Dr. Jamilah Syafawati Yaacob completed her B.Sc (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology & Biotechnology) from University of Melbourne, Australia in 2007, and her M.Sc (Crop Biotechnology) from University of Nottingham (Malaysia campus) in 2009. She received her PhD in Biotechnology from University of Malaya in 2013 and was one of the recipients of the University of Malaya Excellence Awards in 2014 for completing her PhD in less than 4 years. In 2010, during her PhD candidature, she had also won a Gold Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Biosciences & Biotechnology during University of Malaya Innovation and Creativity Expo. After successfully completing her PhD, she then joined the Institute of Biological Sciences at the Faculty of Science, University of Malaya as a Senior Lecturer. Since then, she has taught and coordinated various undergraduate courses such as Biology of Organisms, Genetic Engineering in Animals and Plants, Cell and Tissue Culture and Higher Plant Physiology. At the postgraduate level, she has also helped in teaching Research Methodology, a compulsory course upon entry into postgraduate studies at the department. Since her employment as an Academic, she has served the department and University in various administrative duties, such as the programme coordinator for Bachelor of Science with Education (ISB), BSc in Biotechnology, academic advisor, final year project coordinator and many more.
Her current research interest is on manipulation of plant tissue culture system for biotechnological applications, with special emphasis on stress-induced plant secondary metabolites and proteins for medicinal applications and sustainable production of functional food colorants. Her present research works include projects on understanding and manipulating plant’s response towards abiotic stress for over-expression of valuable bioactive compounds, such as in Azadirachta indica (neem). The regulation of proteins involved in the biosynthesis of these bioactive compounds or secondary metabolites are analyzed through proteomics-based approach, to allow for a better understanding of the biosynthesis pathways that has been affected. In addition to that, she is also working on the epigenetics aspect of plant phenotypic plasticity, to understand the epigenetic regulation (with focus on histone modification) in DNA repair and somaclonal variation.
In recognition of her work and scientific achievements, she has won several awards such as a Gold Medal at International Invention, Innovation & Technology Exhibition (ITEX) in 2013 and a Bronze Medal at Bioinnovation Awards/BioMalaysia & Bioeconomy Asia Pacific 2013. Other than that, she is also actively participating in the scientific community and the public by taking on various roles as a judge or jury in scientific competitions and innovation programs at national and secondary school levels. These include her role as a judge for Malaysian Agricultural Invention Show (MAgIS) competition organized by Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry in 2016, and judge for science videos and scientific poem recitation competitions organized by Ministry of Education in 2017-2018, among others. Professionally, she was also one of the representatives in the working group for pineapple planting material for preparation of Malaysian Standard (organized by SIRIM Malaysia) in 2018. Outside of work and research, she also loves to join various events that promote sustainability and green environment.