By Archana Patrick
Here’s an inspiring feat to kick-start 2019 and one which truly makes every Malaysian proud!
The American National Academy of Inventors (NAI) recently accorded the highest professional honour on Dr Bernard Arulanandam for his outstanding contribution in the field of immunology, in particular, research and development of new vaccines to cure contagious diseases.
Since 2001 and based on a report by the University of Texas in San Antonio, America (UTSA), Dr Arulanandam, who hails from Ipoh, has conducted numerous research programmes on microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses causing sexually transmitted diseases, namely, chlamydia, rabbit fever and even those affecting injured soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Currently, Dr Arulanandam, the interim vice president for Research, Economic Development and Knowledge Enterprise at UTSA, is actively involved in research programmes for the development of vaccines for chlamydia, vaccines for a bio-threat agent called Francisella tularensis, and a multi-drug resistant microorganism called Acinetobacter baumannii.
Vaccines are significant as a preventive measure in combating contagious diseases.
Having spent 25 years in the United States, Dr Arulanandam has published various papers in microbiology and other related fields. He has also received funding from numerous governmental and non-governmental agencies including the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense (DOD).
Among Dr Arulanandam’s other string of achievements include his instrumental role in establishing a pioneer research programme at UTSA called UTSA Centre of Excellence in Infection Genomics, which supports microbiology research, teaching and other outreach activities in line with the US Army.
He was also the director of the UTSA South Texas Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases (STCEID).
Commenting on the honour he received, Dr Arulanandam in an email interview with The Star Online was humbled to be part of such an esteemed organisation. On the significance of research and development, he had this to say:
“Research satisfies our curiosity and imagination and paves the way to tackle grand challenges. This nexus transcends generations and passes along information that gets further refined and expands our knowledge base”.
This accolade received by Dr Arulanandam makes him a part of the NAI, an industry organisation comprising American and other international universities, governmental and non-profit research institutes which to date has over 4,000 individual inventor members and fellows across more than 250 institutions worldwide.
Dr Arulanandam’s prolific spirit of innovation and dedication towards research and development of vaccines in the field of immunology and microbiology truly serves as an inspiration to our younger generation to follow in his footsteps!