Saturday, October 28, 2017

L’Oréal -UNESCO For Women in Science 2017 :Interview L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science

Being a daughter, wife, and mom of two boys, I am glad to have spend time off reading about these and like to share with you that they are the winners  of L’Oréal -UNESCO For Women in Science 2017.  Health is important and we need to seek help or help others if there's sign of depression. My friend's mom passed away due to breast cancer, is good to know of early detection and screening as well.
Dr Jasy Liew Suet Yan
Senior Lecturer, Universiti Sains Malaysia
For her research in pre-empting depression
by analysing emotion patterns from social
media texts to trigger early intervention.

It has been reported that four out of every 10 Malaysians will be affected by some form of mental health issues like depression. Today, depression is on the rise but it is still considered a taboo subject that is downplayed and victims rarely acknowledge they need help.This makes it difficult for detection as diagnosis is done through physical examination by a doctor.

In today’s digital world where the use of social media is prevalent, Dr. Liew believes that tell tale signs of depression can be picked up in this channel. In her research, she aims to investigate the emotion patterns associated with depression from streams of social media texts, tweets or social media posts that contains emotional cues, which can be identified to detect signs of depression. She employs the use of automatic emotion detectors that non- intrusively monitor an individual’s emotional state in order to trigger an alert and suggest relevant strategies to regulate emotions when patterns of depression are recognized. 

Preventing depression is crucial to improve the quality of life, lower suicide rates and reduce the burden of mental illnesses in a society and the country.
“When I was pursuing my PhD, I noticed many of peers showing signs of anxiety and depression. I also discovered, that a report that revealed one in two PhD students experiences psychological distress and it prompted me to think that this is a serious issue that has not been given its due spotlight. It is bizarre to think how huge the problem actually is but have yet to see effective use of technology to prevent depression. I work on enabling technologies to detect emotions expressed in text and I hope to create more emotion-sensitive applications that can help monitor and regulate a person’s emotion to prevent people from falling into depression,” says Dr. Liew.

Her love for science began at a young age that was inspired by a Japanese manga character, Doraemon, a blue robotic cat that has a pocket that can produce the most amazing gadgets. Her curiosity sparked her on a mission to find out the science behind every gadget, and was always asking questions on how things work.Later, she was introduced to computer science by her sister and since then discovered the thrill of solving complex problems in computer science and how she apply technology to make this world a more beautiful place. “I want to use my expertise to humanize technology and help build local talents in my field. I am a big believer in mentorship and hope to inspire our next generation future thinkers. Nothing would be more satisfying for me than to help produce the next Grace Hopper, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs of Malaysia.”

“Grab any opportunity to learn, follow your heart and never be discouraged by naysayers who says computer science is not for women.The inventor for the first compiler of a programming language was a woman! 

Being a computer scientist allows cross disciplinary boundaries in your career. I am a living and walking example of this. I have always wanted to teach and have always been fascinated with computers, psychology and linguistics. Computer and information science have allowed me to combine my various interests in my career so join me in exploring science and creating technologies to make this world a better place to live in.”

Dr. Teh Su Yean
Associate Professor,
School of Mathematical Sciences
Universiti Sains Malaysia For her research in
unifying STEM towardssustainable management of coastal

Climate change has already had observable effects on the environment: loss of sea ice, accelerated sea level rise, longer and more intense heat waves, extreme weather patterns. These are the reason why natural disasters such as flood, droughts, hurricanes and storm surges are occurring more frequently and more intensely than before.

Malaysia is not spared, as climate change is a global issue and is inevitable.
Seawater inundation and saltwater intrusion associated with climate change impacts will cause a serious problem in the form of permanent salinization of fresh groundwater. Salinization of fresh groundwater has a negative impact on growth and productivity of plants,for example paddy fields flooded by salt water will no longer be fertile. 

