In 2013, the Genetics Society of Malaysia (PGM) established the Zakri Award in recognition of the critical and summative role Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr. Zakri A. Hamid played in the advancement of genetics and its allied disciplines in Malaysia. This award honours an individual who exemplifies excellence, whose professional achievements have fostered and enriched the development of his or her area of genetic expertise, and who shows exceptional commitment for continued future leadership. The recipient will be presented with an engraved trophy, a certificate of excellence, and an honorarium at the biennial PGM meeting.
PROF. DATIN PADUKA DR. KHATIJAH YUSOFF
Prof. Datin Paduka Dr. Khatijah Yusoff was born in Penang. After receiving her early education there, she won a Colombo Plan Scholarship to La Trobe University, Australia for her tertiary education where she graduated with a First Class Honours degree in Microbiology in 1979. She then won a La Trobe University research scholarship to complete her PhD in microbial genetics in 1983. She then joined UPM as a lecturer in the same year. It was then that her research interest progressed from microbial genetics to the molecular biology of the Newcastle disease virus (NDV) and other paramyxoviruses. After working as a post-doctoral Research Associate at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK she began to develop her research on NDV. She was promoted to Associate Professor in 1994 and became a full Professor in 2001. She served as the Dean of the Faculty of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences in 2006, and is currently the Deputy Vice- Chancellor for Academic and International Affairs at UPM.
Her interest in paramyxoviruses continues to this day. In recognition of her teaching and research in microbiology, in particular on the molecular biology of NDV, she has received many awards including the 2005 Carlos J Finlay Prize for microbiology by UNESCO and the National Young Scientist Award in 1990. She was also selected by the Houghton Trust and invited to deliver the Third Houghton Lecture at the XIIth World Veterinary Poultry Association (WVPA) Congress in 2002 for her contributions to the poultry industry. Her work is supported by many research funds. Her current research is on the development of novel therapeutic and diagnostic reagents from NDV. She has over 100 publications in refereed journals and well over 290 papers in proceedings and abstracts. In addition, she has filed several patents and trade marks, and currently holds a US and a Malaysian patent. These inventions have won her several medals at competitions on inventions and innovations. Together with her colleagues, she has supervised over 100 postgraduate students, 75 of whom have graduated. She is also active in several local and international professional societies. She is also a fellow of the Academy of Sciences Malaysia.
PROFESSOR DR. GHIZAN SALEH
Deputy Vice Chancellor University College of Agroscience Malaysia (UCAM)
Professor Dr. Ghizan Saleh was born on June 4, 1958 in Segamat, Johor. He is currently the Deputy Vice Chancellor at University College of Agroscience Malaysia, on secondment from Universiti Putra Malaysia since 2014. Professor Ghizan heads the Agriculture and Food Cluster of the National Professors Council besides serving as a member on the Board of Directors for the Crops for the Future Research Centre which was established in 2011, a result of a joint collaboration between the government of Malaysia and the University of Nottingham, Malaysia.
Upon obtaining his PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA in 1986, he served as a lecturer in the Department of Agricultural Sciences at the Faculty of Agriculture, UPM. Currently a Senior Professor, he was promoted to Associate Professor in 1995 and subsequently to Professor in 2003.
Among the previous administrative posts that Professor Ghizan has held include the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation), Universiti Pertahanan Malaysia (on secondment from UPM); Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, UPM; Deputy Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, UPM; Deputy Director and Acting Director, University Research Park, UPM; and Principal, Chancellors College, UPM. He has also served as ACU Senior Research Fellow, Association of Commonwealth Universities based at the University of Birmingham, UK. He was also a member of the Board of Directors for the RISDA College, President of the Genetics Society of Malaysia and President of the Malaysian Chapter of the International Society for Southeast Asian Agricultural Sciences.
Professor Ghizan’s field of expertise is in Plant Breeding and Genetics, and he has carried out a number of research projects towards the production of new plant varieties through conventional means and through molecular assisted breeding techniques, especially on corn. One of his best achievements was when he successfully developed and produced the first hybrid corn grain variety in Malaysia known as the Putra J-58 variety in 1998, followed by a new composite variety for sweet corn known as Putra GS-2002 in 2003.