Featuring the Malaysian clinical research personalities that we have interviewed for CRM bulletins. Read about their experiences in conducting clinical trials and how they have benefited from it.

Research Personality: Dr. Tan Soek Siam

Dr. Tan Soek Siam is Senior Consultant Hepatologist and Head of the Department of Hepatology at Selayang Hospital. She is also the National Head of the Hepatology Service of the Ministry of Health (MOH). She obtained her medical degree at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland in 1991. After completing her postgraduate exams, she returned to Malaysia to serve at both Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun and later on at Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) where she began her hepatology specialty training. In 2000 to 2001, she undertook a clinical fellowship at the Institute of Liver Study at King’s College Hospital, London.

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Research Personality: Dr. Tee Hoi-Poh

Dr. Tee Hoi-Poh is a Consultant Gastroenterologist at Hospital Tengku Ampuan Afzan (HTAA), Kuantan. He obtained his MBBS from Bangalore University, India in 1998 and received his MRCP from the Royal Collages of Physicians, UK in 2004. He juggles his roles as consultant gastroenterologist and the Ministry of Health’s Physician in-Charge for the State of Pahang. He is a board member of the National Gastroenterology Training Committee and honorary lecturer at the International Islamic University of Malaysia, Universiti Sains Malaysia and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

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Research Personality: Datuk Dr. Muhammad Radzi Abu Hassan

Datuk Dr. Muhammad Radzi Abu Hassan is a consultant physician and gastroenterologist at Hospital Sultanah Bahiyah in Alor Setar. He also heads the Department of Medicine and Clinical Research Centre (CRC) at the hospital. He graduated from the Royal College of Surgeon in Dublin, completed his Masters in Medicine from HUSM and became a Member of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP) in 1997. He then went on to obtain a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (FRCP Edinburgh).

Datuk Dr. Radzi is actively involved in research and has numerous articles published in reputable publications. He is currently principal investigator to five on-going clinical trials and is very active in medical education, presenting at local and international conferences. His research interest are in colorectal cancer particularly with a focus on colorectal cancer screening, fatty liver, viral hepatitis as well as clinical trials in general medicines such as diabetes.

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Research Personality: Dr. Sree Kantan Nayar

Dr. Sree Kantan Nayar is a Senior Medical Officer and Clinical Coordinator at Greentown Health Clinic, Ipoh, more popularly known as Klinik Kesihatan Greentown. He has over 20 years’ experience as a clinician with stints as a medical officer throughout the state of Perak and in Kuala Lumpur. He is involved in training medical students and housemen, running of a high risk clinic and conducting his own as well as industry sponsored research among others.

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Research Personality: Dr. Zanariah Hussein

Dr. Zanariah Hussein is a Consultant Endocrinologist and Physician at Hospital Putrajaya, where she is the Head of the Endocrinology Subspecialty Service. She obtained an MBBS from the University of Malaya and an MRCP from Edinburgh, UK. She holds various educational administrative positions including the Chairperson for the Endocrine Fellowship Training Program, Honorary Lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine UiTM, UKM and UM as well as a member and Ministry of Health representative for the Specialty Conjoint Board for Masters of Internal Medicine.

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Research Personality: Dr. Chooi Kheng Chiew

Dr. Chooi Kheng Chiew is a Physician at Seri Manjung Hospital, Perak. He graduated in 2008 from the University of Glasgow, UK with a MBChB before going on to obtain an MRCP (UK) in 2011. Dr. Chooi was instrumental in the setting up of the Clinical Research Centre at Seri Manjung Hospital and has initiated industry sponsored trials at this facility. With just three years in the clinical research field, he has been an investigator and sub-investigator in more than 10 multicenter prospective clinical trials. Dr. Chooi is also an Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the Quest International University Perak and has won numerous awards including the Trades House Medical Prize, Top 10 placing in the Duke Elder Undergraduate Prize in Ophthalmology, Medical Council on Alcohol Prize and the Dr. Saidi Hashim Memorial Gold Medal.

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Research Personality: Dr. Shanthi Viswanathan

Dr. Shanthi Viswanathan obtained her MBBS from Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, India, before completing her MRCP from the Royal College of Physicians, Ireland. She subsequently pursued a one-year fellowship at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham and went on to obtain a fellowship in Neurology from the Ministry of Health, Malaysia. Dr. Shanthi currently serves as Honorary Lecturer and ad hoc examiner for undergraduatesand postgraduates who are sitting for membership from the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, and as Honorary Lecturer for University Teknologi MARA, Malaysia.

As a Consultant Neurologist at Kuala Lumpur Hospital, Dr. Shanthi has a keen interest in demyelinating diseases and movement disorders. She has been responsible for leading the establishment and development of the Demyelinating Diseases Registry, Demyelinating Diseases Clinic and Plasmapheresis Suite at the Department of Neurology, where she deals with the assessment of suitability of patients for disease modifying therapies and immunosuppressants.

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Research Personality: Dr. Swee Tan

Dr. Swee Tan is the Founder and Executive Director of the Gillies McIndoe Research Institute and Consultant Plastic & Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgeon at the Wellington Regional Plastic, Maxillofacial & Burns Unit, Hutt Hospital, Wellington, New Zealand. He obtained an MBBS from University of Melbourne in 1985 and an FRACS from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 1992. Sparked by his interest and passion in researching the cause of, and a better way to treat strawberry birthmarks, he enrolled for a part-time PhD degree at the University of Otago, before graduating in 2001.

He was appointed the Director of the Wellington Regional Plastic, Maxillofacial & Burns Unit, Hutt Hospital between 2000 and 2006 and Director of Surgery at the Hutt Valley District Health Board, Wellington, a post he held from 2007 to 2013.

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Research Personality: Dr. Irene Looi


Dr. Irene Looi is a Clinical Neurologist at the Medical Department of Seberang Jaya Hospital, Penang. She obtained an MBBS from the University of Malaya before pursuing MRCP (UK), Fellowship in Neurology and Sub-specialty training in Stroke from the National Neuroscience Institute of Singapore. Prior to her current attachment at Seberang Jaya Hospital, Dr. Irene served as a Neurology Fellow at Penang Hospital, Kuala Lumpur Hospital and University Malaya Medical Centre between 2005 and 2008, and a Clinical Neurologist at Penang Hospital (2008 – 2009).

Over the last several years, she has been a Principal Investigator in numerous multicenter prospective studies from Parkinson’s disease to epilepsy. With almost a decade of experience in industry-sponsored research and investigator initiated research, Dr. Irene has successfully published various research papers in national and international peer-reviewed journals

Dr. Irene recently shared her experience in the clinical trial industry to Clinical Research Malaysia (CRM).

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Research Personality: Dr. Suraya Yusoff

Dr. Suraya Yusoff is a psychogeriatrician — psychiatrist who specialises in the assessment and treatment of elderly people with mental health issues. She is one of the few psychogeriatricians in Malaysia. Currently she is based at the Hospital Sultan Ismail in Johor Bahru, where she runs a clinical trial for a drug to treat Alzheimer’s. She talks to Sharmila Valli Narayanan about the challenges of running a clinical trial for Alzheimer’s patients and explains the importance of such trials for patient care.

Dr. Suraya Yusoff is soft spoken and calm – two qualities very much needed when dealing with patients with psychiatric problems. Dr. Suraya specialises in psychogeriatrics, a branch of psychiatry that deals with the study, prevention and treatment of mental disorders in humans with old age.

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