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UK and South East Asia awarded research projects

The UK Medical Research Council is conducting joint funding awards with South East Asia as part of the Offical Development Assistance (ODA) of the UK Government.

These projects are aimed to focus research into infectious diseases and non-communicable diseases of relevance, particularly on diseases that impact the most vulnerable in society in South East Asia countries.

The initiatives have resulted in funding awards between the South East Asia institutes and UK institutes through development and strengthening of new and existing research collaborations. 

UK-Thailand: Joint Health Research Call


To tackle important, evolving health priorities, the Thai Science Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) the Thailand Research Foundation (TRF) and the Medical Research Council worked together to support a new joint funding initiative, as part of the Newton Fund.

The research projects awarded were specifically relevant to the Thai population, understanding the cause of disease or epidemiology in the Thai population, and/or development or implementation of interventions for resource-poor communities.

The MRC and NSTDA are pleased to announce the following projects have been awarded through the ‘Infectious Disease’ space of this initiative:

  • The dynamic of anti-dengue antibodies over time
    • Dr Juthathip Mongkolsapaya (Imperial College London)
    • Dr Prida Malasit (Mahidol University)
  • Preventing the transmission of artemisinin resistant falciparum malaria
    • Dr Jake Baum (Imperial College London)
    • Kesinee Chotivanich (Mahidol University)
  • Treatment of multi-drug-resistant Gram-negative bacterial infections using capsule depolymerases
    • Professor Peter Taylor (University College London)
    • Professor Supayang Voravuthikunchai (Prince of Songkla University)
  • Bacterial pathogenesis: dissecting the early stages of cellular invasion by the obligate intracellular bacterium Orientia tsutsugamushi
    • Professor Nicholas Day (University of London)
    • Siwanon Jirawatnotai (Mahidol University)

The MRC and TRF are pleased to announce the following projects have been awarded through the ‘Cancer’ space of this initiative:

  • Role of heparin binding growth factors in O.viverrini induced Cholangiocarcinoma (O-CCA) development, progression and angiogenesis
    • Professor David Bates (University of Nottingham)
    • Rutaiwan Tohtong  (Mahidol University)
  • PRH/HHEX in intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, disease progression and response to chemotherapeutics.
    • Dr Padma-Sheela Jayaraman (University of Birmingham)
    • Dr Satayavivad (Chulabhorn Research Institute)
  • Targeting the FOXM1 signature for early diagnosis and treatment in cholangiocarcinoma
    • Professor Eric Lam (Imperial College London)
    • Dr Chawalit Pairojkul (Khon Kaen)


UK-Philippines: Joint Health Research Call

The Philippines Department of Science and Technology through the Philippines Council for Health and Research Development (DOST-PCHRD) and the Medical Research Council (MRC) awarded Six (6) research collaborations on surveillance, diagnostics, and characterization of infectious diseases such as malaria, HIV, schistosomiasis, dengue, antimicrobial resistance, and tuberculosis through this initiative:

  • ENSURE: Enhanced surveillance for control and elimination of malaria in the Philippines
    • Chris Drakeley (London School of Hygiene and Trop Medicine)
    • Fe Esperanza (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine(RITM))
  • 'See and Sequence' - Genomic surveillance of antimicrobial resistant and high-risk pathogenic clones within the Philippines
    • David Aanensen (Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute)
    • Celia Carlos (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine(RITM))
  • Triple-D Targets: The UK-Philippines Dengue Diagnostic and Drug Targets Research Consortium
    • Andrew Davidson (University of Bristol)
    • Raul Destura (National Institutes of Health, University of the Philippines, Manila (UPM))
  • HIV G.E.T (Gaming, Engaging and Testing) Project
    • Marlize Coleman (Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine)
    • Emmanuel S. Baja (University of the Philippines, Manila)
  • Impact assessment of diagnostic tools for multi-drug resistant and (MDR-TB) drug sensitive tuberculosis (TB) in the Philippines
    • Stephen Squire (Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine)
    • Charles Y Yu (De la Salle health sciences Institute)
  • Structure Elucidation and Characterization of the Venus Kinase Receptors of a Philippine Isolate of Schistosoma japonicum
    • Konstantinos Beis (Imperial College London)
    • Ricky B. Nellas (University of the Philippines Diliman)


UK-Malaysia: Joint Health Research Call

The UK Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) are pleased to announce that twelve research collaborations on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) were awarded through the Newton-Ungku Omar Fund in October 2016.

The research projects awarded focused on addressing NCDs of relevance to Malaysia, particularly those impacting on the most vulnerable in society.

