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School of Biosciences & Biotechnology,
Faculty of Science & Technology,
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia,
43600 UKM Bangi

Tel: +6 03 89215961
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Faculty of Science & Technology
Centre for Postgraduate Studies
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia




The Molecular Function Regulation Lab is primarily involved in exploring two major research themes: (1) the discovery and studies of interactions for non-coding RNA and (2) studies on the molecular mechanisms of microbial pathogenicity. Diverse approaches and technologies such as computational biology, bioinformatics, genomics, X-ray crystallography, systems biology and synthetic biology are deployed to achieve these objectives.

The knowledge and technology generated from our primary research is applicable to numerous other downstream research areas. As a result, the technology and knowledge acquired are further deployed to projects with collaborating labs in diverse areas which range from cancer epigenomics to bioremediation and bioenergy.

RNA Biology
Ribonucleic acids (RNA) have long been known as intermediary molecules between the information coded in DNA and the proteins encoded by those genes. Research has however shown that RNA molecules can also fold into complex structures which are crucial factors in determining their function just as in proteins. These RNA molecules are also involved in numerous cellular processes from regulatory roles to their long recognized roles in protein synthesis. RNA molecules such as ribozymes, riboswitches, ribosomal RNA and other families of non-coding RNA fall into this category. Studies of the occurrences and corresponding structural interactions which make up these molecules are therefore of great scientific interest. In our lab, two areas which we currently investigate are: (i) the use of computational approaches to study RNA structural interactions and 3D motifs and (ii) the discovery and annotation of non-coding RNA (novel and known) in genomic data. 

Molecular Mechanisms of Pathogenesis
The research group has also endeavoured to further understand molecular mechanisms of bacterial pathogenicity. This work involves the use of the bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei as a model. This bacterial species is the causative agent of melioidosis and has been known to have a latent period prior to active infection which can last for decades in the host. Such an organism therefore provides an interesting avenue to further study mechanisms of host-pathogen interactions, bacterial survival and the systems which regulate the transition from latent survival to active pathogenicity. As a result, knowledge on the roles of non-coding RNAs as regulatory elements, protein-glycan interactions and the potential of products encoded by essential genes as drug targets in such a pathogen are of great value.

Key specialization areas:
Computational structural biology, RNA bioinformatics, bacterial genomics

Collaborators (External to faculty)
Prof. Peter Artymiuk
Prof. David Rice
Prof. Peter Willett
Krebs Institute for Biomolecular Research
University of Sheffield

The Malaysia Genome Institute

Dr. Shandar Ahmad
National Institute for Biomedical Innovation
Osaka, Japan

Last updated: September 2012