Biotech Updates

TWAS Regional Young Scientists Conference in Malaysia

November 6, 2009

Malaysia was a proud host this week for the TWAS Regional Young Scientists Conference with the theme Food, Health and Fuel: Plants for the Future. This conference was organized by The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS), Regional Office for East and Southeast Asia and the Pacific (ROESEAP), Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), and Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM). MABIC joined the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation, and Novel Plants Sdn Bhd in supporting this conference.

The conference was officiated by the Deputy Minister of MOSTI , Haji Fadillah bin Haji Yusof, who in his officiating speech emphasized the need to work towards food security, and meeting the demand for biofuels and biomaterials from renewable, plant-based resources. Prof. Farida Habib Shah, the chair of the organizing committee, initiated this conference with an aim to bring together both young and prominent scientist from all over Asia to share their research findings and to discuss future prospects of collaboration in line with the objectives of TWAS.

The conference focussed on bioenergy, food security, and medicinal plants for health. Jatropha, okra, microalgae, Moringa oleifera, and ignocellulosic waste were some of the feedstock for biofuel that were presented. Under the food security session, biofortification of rice, improving wheat, chickpea, and sweet potato, and the use of microorganisms to control disease and pests were presented. Anti-cancer activity of plants was a popular topic under the medicinal plant session. Speakers and participants came from India, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Egypt, Pakistan, Myanmar, Mexico, China, Philippines, Bangladesh, Sudan, and Ghana.

Email Mahaletchumy Arujanan of the Malaysia Biotechnology Information Center at for additional information about the conference.