The Molecular Biotechnology and Bioinformatics Department was transformed from Biotechnology Division and Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics Division to cope with the global technology change. The rapid change of biological science, with the integration of information technology into biological research has led us to establish a department which aims to attain high standards in biotechnology and education, research and entrepreneurship. We have now recognized the need for providing a university infrastructure with personnel who are skilled in mathematics and computing as well as in biology itself and expect that this new structure will help to meet the need of those who are motivated and seek knowledge. Additionally, the members of the Molecular Biotechnology and Bioinformatics Department have been working closely with researchers at the Centre of Excellence for Genomics and Bioinformatics Research.
The main areas of the department’s expertise are performing/conducting high quality research in molecular biology and bioinformatics, and providing courses that will disseminate basic and advanced knowledge in biotechnology, molecular biology and bioinformatics. To achieve this, we offer a B.Sc. Program in Biotechnology and a M.Sc. and Ph.D. Program in Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics.
Current research activities can be divided into 3 main areas:
a) Agricultural Molecular Biology
Research activities in this area are concentrated on the molecular biology and bioinformatics of shrimp, rubber trees and oil palm trees. The interests in this area are gene expression profiles, functional genomics, defensive mechanisms of plants and shrimp and reproductive processes of shrimp, applications of recombinant proteins from shrimp and plants. Animal and plant tissue culture and genetic engineering are also investigated, particularly with regard to economically important products.
b) Medical Molecular Biology
In this area research is mainly concentrated on tissue engineering to generate effective therapeutic strategies, molecular analysis of Thalassemia, gene expression and protein profiles in cancer, genetics of mental retardation and autism, genetic analysis of complex diseases, genetic epidemiology as well as molecular biology of infectious diseases and development of diagnostic kits.
The research in this area focuses on computer program software and data base analysis, automatic synchronization and distribution of biological databases and software over low-bandwidth networks among developing countries.
Facilities and High Technology Equipment
We have well equipped facilities to conduct modern molecular biology research, well supported by computer and information technology. In addition, equipment and support services are also available through the central facilities of the Faculty of Science and the university, such as the Central Equipment Unit, the Computer Center, the Electron Microscope Unit and Southern Laboratory Animal Facility.