Covid-19 is confirmed after the nucleic acid test positive. According to the TCM theory,the lungs is connected to the large intestine; constipation occurs during pulmonary infection with internal heat syndrome. TCM uses the Four Methods Physical Examination (四诊) and Eight Principles Syndromes (八钢) to determine the nature of the pathological changes, based on the patient’s respiratory symptoms, thereby providing the basis for treatment with herbal medicine.”

He added, “The ancient Chinese medicine Shangju Yin (桑菊饮) is used in the treatment of colds, influenza, tonsillitis and bronchitis. It helps in regulating immune function and modulating body immunity to resist pathogenic microorganisms. Modern medical pharmacological studies have proved that Shangju Yin has anti-pathogenic microorganisms, especially against various types of viruses, including Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria.

Dr Inthirani presenting the X-ray of lungs that are infected by virus

Dr Lu explaining the lung meridian in TCM

During his talk session titled “From A TCM Perspective: Harmony of the Lung System”, Dr Te spoke on the zang-fu (脏腑) organ’s concept, the five elements theory (五行), the understanding of lungs from the Chinese Medicine perspective, as well as the harmony of the lung system with Covid-19. He also presented the Chinese Medicine Practice Guidelines for the Covid-19 in Malaysia. According to Dr Te, TCM Malaysia is doing telemedicine to the public.

“According to the Chinese Medicine Practice Guideline for Covid-19 in Malaysia, the red zone residents are advised to drink Five Leaves Drink (五叶饮), while the Covid-19 contacts are advised to drink Lian Hua Five Leaves (莲花五叶饮). For the post-Covid-19 patients who are suffering from cough and fatigue, they are advised to take the combination of Xing Sha Liu Jun Zi decoction and Zhi Sou San (香砂六君子汤合止嗽散) . To cure fatigue and diarrhoea, the post-Covid-19 patients are advised to take Shen Ling Bai Zhu San (参苓白术散),” Dr Te said.

Throughout his talk session, Dr Te recommended various Chinese herbs for the prevention and treatment of the Covid-19. However, he stressed on the necessity that the public should consult the Chinese Medicine Team before purchasing any Chinese traditional medicine, especially if they are tested positive of Covid-19. He explained that different people may need different Chinese medical treatments according to their body condition.
Dr Te during the webinar
Chan sharing the importance of considering the quality and safety of herbs
Chan’s talk session was titled “The Importance of Quality and Safety of Herbs for Respiratory Health”. She stressed on the three pillars of ideal herbal drugs and their rational use. She said, “Many people misunderstand that all herbs are safe because they are natural plants. However, some herbs may harm the body. So we have to look into the three pillars of ideal herbal drugs, which are quality, safety and efficacy, besides looking into their rational use.” She also spoke about the quality of herbs, the toxicology of herbs, adverse or uncomfortable events related to herbs as well as herb-drug interactions.

She added, “We must be very careful when we use Chinese herbs to treat patients. Some patients might be allergic to certain herbs and this could potentially cause death if it is not administered properly. There was an incident about a young patient who suffered from internal bleeding due to the misuse of herbs. After investigation, they found out that this young patient had consumed homemade kadha (an Ayurvedic remedy that  helps in fighting seasonal infections) daily for the past five months. It was believed that toxins were excreted from the kadha.”

“Many TCM practitioners tend to look over the adverse effects of herbal medicine or dietary supplements in G6PD deficiency. So, I advise all TCM practitioners to be careful of the adverse effects. To provide better treatment to patients, we need to be aware of the safety of herbal medicines. We should have evidence-based and value-based medicines to improve the whole medical system for our nation,” said Chan.

                                                                                The speakers taking group photos with participants

Webinar on Healthy Ageing - 

How to reduce Risk of Falls and Maintain Good Health  


The Department of Allied Health Sciences (DAHS), Faculty of Science, UTAR had organised the Webinar on Healthy Ageing - How to Reduce Risk of Falls and Maintain Good Health on 22nd October 2021 (Friday) from 10:00 am to 11:30 am. The objectives of this event were to enhance knowledge of fall risk and ways to prevent falls in the elderly, and promote healthy eating among elderly to reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases. This event was conducted online through ZOOM and Facebook live (Krt Panorama Lapangan Perdana - Giorgio). Two distinguished speakers, Dr. Annaletchumy Loganathan and Dr. Ben You Yee Xing, were invited to deliver talks on specific topics targeting the elderly population, healthcare professionals and the public. This webinar was supported by Centre for Biomedical and Nutrition Research, and co-organised by Rukun Tetangga Kawasan Panorama Lapangan Perdana Giorgio, Bandar Cyber Ipoh and the Malaysian Healthy Ageing Society. Through this webinar, participants learned that the risk of falls can be reduced with proper management, and healthy eating can be promoted to achieve better quality of life.

