2009 – 2010
(POST GRADUATE GUIDE)
DEPARTMENT OF NEUROSCIENCES
SCHOOL OF MEDICAL SCIENCES
UNIVERSITI SAINS MALAYSIA
16150 KUBANG KERIAN
2009-2010 NEUROSCIENCES HANDBOOK
Table of Content: Page
Department Introduction and Directory 2
Training Philosophy 3
Training Program 4
General Neurosciences Program Requirements 5
Requirements for MSc and PhD 5
Financial Support 6
Research Integrity 6
Guidelines for Thesis Research 7
Neurosciences Laboratory Facilities 9
Useful Websites 11
Department Members and Contact 11
Current students 12
Alumni of the Neurosciences Program 14
The Department of Neurosciences of the School of Medical Sciences and
the Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia (HUSM) was established on the 17th
of August 2000 as a unit. It was upgraded on the 1st of May 2004 as a
specialist and research center for the management of patients as well as
offers graduate education and postdoctoral training in a wide range of
disciplines in modern neuroscience. The department hosts weekly
seminars, journal clubs, a social hour, and invites talented secondary
school students to participate neurosciences introduction courses every
year. This department is a collective of multidisciplinary researchers and
clinicians with a common goal of understanding the brain, spinal cord and
peripheral nerves in health and disease. Current thesis research
opportunities are available with more than 15 department members
/students working in areas such as neural stem cells, regeneration,
neurogenetics, regulation of neurotransmitter expression and
neurophysiology, synaptic physiology and plasticity, ion channel
biophysics and information processing, neuro-oncology, sleep disorder,
biomarkers, and neuro-behaviour.
The HUSM is located in Kubang Kerian, 6km from the Kota Bharu, the
capital town of Kelantan state. Kelantan is a state in a northeast cost of
Malaysia Peninsular and border with the southern Thailand on east side.
USM Healthy campus can be reached by:
1. From Kuala Lumpur : Malaysia Airline System (MAS) from KLIA to
Kota Bharu Airport (15 minute to campus with taxi).
2. From Kuala Lumpur: Air Asia from LCCT to Kota Bharu Airport.
3. From Penang / Subang: Firefly to Kota Bharu Airport.
Bus: Intercity Express from anywhere in Malaysia Peninsular to Kota Bharu
Town. The campus is 20 minute from the town.
Accommodation: International House is prepared in USM Health Campus
and can be contacted at 09-7665065 (Puan Asyikin).
Please post your application to:
The Head of Department of Neurosciences
School of Medical Sciences/Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia
Jalan Sultanah Zainab II
16150 Kubang Kerian Kelantan, Malaysia
Tel : 006 09 7664240 Fax: 006 09 7648613
The objectives of the Department of Neurosciences are to provide:
1. State of the art care for the patients with neurological diseases
2. A center of excellence for postgraduate training in neurology, surgical
neurology as well as applied and fundamental neurosciences
3. Center for clinical, applied and basic sciences research in
4. New biotechnological advances in the diagnosis of neurological
The Department of Neurosciences acts as a regional referral centre for
neurological disorders and has achieved international reputation in both
clinical and research work.
Graduate education in Neurosciences at School of Medical Sciences/
Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia addresses many aspects of the science
profession, and involves formal and informal interactions and research
"The Doctor of Philosophy degree is the highest academic degree granted
by Universiti Sains Malaysia. It is a research degree and is to be
distinguished from other doctorates which are designed for professional
training or which focus on applied rather than basic research. The Doctor
of Philosophy degree is designed to prepare a student to become a
scholar, that is, to discover, integrate and apply knowledge, as well as
communicate and disseminate it. The program emphasizes the
development of the student's capacity to make significant original
contribution to knowledge in a context of freedom of inquiry and
Neuroscientists today require many skills to succeed in a competitive
environment. Our Neuroscience students can expect training in:
1) Scientific excellence, with close interactions with faculty advisors
leading to an understanding of problem-solving, critical analysis of data
and modern technical approaches.
2) Communication skills, including practice and advice in the analysis of
contemporary literature, grantsmanship, and oral presentations.
3) Ethics, to make complex decisions on authorship, data handling, and
Journal Clubs and Squire Seminars.
Journal clubs and seminars offer an opportunity to learn about broad areas
of Neuroscience, and form an important part of graduate training. All
students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty are expected to attend both the
Journal Club Thursday at noon (unless otherwise specified). Students are
strongly encouraged to actively participate by asking questions at
seminars and journal clubs. Puan Mazira Ghazali (Senior Science Officer)
will organize the seminar schedule and Dr. Aziz Yusoff, the Head of the
Neurosciences Lab of the Department of Neurosciences will organize the
journal club calendar and topics.
