University of Nottingham Malaysia
School of Biosciences

UNM Biotechnology Research Centre


The AAR - UNMC Biotechnology Research Centre 

The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC) has established a strong collaboration with Applied Agricultural Resources Sdn. Bhd. (AAR), an internationally recognised premier centre in plantation crop research. This collaboration has resulted in a new, state-of-the-art Biotechnology Research Centre (BRC) near the UNMC campus which was officially launched on 29th September 2009. The establishment of BRC is in tandem with the efforts of the university and AAR to promote research and development in molecular biotechnology. 

BRC has a wide range of facilities and equipment to support molecular, proteomic, plant tissue culture, and molecular pharming research which includes the tissue culture rooms, growth chambers, Akta Pure Fast Protein Liquid Chromatography (FPLC) system, fluorescent microscopy, densitometer, vacuum concentrator, standard and real-time thermal cyclers, Bio-Dot microfiltration system, Biolistic system, gel electrophoretic and documentation systems, and others. 

                    BRC_P2            BRC_P1

Research areas

“One research priority is the genetic improvement of various plant species, particularly oil palm, in order to speed up traditional breeding programmes.“

“The use of plant-based systems for rapid, safe and cost-effective production of foreign proteins such as vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics and high value metabolites such as flavourings and medicinal compounds, which is referred as molecular pharming, also a key focus.“

Oil Palm Research

  • Application of DNA technology to detect illegitimate crosses and tissue culture mix-ups as well as authenticate the in-house breeds and clones of oil palm for securing intellectual property rights
  • Use of genetic relationship studies to determine desirable oil palm breeding partners
  • Development of marker-assisted selection technology for early selection of valuable genetic traits including oil quality, tree height, fruit shape and colour as well as disease resistance
  • Development of genetic engineering technology to overcome the barriers of introducing new traits into oil palm and speed up the production of new oil palm varieties with desirable traits

Plant Genetic Improvement and Modern Breeding

  • Molecular research and development is conducted on various plant species comprising the commercial crop, oil palm, and some underutilised plants. This involves systematic procedures for improving trait phenotypes by crossing and selection, directed manipulation of the genotype at DNA level as well as introduction of new genes.

Underutilised Plant Research

  • Integration of improved in vitro tissue culture and molecular genetics methods into the conventional breeding of underutilized plants
  • Development of innovative tissue culture, genomics and proteomics on underutilized plants for improvement of medicinal, nutritional and sustainability principles.



Plant Molecular Pharming

  • Several strategies including nuclear transformation, infection and agroinfiltration via plant virus-based vectors, chloroplast or transplastomic transformation, are used to express proteins and metabolic products in tobacco and underutilised plants.

Plant-based Vaccines, Therapeutic Proteins and High Value Metabolic Products

  • Using plants to produce dengue vaccine
  • Development of rapid, high expression and cost-effective plant-based platforms to produce vaccines against viral and bacterial diseases as well as therapeutic proteins for general health promotion and against cancers.
  • Enhancing production of high value metabolic products such as flavouring, nutritional and medicinal molecules in plants.

Drug discovery using peptide-based therapeutics

  • Bioproduction of Antimicrobial Peptides using microbial host systems.
  • Design of novel Antimicrobial Peptides synthetic analogues with enhanced therapeutic profiles.





Why Choose UNM’s Biotechnology Research Centre? 

The following are some top reasons to be part of our biotechnology research centre.

  • World-class facilities - We are equipped with cutting-edge facilities and equipment vital for groundbreaking research. We aim to offer our research students the perfect environment for research work. 

  • Renowned faculty - Our lecturers and professors are at the forefront of biotechnology research. It is our aim not just to educate but to mentor the next generation of biotechnology researchers. 

  • Diverse research areas - The research conducted at UNM spans a wide spectrum in the biotechnology domain. This includes oil palm research, plant genetic improvement and modern breeding, plant molecular pharming, plant-based vaccines and drug discovery using peptide-based therapeutics. We aim to be at the forefront of biotechnological advancements to make a significant impact in these fields. 

UNM Biotechnology Research Centre Facilities and Equipment

The Biotechnology Research Centre is equipped with cutting-edge equipment, empowering our researchers to conduct meaningful and impactful research. Our facilities include:

  • Tissue culture rooms

  • Growth chambers

  • Fluorescent microscopy

  • Densitometer

  • Akta Pure Fast Protein Liquid Chromatography (FPLC) system 

  • Vacuum concentrator

  • Standard and real-time thermal cyclers

  • Bio-Dot microfiltration system

  • Biolistic system

  • Gel electrophoretic and documentation systems

Be part of UNM’s Biotechnology Research Centre and join us in our quest to make a meaningful impact on agriculture, medicine and the environment.



What is biotechnology research? 

Biotechnology research involves studying and applying biological systems, organisms, or derivatives to develop products, processes, or solutions that will improve aspects of human life and the environment. Biotechnology research aims to address the challenges in healthcare, agriculture, environmental conservation, and other areas through the innovation of biological processes and systems.

It encompasses genetic engineering, molecular biology, bioinformatics, the development of biopharmaceuticals, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and sustainable agriculture practices. 

Are there funding opportunities for students and researchers at UNM’s biotechnology research centre?

Yes, UNM offers scholarships, funding opportunities and grants for students and researchers to support their projects. These financial resources can be used to help cover research expenses, tuition fees and living costs. 

Are there opportunities for international students to be part of UNM’s biotechnology research centre? 

Yes, we welcome international students to join us. Reach out to us for more information on international student admissions and requirements




Assistant Professor Dr. Le Cheng Foh   
telephone: +603 8725 3645
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School of Biosciences

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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