University of Nottingham Malaysia
Division of Biomedical Sciences

Infections and Immunity



Infectious diseases remain a common yet overwhelming threat in both community and hospital settings. The healthcare and economic burden from infections is exacerbated by the rapid emergence and spread of resistant bacteria strains, highlighting the utmost importance to search for new anti-infection strategies. Our research in this theme brings together several complementary areas, including bacterial pathogenesis, host immunity, drug resistance, vaccine development and novel antimicrobial treatment for infections.

Our Mission 

  • Our overarching aim is to understand the basis of infection from the perspective of pathogen and host immunity, and to explore new antimicrobial options against various human pathogens. 
  • Development of prophylactic vaccines against various tropical infectious diseases  
  • Application of big data to analyse the safety of vaccines 

 Vaccine and Vaccine Safety

A prophylactic vaccine remains the most cost effective approach to decisively impact an epidemic or even eradicate a pathogen globally. Most of the tropical infectious diseases mainly affecting populations living in poverty are not yet preventable by vaccination. The understanding of pathogen biology and protective immunity against the same pathogen together with effective vaccine delivery directs successful vaccine design.  

Vaccine safety is paramount. Over the past two decades, rumours and misinformation about the safety of vaccines have resulted in many parents who refused vaccinations for their children. Electronic Word-of-Mouth (eWOM), especially negative sentiments pertaining to vaccination has implicated further increase of vaccination refusal by parents. As a result, there is a rise in the cases of preventable infectious diseases such as measles. The Malaysia Ministry of Health (MOH) has acknowledged the growing trend in refusal of vaccination decisions. The propagated increase of refusal to vaccinate poses a serious public health risk. Adverse event reports database can be obtained from various databases and this can be used to study the extend of these adverse events. 

Current research focus: 

  • Vaccine development against Toxoplasma gondii by using Salmonella as a carrier for vaccine delivery 
  • We plan to use unstructured data from available health databases to perform predictive text analytics and analyse adverse event reports following administration of vaccine. We will derive insights and behavioural intent of families using a hybrid approach of inductive and deductive reasonings. The current focus are human papilomavirus (HPV) and influenza vaccines (in collaboration with Prof Khong Kok Wei, Nottingham University Business School) 

Current members:

  1. Prof Ting Kang Nee
  2. Dr Fang Chee Mun


 Drug resistant bacteria

The emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance are becoming a serious menace to the modern societies. Antibiotic resistant bacteria, particularly methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), is challenging to treat, resulting in high morbidity and mortality in nosocomial infections. Understanding the molecular basis of infection process will lead to discovery of new treatment, prevention approach and diagnosis method.  

Current research focus: 

  • Investigation of virulence factors expressed by S. aureus in vitro and in vivo, the role of biofilm in infection and the study of host-pathogen interaction using a live animal model Caenorhabditis elegans. 
  • Identification and characterisation of antibiotic resistance bacteria in commercial poultry farms in Malaysia. 

Current members:

  1. Dr Fang Chee Mun


 Antimicrobial research 

Microbes continue to find ways to resist the current antibiotic arsenal developed by humans, leading to urgent calls for novel antimicrobial compounds that can prevent the spread of resistance. 

Current research focus: 

  • Identification of anti-infectives with novel modes of action that could reduce the possibility for drug resistance development, including anti-virulence, anti-biofilm and immunomodulatory agents.  
  • Antimicrobial activities and the underlying inhibition mechanism(s) of in-house synthesized metal oxide nanoparticles. 
  • Antimicrobial activities of natural products, including herbal extracts, functional food and natural product derived drugs.  

Current members:

  1. Dr Pung Yuh-Fen 
  2. Dr Ho Wan Yong

Division of Biomedical Sciences

University of Nottingham Malaysia
Jalan Broga, 43500 Semenyih
Selangor Darul Ehsan

telephone: +6 (03) 8924 8000
fax: +6 (03) 8924 8018

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