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USM trio win major awards at British Invention Show

GEORGE TOWN (Oct 20, 2009) : Three Universiti Sains Malaysia (U SM) postgraduate students made Malaysia proud by sweeping five major awards at the British Invention Show (BIS) in London recently.

Chew Kuan Khoon, 23, a Chemical Engineering graduate pursuing his master's degree, won the World Invention Award 2009 and a gold medal for his research on a new synthetic composite to serve as bone replacement material.

His colleagues, Steven Lim, 24, and Seah Tiong Chai, 23, also won gold medals for their studies on converting waste polymers into fuels and chemical feedstock, and a novel malaria vaccine which intervenes at the DNA level. Lim also garnered a special Romanian award for his research.

USM acting Vice-Chancellor Prof Omar Osman led about 30 students in welcoming back the trio at Penang International Airport today.

Omar described theiraccomplishments as a feather in the cap of the Apex status university.

"With their achievements, these students have set a high standard in research that has made the university proud," he said.

Omar said it was the first time the university had submitted postgraduates' researches for the international-level competition.

"We hope to be able to participate in many more competitions like this in the near future," he said.

Also present was the dean of USM’s School of Chemical Engineering , Prof Abdul Latiff Ahmad.

The three entries had won the main prizes at the recent National Research and Innovation Competition (NRIC) held in USM in May, and were later submitted among some 300 entries worldwide to the BIS.

Chew's research focuses on material which can be injected into fractured bones as temporary replacement without requiring major open surgery.

Lim's research is on developing a catalyst to efficiently change plastic into fuel, while Seah's research entry was on a malaria vaccine which works on a microscopic DNA-level and would be affordable for poor patients, including those in third world countries.

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