The successful applications awarded through this initiative are:

  • Immunotherapy for Head and Neck Cancer
    • Professor Gareth Thomas (University of Southampton)
    • Dr Kue Peng Lim (Cancer Research Malaysia)
  • Analysis of neo-antigens and immune profiles of Asian breast cancer patients, focusing on common germline deletion of APOBEC3B cytosine deaminase
    • Professor Carlos Caldas (University of Cambridge)
    • Professor Soo-Hwang Teo (Cancer Research Malaysia)​
  • Investigating anti-tumour T cell responses in nasopharyngeal carcinoma to refine vaccine-based immunotherapies
    • Professor Paul Murray (University of Birmingham)
    • Dr Lee-Fah Yap (University of Malaya)​
  • Gestational hyperglycaemia in Malaysia: early screening and intervention to improve outcomes of pregnancy
    • Dr Bee Kang Tan (University of Warwick)
    • Professor Siti Zawiah Omar (University of Malaya)
  • Diet, physical activity and cardiometabolic health in Malaysian adolescents: from epidemiology to interventions
    • Dr Laura Johnson (University of Bristol)
    • Professor Hazreen Abdul Majid (University of Malaya)​
  • Genetic, lipid and other risk factors in early-onset acute myocardial infarction in Malaysia.
    • Dr Rajiv Chowdhury (University of Cambridge)
    • Dr Mohd Fairulnizal Md Noh (Institute for Medical Research)
  • Population-based salt intake survey to support the national salt reduction programme for Malaysia
    • Dr Feng He (Queen Mary, University of London)
    • Dr Muhammad Fadhli Mohd Yusoff (Institute for Public Health, Malaysia)​
  • Translational development of oncolytic Newcastle Disease Virus for treatment of colorectal cancer
    • Professor Leonard Seymour (University of Oxford)
    • Professor Datin Paduka Dr Khatijah Mohd Yusoff FASc (Universiti Putra Malaysia)​
  • Promoting Awareness of Cancer and Early Detection (PACED) Initiative in Malaysia
    • Professor Michael Donnelly (Queen's University of Belfast)
    • Professor Tin Tin Su (University of Malaya)​
  • Development of polygenic risk scores for South East Asian populations to identify women at higher-risk of breast cancer
    • Dr Antonis Antoniou (University of Cambridge)
    • Dr Weang Kee Ho (University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus)​
  • Improving healthy energy balance- and obesity-related behaviours among preschoolers in Malaysia: feasibility of adapting the ToyBox-Study
    • Dr Edward Gibson (Roehampton University)
    • Professor Bee Koon Poh (Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia)​
  • The identification of genetic vulnerabilities in head and neck cancers for the development of novel therapies.
    • Dr Ultan McDermott (Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute)
    • Professor Dr. Cheong Sok Ching (Cancer Research Malaysia)


UK-Vietnam: Joint Health Research Call



The UK Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) of Vietnam are pleased to announce four research collaborations focusing on infectious diseases. These research projects address health areas of relevance to Vietnam, particularly those impacting the most vulnerable members of society. 

The successful applications awarded through this initiative are:

  • Assessing the impact and burden of antimicrobial resistance in Vietnam, genomic characterisation and rick factors related to antimicrobial resistance of common bacteria in Vietnam
    • UK PI – Professor Timothy Walsh (Cardiff University)
    • Vietnamese PI – Dr Tran Huy Hoang (National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology)
  • Understanding pharmacokinetic – pharmacodynamic determinants of outcome to inform dose optimisation for treatment failure and relapse non-MDR pulmonary tuberculosis patients
    • UK PI – Professor Giancarlo Biagini (Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine)
    • Vietnamese PI – Associate Professor Le Thi Luyen (School of Medicine and Pharmacy, Vietnam National University, Hanoi)
  • Whole-genome sequencing to investigate the prevalence and transmission of multidrug-resistant organisms in intensive care units in Hanoi, Vietnam
    • UK PI – Dr Estee Torok (University of Cambridge)
    • Vietnamese PI – Associate Professor Nguyen Van Kinh (National Hospital of Tropical Diseases)
  • Epidemiological features, national burden of HPV-related diseases in Vietnam
    • UK PI – Professor Kim Mulholland (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)
    • Vietnamese PI – Professor Dang Duc Anh (National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology)


UK-Indonesia: Joint Health Research Call

The MRC and the Dana Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia (DIPI) are pleased to announce that six research collaborations were awarded through the UK-Indonesia Joint Health Research Call on Infectious Diseases:

  • UK-Indonesian Consortium to Identify Biomarkers Predictive of Dengue Disease Severity.
    • Andrew Davidson (University of Bristol)
    • Beti Ernawati Dewi (Universitas Indonesia)
  • The Role of Complement Component C1Q in Tuberculosis and Diabetes Co-morbidity.
    • Jacqueline Cliff (London School of Hygiene and Trop Medicine)
    • Afiat Berbudi (Universitas Padjadjaran)
  • Development of serology diagnosis of chronic aspergillosis and histoplasmosis in Indonesia.
    • David Denning (University of Manchester)
    • Retno Wahyuningsih (Universitas Indonesia)
  • The prevalence and phenotype of hepatitis B virus vaccine escape variants propagated by mother to child transmission in Indonesia.
    • Brian Thomson (University of Nottingham)
    • Maisuri Chalid (Hasanuddin University)
  • The role of plasma membrane calcium ATPase 4 (PMCA4) in modulating Plasmodium infection and malaria severity.
    • Delvac Oceandy (University of Manchester)
    • Din Syafruddin (Eijkman Institute)
  • Transmission dynamics and molecular epidemiology of arboviruses in Indonesia.
    • Simon Frost (University of Cambridge)
    • Tedjo Sasmono (Eijkman Institute)