Awanis is currently an Associate Professor majoring in membrane technology and fabrication in Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Malaya. She started working at UM as a lecturer since November 2004 and become a senior lecturer in 2011. Prior to that, she worked as a Plant Engineer in Hitachi Semiconductor Penang upon her completion of her Bachelor degree sponsored by Monbusho Scholarship (Ministry of Education, Japan). She has a PhD from Imperial College London (2011), Masters in Environmental Biotechnology from University of Manchester (2004) and a Bachelor Degree in Chemical Engineering from Osaka University, Japan (2001).
Awanis represented Malaysia in the ASEAN-US Science prize for Women competition in 2014 due to her work in improving the availability and safe drinking water in ASEAN region through novel membranes. She was also awarded Hitachi Research Fellowship by Hitachi Global Foundation in 2016 to perform research in collaboration with Membrane Research Centre, Kobe University and later in 2019, she received Yamaguchi University Visiting Scholar award and MEXT Global Networking award in partnership with Osaka University, both in 2019. Awanis was awarded the JSPS Bridge Fellowship Award in 2023. She received an Excellence Service Award from University of Malaya in 2015 and 2019 due to her contributions to the University, and Certificate of Excellent Service in 2016. She was awarded special grant in 2015 by the Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia through Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FRGS) special grant for disaster mitigation and prevention during flood using membrane technology. Awanis has been extensively involved in 16 research projects, in which she has been the Principal Investigator for 12 internal and external grant worth of more than RM1.3 million. She is also an active reviewer of high impact factor journals such as Journal of Membrane Science, and Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.
Awanis is a Chartered Engineer of Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET), UK. She pioneered membrane fabrication research using phase inversion process in Universiti Malaya (UM) since 2011. She is currently an Exco of JSPS-JAAM, Chairman of International Affairs Unit of MyMembrane Society (Malaysia), and the member of the Board of Engineers Malaysia. Since 2004, Awanis served in a number of administrative positions including; chemical engineering undergraduate program coordinator, faculty auditor, undergraduate curriculum review committee, design project coordinator, lab coordinator, departmental quality manager, and the timetable coordinator. She has been the Head for the Center of Separation Science and Technology from January 2020 until December 2021.
Her recent research activities include 1. Membrane fabrication and modification 2. Membrane technology and separation 3. Separation processes 4. Water and wastewater treatment using membranes 5. Carbon dioxide capture using a membrane gas absorption process. Awanis has more than fifty published articles in ISI-indexed journals and she has presented papers in national and international conferences and seminars as a plenary speaker, invited speakers and oral presenters.