Tuesday, February 25, 2020

A Malaysian Chinese Su Tuan Min achieves breakthrough in skin cancer research

May 10. 2017
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By News Desk
Sin Chew Daily
Asia News Network
PENANG, Malaysia

A paper written by Malaysian physics researcher Su Tuan Min (pinyin), 29, has been published in science journal called Nature Research. His research can be used to understand the cause of skin cancer and cure the cancer.

The paper, published on 13 April, has been regarded as a breakthrough in research, challenging Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Su, in an email interview with Sin Chew Daily, said his field of research is Machanobiology on how physical forces and changes in the mechanical properties of cells and tissues contribute to development, cell differentiation, physiology and disease.

His research team studies how cells die and regenerate in epithelium. The significance of the research is to understand the formation of skin cancer and how to cure it.

He said of the skin cancer cases, more than 80% are epithelium cancer. By understanding how epithelium cells die and regenerate, cause of cancer can be learned. Hence if old cells are removed due to abnormal death while new cells continue to grow, then tumour will appear. If abnormal cells are not removed from epithelium on time, they may also become cancerous.

He said another key factor that science journal Nature Research published his paper is because he has applied modern thinking to explain the mechanism of death of epithelium cells.

Although he is the author of the paper, he said a total of 10 people were involved. This is a collection of all people’s contribution.

Su said the research team discovered that a pure physics reaction can directly cast impact on key mechanism in biology.

He hoped the outcome of the research promotes research transcending biology and physics.

Su is a Malaysian born in Singapore. He returned to Penang with his family at the age of eight.

He studied in SRJK (C) Por Thay and SMJK Chung Ling. In 2008, he received a scholarship from National University of Singapore (NUS) and studied in the physics faculty. He spent two years in Ecole Polytechnique, France and completed a double degree both in NUS and Ecole.

Su is currently studying his doctorate degree in NUS and conducting research under the Mechanobiology Institute of NUS.

Su said through observation, he is aware that several Malaysian students studying doctorate degree in overseas have made important contribution to science.

He said if given a chance, those scientific researchers would be willing to assist Malaysia to develop science back home. This requires call and strong support of the government.

These outstanding people include Shu Lam, Hadizah Noorisa and Su’s good friend Chen Ting Rui.(pinyin) 

Shu Lam and her team discovered star-shaped polymers work by tearing into the surface membrane of the bacteria, triggering the cell to kill itself without hurting healthy cells. The discovery leads to overcome obstacles faced in treating superbug.

Hafizah was involved in the United States’ LIGO-led (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) project through her work in experiment and contributed to the scientific paper "Observation of Gravitational Waves from a Binary Black Hole Merger”. She was part of a group of scientists that proved Albert Einstein’s theory of gravitational waves.

The quantum entanglement theory that Chen worked on Nobel Prize winner David Wineland’s laboratory would be the key factor for making quantum computer in future.

Su hopes their stories help to push science education in Malaysia, encourage Malaysian students to pursue their dreams and work towards connecting with the world.

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