To gain oral presentation skills, students and postdoctoral fellows should
make presentations to the community according to scheduled of
presentation rotation among students. Students have to present a current
research article from a prominent journal. Participants offer constructive
question and criticism to the student directly following the presentation.
Postdoctoral fellows and experienced students usually present their
research work with relevant background and significance, but may opt to
do a journal club.
Brain Science Lectures Series
It is a program to expose students to wide branches of neurosciences and
research undertaken conducted by invited lecturer or neuroscientist
abroad. Students and postdoctoral fellows are encouraged to attend and
meet with visiting speakers at lunch following the noon seminar. This is a
good opportunity to practice talking about science in a concise, interesting
way. Further, it offers a means to get to know the speaker, his/her
institution and to discuss scientific strategies or collaborations. A student or
postdoc should expect to meet with at least 4 speakers a year.
Student-sponsored departmental speaker.
One speaker a year is selected and sponsored by the graduate students in
the Department. The visiting speaker is honoured by this distinction and is
very accessible to students during the visit. Faculty input about candidates
is encouraged to ensure that "student-friendly" speakers are selected.
Students create the schedule for the speaker, arrange lunch with students
and postdocs, introduce the speaker at the seminar, and create a
department-sponsored dinner with the speaker.
Attending national meetings.
Students are encouraged to present their work at national meetings once a
year. The most appropriate meetings may be the National Conference of
Medical Sciences, USM, Malaysia Society for Neuroscience, International
Brain Research Organization (IBRO), Society for Neuroscience (SFN) or
other international neurosciences meeting. Students should compete for
individual travel grants as well as funds from training grants such as those
provided by the RIKEN summer school programmes.
GENERAL NEUROSCIENCES REQUIREMENT PROGRAM
It is the responsibility of the student to become familiar with the general
rules and regulations of the University as well as the specific rules which
apply for the course of study in Neuroscience (this document).
The Neurosciences Graduate Program Advisor (GPA) is
Prof Dr Jafri Malin Abdullah
The Graduate Program Advisor oversees graduate training in the
Neurosciences Program. The GPA is available to discuss progress and
provide advice on course selection. The GPA also coordinates student
activities and serves as a student advocate should difficulties arise.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MSc AND PHD:
Neuroscience is an interdisciplinary program offering MSc and Phd
degrees. The MSc by research in Neurosciences is a maximum 36-month,
full-time course suitable for graduates in biological sciences, chemistry
sciences, physical sciences, biomedicine, biotechnology, mathematical,
engineering, veterinary or computer sciences who wish to make career in
Our graduates from the MSc course may pursue further studies towards a
Phd on a Neurosciences based thesis after approval from the University
Senate. Phd courses are from 4 years to a maximum of 8 (part time) years
focused on applied for fundamental theories of neurosciences. It is
important to note that 3 papers are necessary to be published for MSc and
6 papers for Phd respectively prior to defence of thesis (papers in
proceedings, abstracts in journal and full papers with international
The research interests of the department include:
1. The cellular mechanisms underlying neurological diseases of the
bottom billions such as traumatic brain and spine injury, dengue
haemorrhagic fever, virus as well as bacterial infections of the
central nervous system, epilepsy and strokes.
2. Strategies to limit and even repair damage to the brain and spinal
cord caused by traumatic injury, ischemia, or stroke.
3. The detail molecular mechanisms underlying the expression and
function of ion channel and neurotransmitter receptors.
4. The mechanisms of learning and memory in the field of cognitive
and behavioural neurosciences.
5. The development of the nervous system, including signal
transduction, tumorigenesis, and cells communication.
This diversity of research interests in reflected in the training opportunities
open to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.
To be considered for admission to the graduate program, applicants must
a Bachelor's degree in science or equivalent as well as art degrees
a grade point of 3.0 or above (out of 4.0)
a strong quantitative background
Individual Predoctoral Support.
Once accepted, graduate students who train with Neurosciences
Department are encourage to apply for financial support. Stipend support
may derive from government scholarship, department individual research
grants, federal and private research grants and university resources.
It is highly advantageous for students to successfully compete for
individual grant support from extramural sources, and the department
strongly encourages such applications. Neuroscience students have been
successful in obtaining National Science Fellowships (NSF) from the
Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), please see
http://www.mosti.gov.my and the Institute Of Graduates Study (IPS USM),
please see http://www.ips.usm.my. Note that several agencies require
applications early in graduate training. The Institutes of Postgraduate
Studies (IPS) usually maintains a list of graduate funding opportunities.
Students should carefully attribute material generated by others. “As a
general working definition, the Vice Chancellor’s Office considers
plagiarism to include both the theft or misappropriation of intellectual
property and the substantial unattributed textual copying of another’s
work. It does not include authorship or credit disputes. Substantial
unattributed textual copying of another’s work means the unattributed
verbatim or nearly verbatim copying of sentences and paragraphs which
materially mislead the ordinary reader regarding the contributions of the
GUIDELINES FOR THESIS RESEARCH
A. Goals for Graduate Students:
Students must strive to develop with the advisor a research project that
yields a coherent and original body of work.
