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Dr Annie Chai has been awarded the Dr Ranjeet Bhagwan Singh Research Grant 2021!

Who is Dr Annie Chai?

Dr Annie has been working to improve the survival for oral cancer patients – a debilitating disease that is more common in Asians. She had returned after her studies in Hong Kong with a strong conviction to contribute her scientific expertise to address research gaps present in Asian cancers, as research is still scarce and often neglected. She has already used cutting edge gene editing technology (CRISPR/Cas-9) to find genes that drive oral cancer.

What is the award?

Dr Ranjeet Bhagwan Singh (RBS) was an incredible Malaysian – he trained as a medical doctor and completed his PhD in Edinburgh before returning home to work at the Institute of Medical Research. Dr Singh was touched by the actions of a stranger who had helped him pay for his examination fees, without which he may not have qualified to become a doctor. He decided that upon his death, all his assets would be used to establish a Trust Fund to support Malaysian researchers.

When asked how she felt when she received news that she had won the grant, she stated

“I am very humbled to win a grant that is named after such a prominent Malaysian doctor and scientist. It is particularly meaningful because I have contributed to other grants in the past, but this is the first one I have taken the lead in.” 

As the recipient of the RBS research grant 2021, Annie will be testing potential new therapies for oral cancer patients. In this new study, she will be able to take the next step to investigate further the therapeutic potential of targeting one of these genes, which has been recently found to play critical roles in promoting cancer growth in various other cancers, but remains understudied in oral cancers. 

Her research differs from those conducted in the West, as she is using unique cancer models that were derived from Malaysian cancer patients in our research, so that we could find more precise treatment strategies for Malaysians. As far as we know, this research is the first of its kind in Malaysia!

Whilst some of the chemical costs that Annie needs for her research will be funded by the grant, but the rest of the programme is funded by donations. We depend on your contributions to ensure the fight against cancer doesn’t miss Asians – especially Malaysians. If you’re an individual, it only takes RM10/month to help save lives, and if you’re a company, RM100/month can make a difference for Asian cancer survival.

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