Lucas Low VL received his bachelor’ degree in Biodiversity Management with first-class honours from the Universiti Malaysia Terengganu in 2010. He then earned his PhD with ‘distinction thesis’ from the University of Malaya (UM) in 2013, for his studies on the molecular and biochemical basis of insecticide resistance in medically important group of mosquitoes. Currently, he is an associate professor at Tropical Infectious Diseases Research and Education Centre (TIDREC), a Higher Institution Centre of Excellence (HICoE) in Malaysia.
His current research interests include insect vectors of medical-veterinary importance such as mosquitoes, flies, ticks, fleas, lice and mites; and their associated infectious disease agents. In his scientific career, he has been fortunate to work under the mentorship of the world-renowned black fly taxonomist, Prof. Emeritus Dr. Hiroyuki Takaoka for the discovery of new species and taxonomic classification of black flies in the Oriental region. At present, he owned taxonomic authorities for 11 new species of black flies discovered in Southeast Asia. In recognition of his research excellence in vector-borne diseases, and significant advancement in molecular phylogenetics and systematics of black flies, two new species of black flies Simulium vanluni from Malaysia, and Simulium lowi from Vietnam were named after him in 2017. In March 2020, he organized and chaired the 3rd Asian Simuliidae Symposium which was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
His expertise in the field of insecticide resistance is recognized by the Malaysian Ministry of Health. He has been appointed as a member of the Technical Working Committee for Insecticide Resistance, which aims to provide mitigation plans against insecticide resistance issue throughout the country. He was also appointed as a consultant for testing commercial mosquito repellent products in a private company.
His reputation has convinced local and international funders, with the awarding of 19 research grants to him with a value of at least RM3 million. Notably, he is the principal investigator for the Tick Cell Biobank Asia Outpost project funded by the prestigious research foundation, Wellcome Trust (2022-2026). The Asia Outpost (the only one in Asia) provides insect cell line resources and training to fellow researchers in Asia. His role is important in increasing regional capacity in the implementation of research in tick-borne diseases. He is also the principal investigator of the black fly DNA barcode project in Southeast Asia funded by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, Denmark (2021-2023). His role is to establish and strengthen black fly biodiversity information facilities and increase the capacity of researchers in Asia in accessing data needed for biodiversity management.
He has strong research networks in both local and international institutions and has authored more than 150 articles in ISI-indexed journals. He has been a reviewer of several world-leading scientific journals. He is an Associate Editor of Tropical Biomedicine and a Section Editor of Parasitology Research, both of which are the WoS indexed journals.
He is an active member of the Malaysian Society of Parasitology and Tropical Medicine (MSPTM). He was the Honorary Assistant Treasurer in 2018/2019, and Honorary Assistant Secretary for 2019/2020. Currently, he serves as the Vice-President for 2022/2023. He was the organizing committee member for the 54th-59th Annual Scientific Conference of the MSPTM, and the chairperson for the pre-conference rodent database workshop.
He shows high commitment in educational activities, as well social responsibility in increasing the level of public awareness of vector-borne diseases. He is involved in various talks to raise awareness among students, Orang Asli, pet owners and the general public at disease outbreak areas. He is also a facilitator in the development of national biosafety and biosecurity policies and guidelines. Since 2018, 3 Masters and 7 PhD students have successfully completed their studies under his supervision. A total of 3 Masters and 5 PhD students are still under his supervision.
He was a recipient for Certificate of Excellent Service in 2018, and Excellence Service Award in 2019, UM. He was also a Nadchatram Medal 2020 recipient for his outstanding research in the field of parasitology and tropical medicine.