Universiti Malaya's (UM) Dr Chan Yoke Fun has won the ASEAN-US Science Prize for Women 2020 - coming ahead of nine other women scientists from across Southeast Asia
The prize - given by the ASEAN Committee on Science, Technology, and Innovation (COSTI), the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and Underwriters Laboratories - aims to recognise promising early to mid career women scientists for their academic and professional achievements.
Dr Chan, the head of UM's Medical Microbiology department in its Faculty of Medicine, was selected from a pool of ten national finalists who each represented some of the brightest women scientists working in the field of Preventive Healthcare - the theme for this year's prize.
Dr Chan was credited for her research in developing a vaccine for the highly-contagious hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD), a viral infection common among young children
According to her UM faculty profile, Dr Chan started her career as a research scientist after completing both her Bachelor of Medical Sciences and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in UM.
She now has over 20 years of experience in the field and has been involved in over 80 research publications.
Besides research, she has also dedicated time and effort to raise awareness about the dangers and prevention of common viruses in her community and beyond.
"This award is timely in demonstrating the active role of women in preventive healthcare. It is a recognition for work well done, and signifies the opportunity for my team to do more," Dr Chan was quoted saying on the US Mission to ASEAN online portal.
"It has also empowered all ASEAN women scientists. Passion, perseverance, and positive thinking helps us achieve greater heights."
Dr Chan also received an award of USD20,000 (RM86,900), whereas honourable mention Dr Shefaly Shorey from Singapore, received a USD5,000 (RM20,700) award
COSTI chairman Professor Andy Hor congratulated Dr Chan as well as Dr Shorey for their scientific achievements and contributions.
"Since its inception in 2014, the ASEAN-US Science Prize for Women has continued to showcase the many talented scientists in ASEAN," said Professor Hor.
"We offer our best wishes to all the national finalists and trust that they will inspire the next generation of women scientists to scale new heights in their scientific journey."