The moderator, Mr. Yuen Hawk Leong, welcomed the speakers and participants and give an introduction about the webinar.

The first speaker, Dr. Annaletchumy Loganathan, shared her knowledge on falls and how to reduce risk of falls among older adults.

The second speaker, Dr. Ben You Yee Xing, shared some common nutritional problems faced by the elderly and ways to ensure adequate nutrient intake among the ageing population.

Participants took a group photo at the end of the webinar.

International Webinar on Advanced Scanning & Transmission Electron Microscopy 2021

 (i-WASTEM 2021)

The i-WASTEM 2021 was conducted on 4th September 2021 by the Centre for Biomedical and Nutrition Research (CBNR) & Faculty of Science, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), in collaboration with Nilai University, Malaysia and Shri Venkateshwara University, JSS Academy of Higher Education & Research (Deemed University), Nehru Arts and Science College, and Voorhees College from India.

The webinar, which was hosted on Zoom, was officiated by Assoc, Prof. Dr. Lim Tuck Meng, Dean, Faculty of Science, UTAR. It featured talks by five eminent speakers from Malaysia, India and Brazil who are experts in scanning and transmission electron microscopy. A total of 483 participants attended this webinar and they were from Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia and Japan.  

The i-WASTEM 2021 aimed to enable the participants to learn the working principles of SEM & TEM, their operating and optimizing procedures and other necessary skills to acquire high-quality images, their use as qualitative and quantitative analytical tools and the latest developments of their applications in bioscience research..

Opening address by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Lim Tuck Meng, Dean, Faculty of Science, UTAR  

Invited talk by Dr. Leonardo Fonseca Valadares, Researcher of the Laboratory of Chemical

Processes (LPQ), Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation, Brazil

Talk title: Cellulose nanofiber sample preparation, and imaging of thick samples using EFTEM

Invited talk by Dr. Leonardo Fonseca Valadares

Certificate of appreciation presented to Dr. Leonardo Fonseca Valadares by Dr. Lim Tuck Meng

Invited talk by Prof. Dr. P. Lalitha, Professor of Chemistry & Coordinator for Bharat Ratna Prof. CNR Rao Research Centre, Avinashilingam Institute for Home Science & Higher Education for Women (Deemed University), India

Talk title: Basics of FESEM and its applications

 Invited talk by Prof. Dr. P. Lalitha

 Certificate of appreciation presented to Prof. Dr. P. Lalitha by Dr. Phoon Lee Quen

Invited talk by Dr. Shankar Hari, Head, Materials Research and Manufacturing Group Member, Centre for Research and Development, KPR Institute of Engineering and Technology, India

Talk title: Physics of images formation in electron microscopes and their applications

 Invited talk by Dr. Shankar Hari

 Certificate of appreciation presented to Dr. Shankar Hari by Dr. Eddy Cheah Seong Guan

Invited talk by Mr. Patchamuthu Ramasamy, Senior Application Specialist, Hi-Tech Instruments Sdn. Bhd., Penang Branch, Malaysia

Talk title: Basic sample preparation techniques for TEM

Invited talk by Mr. Patchamuthu Ramasamy

 Certificate of appreciation presented to Mr. Patchamuthu Ramasamy by Dr. Lim Tuck Meng 

Invited talk by Mr. Ooh Keng Fei (Nicholas), Laboratory Manager, Department of Laboratory Management and Safety Administration, Faculty of Science, UTAR, Malaysia

Talk title: Video demonstration on operation and sample preparation for SEM

Invited talk by Mr. Ooh Keng Fei (Nicholas)
Certificate of appreciation presented to Mr. Ooh Keng Fei by Dr. Phoon Lee Quen

 Closing Remark by Dr. Sinouvassane Djearamane, the Chairperson of i-WASTEM 2021

Photo of organising committee

Photo of participants

Producing blood from stem cell for blood transfusion

UTAR Centre for Biomedical and Nutrition Research (CBNR) parked under Faculty of Science (FSc) organised a webinar titled "Blood Production from Stem Cell for Tomorrow's Blood Transfusion: From Hype to Hope" on 5 April 2021 via Zoom.