With this research,Dr. Teh intends to provide useful insights on how to protect the Malaysian coastal resources by combining Science , Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) to address the consequence of this pressing issue. The Technology and Mathematics aspect of this project is the development of a coupled hydrology-salinity-vegetation model to enable projection of the short-and long- term effects on (a) the water quality (salinity) of the soil and groundwater in areas exposed to salinity intrusion events, as well as on (b) the potential changes in vegetation in the affected areas.

The Science and Engineering aspect of this project mainly involves field work to obtain vegetation and soil data to drive the simulation model.
 “My inspiration came from the frequent research visits to The Greater Everglades of Florida and the work I have been doing with the US Geological Survey on The Everglades, as part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). I want to transfer my knowledge on the conservation of ground water which may be needed when other water resources are depleted due to Climate Change.”

Dr. Teh was not born with a golden spoon. In fact, she lived in a poor, crime-infested neighbourhood in Penang and growing up was a constant struggle as her parents had to work hard to put food on the table. However, since young, her parents instilled strong values of working hard and perseverance to achieve her ambition. Her relentless dedication and passion paid off when she received a scholarship by UNESCO/Keizo Obuchi Research Fellowship to pursue a research on wetlands hydrology and ecosystems at University of Miami, as part of her PhD program in USM. 

“Since secondary school, I fell in love with science and I was determined to be a scientist. Through mathematics I found the possibility of solving real-life problems. It pushes me to be creative and to challenge myself to find the solutions to any problems. Science makes me feel capable and I feel satisfied when I get to solve a problem that helps benefit our society.”

“Science is not only for smart people or geeks.Do not be intimidated by the unproven stories you heard about science. Science opens many doors to a great and fulfilling career in any discipline, fields and even industries.The possibility of science is endless and it’s all in your own imagination.”

Dr. Ho Weang Kee
Associate Professor/University of Nottingham MalaysiaCampus.
For her research in using DNA and lifestyle information to
identify those at risk of breast cancer for early detection


Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide. In Malaysia,Approximately 1 in 20 women in Malaysia will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Breast cancer if detected early can be cured, the five year survival rate of Stage 1 breast cancer patients is up to 98 per cent. One way to enable early detection of breast cancer is through screening, but we cannot afford to screen every women in the country. Dr. Ho is drawing on her background as a statistician aiming to develop a breast can cer risk assessment tool that uses DNA and lifestyle information to identify women at high risk of getting the disease. Presently, women above the age of 50 years old are encouraged to get a mammogram, but nearly half of the breast cancer patients diagnosed were below the age of 50 year old. This tool will optimize current breast cancer screening strategies by stratifying the population according to the likelihood of getting breast cancer. 

Those at high risk, will then be screened at a younger age and more often than those below the average risk category. This process will therefore optimally utilize healthcare resources and minimize the risk of breast cancer from occurring.
“Perhaps because I am a woman and I am Malaysian. I feel a sense or responsibility to contribute back to our society by helping another woman fight breast cancer.”

Dr. Ho did not set out to be a scientist. She was lucky to have parents who told her she could be anything. Her career aspirations evolved from being a kindergarten teacher, then to become a tuition teacher and finally her passion for math led her to pursue a PhD in Math so she can teach. It was during her PhD study that her passion for science was ignited and she realized she could use Math to solve many important scientific questions.

“As a statistician and a breast cancer researcher, my aspiration is to contribute to the development of models that could make a real differences to other people lives. As a teacher, my aspiration is to inspire students to pursue STEM–we need more people to tackle the never - ending stream of problems we face in the world that we live in. However, my biggest aspiration is to be happy and enjoy life.”

“The year I started my career in breast cancer research was the same year I had my son. Being a mother is a challenge, being a mother and a scientist represents an even bigger challenge. Science is very time consuming, so is raising a child. But it is doable and possible to find the balance with the right support from the family. You may end up being exhausted at the end of every day, but it’s worth it, for the beauty of being a mother and a scientist. Remember, no one can stop you. If you are passionate about science, go for it. Science is genderless. It is a game for everyone.”

Let's shared these meaningful messages to everyone. 


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