The thesis must be written in a scholarly manner with a detailed historical
introduction and a critical discussion.
The first draft of the thesis must be the original and individual effort of the
student. The draft submitted to the Thesis Committee should be a polished
document developed in consultation with the mentor.
In general, the thesis research should utilize more than one technical
In the thesis document, thesis seminar, and thesis defence, the student
should demonstrate that he/she has become an expert in the field of
By the time of the thesis examination, the student should have submitted for
publication at least one peer reviewed experimentally based manuscript
on which he/she is the first author and have completed a body of work that
the student's committee judges will lead to a second manuscript, and a
draft of the second manuscript should be completed. The first draft of all
manuscripts should be written by the student.
During the course of study, students should present their data at, at least
one national meeting.
B. Goals for the Training Faculty:
Training faculty of Ph.D. students must be active participants in the
Neurosciences Program and contribute to courses, collaborative research
projects and/or journal clubs. The program periodically reviews faculty for
training status, and faculty who have been inactive will be declined.
The thesis advisor must provide the student with intensive training in the
scientific method, including the ability formulate clear research questions,
develop feasible research approaches to answering such questions,
evaluate data from the student’s own research and that of others, and
discuss the broad context and significance of the student’s work.
The thesis advisor, in conjunction with the Thesis Committee, is
responsible for developing and implementing a training plan with the
student, including the elaboration of an independent research project.
The thesis advisor is responsible for providing physical, financial, and
intellectual resources necessary for accomplishing the research plan.
The thesis advisor should work regularly with the student to develop good
communication skills, in both speaking and writing.
The thesis advisor should encourage the student to think broadly about the
research project and not necessarily be limited to approaches/techniques
currently used in the advisor’s laboratory.
All candidates for the PhD degree must submit a written dissertation as
evidence of their ability to conduct independent research at an advanced
level. The dissertation must represent a significant and original
contribution to existing knowledge in the student's field.
At least twelve months before the student anticipates PhD completion, a
thesis committee meeting should be held to discuss whether the student's
progress toward the degree is sufficient. The committee should agree at
that time to the format of the thesis. It is in a student's interest to submit any
manuscripts before leaving the University, because once a postdoctoral
position is begun, other concerns arise. Because many students have
published manuscripts on their studies, the thesis often reflects that work
as chapters, placed in context with a general Introduction, and a
Discussion that considers the relevance of the studies. The form of the
thesis is not proscribed by the department, but is arrived at by the student
and thesis committee. Examples of Neuroscience graduate theses are in
the Neuroscience library. Detailed regulations concerning format, quality,
time of submission and oral defence are established by the Dean of
Graduate Studies and Research, and instructions are available from the
Office of Graduate Studies.
Neuroscience researches can be divided following the chart (Appendix 1).
The statistical analysis of the research findings is a critical component to
determine the significance of the study. In this particular topic, it is
compulsory to student to attend the Basic Statistical Course organize by
school. The student should also meet the bio-statistician to confirm their
study design or analysis. The statisticians available in the campus are Prof
Dr Syed Hatim Noor and Dr Mohd Fadhli Bin Khamis (Ext:3692).
We provided a teaching and research laboratory with clean room class
P1000 as well as class P100 for the students. In order to accomplish our
long range-goals in neuroscience research, we are equipped with:
Confocal Laser Scanning Microscope
- Carl Zeiss LSM 5 Pascal
- Carl Zeiss, Microlaser Tech, PALM Microbeam Version 1104Z
Oocyte Recording Chamber
- Carl Zeiss Model 303294-9903
Fluorescence Stereo Microscope
- Carl Zeiss Lumar V12
- Nikon SMZ1000
- Carl Zeiss Axiovert 40C
Drug Screening Tool
- Tecan Robot Screening System
Animal Behaviour System
- Modular Operant Behaviour Model LE1005