Moderated by FSc Deputy Dean for Academic Development and Undergraduate Programmes Assoc Prof Dr Gideon Khoo, the event aimed to highlight the severity of thrombocytopenia, which is a condition characterised by abnormally low levels of platelets. The organiser also hoped to educate students and the public with knowledge on how hematopoietic stem cells in platelet production could be used as an alternative intervention towards sustaining human health and well-being.

Invited to deliver the talk was Mahidol University (Bangkok, Thailand) Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital Siriraj Center of Excellence for Stem Cells Research (SiSCR) Senior Researcher Dr Chanchao Lorthongpanich. Dr Chanchao and her research team have developed an in vitro production system which is designed to increase the yield of red blood cells (RBC) and platelets from iPSCs – derived Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). The webinar, therefore, aimed to enlighten the participants on the value of using Hematopoietic stem cells in platelet production for thrombocytopenia treatment.

Also present at the webinar were CBNR Chairperson Dr Eddy Cheah Seong Guan, FSc Department of Biological Science Head Dr Nor Ismaliza binti Mohd Ismail, FSc Department of Agricultural and Food Science lecturer Dr Kwong Phek Jin and FSc Department of Allied Health Sciences lecturer Dr Michelle Ng Yeen Tan. The webinar saw 137 participants from UTAR, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), Sunway University (Malaysia), Newcastle University (United Kingdom), University of Nottingham (United Kingdom), Mahidol University (Thailand), Chulalongkorn University (Thailand) and Prince of Songkla University (Thailand).

 Dr. Cheah giving his opening speech

In his welcome speech, Dr Cheah said, “In recent years, stem cell therapy has become a very promising research topic and the current market for stem cell therapy has also expanded significantly. Besides that, the wide variety of possibilities made stem cell therapy a turning point in modern medicine. It is providing hope for some of the world’s most challenging diseases. In order to provide a platform for research collaboration opportunities with Malaysian research institutions in this stem cell research area, CBNR invited Dr Chanchao who is an expert in stem cell and blood production to share her research study at this webinar.”

The opening speech was followed by Dr Chanchao’s sharing on her research. She kick-started her talk by introducing her research team member from SiSCR. Throughout the talk, she discussed the role of Hippo in signalling pathway on pluripotency and the differentiation in the capacity of iPSC and HSCs when the expression of some Hippo signalling component genes is altered. She also discussed the potential use of an FDA (approved drug) in the generation of blood cells.

 Dr. Chanchao introducing her research team members from SiSCR

Dr. Chanchao explaining the crucial role of the Hippo pathway

While explaining about blood transfusion, Dr Chanchao said, “Blood transfusion is potentially a life-saving procedure that can help replace blood lost due to surgery or injury. In addition, a blood transfusion also helps when an illness prevents your body from making blood. If your body is missing one or more of the components that make up healthy blood, a transfusion can help replace what your body is missing.”

She added, “Many hospitals are facing blood supply shortage. In order to solve the problem, we developed an in vitro production system as an alternative for someone who needs blood supply. This is because an inadequate blood supply may pose danger to patients if the proper amount and type of blood is not made available when needed.”

Dr Chanchao also talked about the reliability of stem cell-derived blood product as well as the crucial role of Hippo pathway. She mentioned two strong points that sustained the stem cell-derived blood product. “Firstly, the bone marrow transplantation procedure is already well established. Secondly, blood cell can be sorted into pure population before transplantation or transfusion,” said Dr Chanchao.

The talk then ended with a Q&A session and a group photography session.

To view the full video, click


 Dr. Chanchao (top row, second from left) taking group photos with participants

Webinar: Sequencing-based genomics surveillance helps to fight the pandemic

23 March 2021, 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm (Google meet)

Three speakers, Mr. Khairul Luqman, Dr. Eric Yang Shun Kai and Ms. Lye Siew Fen, were presented on this webinar. They were presenting about: 

Next generation genotyping for precision medicine
Bioinformatics challenges & solution in adapting Next Generation Sequencing

There were 68 registered participants and the turnup rate was about 76%. About 4% of the participants were public. We have received some good feedback from the audiences and most of them wants to have next webinar session with us again.

Webinar: Bacteria Profiling with Whole-Metagenome Sequencing and 16S rRNA Gene Sequencing

1 February 2021, 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm (MS Teams)

Speaker shared her knowledge and experience on: 

  • Whole-metagenome sequencing and 16S rRNA gene sequencing technology 
  • The basic principles, workflow and applications of NGS 
  • NGS data processing and analysis 
  • NGS service and products available on the market