- IR Actimeter Locomotor detection model LE8811
- Any-Maze and T-maze
- Active and Passive Avoidance Model H10-11R-XX-SF
- Morris Water Maze (PanLab)
- Rotational Behaviour (PanLab)
Patch Clamp System
- NPI PTC-20, SEC-10LX, ISO-Stim 01D
- Nikon Microscope Model ECLIPSE FN1
- Burleigh PCS-6000 Motorised Micromanipulator
- Micro-g Anti-vibration Table
- Gibraltar Platform with Motorised X-Y Stage
EEG machine for the rat
- DSI, PhysioTel (receiver Model RPC-1)
- Stoelting, USA
- Harlan M20- UK Model DWG-476 B
- Applied Biosystems (ABI PRISM 300 Genetic Analyzer) USA
Gel Image Analyzer
- Alpha Innotech Imager HP
- Leica Microscope DMRA2 and Sever System Model Net Server
Traumatic Injuri Model Device
- Rat Brain Injury Device, DragonFlyInc Model HDP-1700
- Spinal Cord Injury Device
High Content Cell Screening
- Cellomix vHCS with CellworX High Content Cell Analysis System
64 channel Electroencephalography and Event Related Potential Machine
- EGi (USA)
Magneto-encephalography (MEG) System
- Elekta Neuromag, Sweden
Freezer: -80°C and -20°C
Refrigerated Centrifuges: Eppendorf 5417R
Water Purification System: Sartorius
Microtome: MICROM GmbH Model HM650V
Micropipette Puller: Sutler Instrument Model P-97
Autoclave: Hirayama, HVE-50
Chilling Incubator: ECHOtherm, Torrey Pines Scientific
Biohazard : NuAir
Water Distiller Model WCM4L
Universiti Sains Malaysia: http://www.usm.my
School of Medical Sciences: http://www.medic.usm.my
Health Campus of Universiti Sains Malaysia: http://www.kk.usm.my
Institute of Post Graduates Study: http://www.ips.usm.my
DEPARTMENT MEMBERS AND CONTACT
1. Prof Dr Jafri Malin Abdullah PhD: email@example.com
2. Prof Madya Dr Hillol Kanti Pal: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Prof Dr John Tharakan: Jtbt7@hotmail.com
4. Dr Abd Rahman Izaini Ghani: email@example.com
5. Dr Zamzuri Idris: firstname.lastname@example.org
6. Dr Sani Sayuti: email@example.com
7. Dr Mohd Saufi Awang: firstname.lastname@example.org
8. Dr Badrisyah Idris: email@example.com
9. Dr Abd Aziz Yusoff : firstname.lastname@example.org
10.Mdm Maria Socorro Pieter : email@example.com
11.Dr Raj Kumar
1. Prof Dr Zabidi Azhar Hussin : firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Prof Dr Suhaimi Sidek : email@example.com
3. Prof Madya Dr Hasnan Jaafar : firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Dr Win Mar @ Salmah : email@example.com
5. Dr Che Badariah Abdul Aziz : firstname.lastname@example.org
6. Dr Nizar Abdul Jalil : email@example.com
7. Dr Wan Nazaruddin Wan Hassan : firstname.lastname@example.org
8. Dr Salmi Abdul Razak : email@example.com
1. Puan Mazira Mohd Ghazali: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Hazim Omar: email@example.com
1. Wan Nor Azlen Wan Mohamed :firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Affandi Hussien : email@example.com
1. Mohd Azlin bin Ismail : firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Azza Husna Ahmad Satar : email@example.com
3. Nur- Leem Murshid : firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Mohd Zulkifli Mustafa (DVM) – PhD year 2
Project Details: In vitro and In Vivo Studies Of Newcastle Diseases
virus Strain AF2240 and V4UPM on Experimental
human malignant glioma with molecular and
Ku Asmarina Ku Ahmad – MSc year 3
Project Details: Role of Matrix Metalloproteinase 3 and apoptosis
gene Bax in brain tumor.
Mohd Harizal Senik – MSc year 3
Project Details: Effect of Mitragyna Speciosa Korth extract of phycho-
activity on rat hippocampus.
Mohd Nasir Mohd Noor – MSc year 3
Project Details: Effect of Centella Asiatica extract of phycho-activity
on rat hippocampus.
Mohd Azim Patar – MSc year 3
Project Details: Evaluation of 2 species of sea cucumber extract on
regenerating astrocytes after mechanically induced
injury of basal ganglia.
Ahmad Tarmizi Che Has – Msc year 2
Project Details: Comparison of antiepilepric effect acting on
GABA (A) receptor from Zizypus Mauritiana and
Raisah Ab Hadi – MSc year 2
Project Details: Characterization of development stage and neural
differentiation potential of rat stem cell from striatal
tissue and bone marrow.
Nor Entan Supeno – MSc year 1
Project Details: Proliferation, apoptosis and telomerase activity
study of embryonic striatal stem cell culture under
the influence of growth factors.
Mohd ‘Ulul ‘Ilmie b Ahmad Nazri – MSc year 1
Project Details: The behavioural, antiepileptic and electro-
physiological effect of metragyna speciosa on
epileptic rat model
Siti Zawani Md Ramli – MSc year 1
Project Details: The study of Boris protein in Brain tumor clinical
Shazrina Shazrin – MSc year 1
Project Details: Encapsulation Study of Dopamine using
Zarif Mohamed Sofian – MSc year 1
Project Details: Study of Cyclodextrin as a biodegradable drug
delivery system and cyclodextrin-vancomysin
complexes controlled release.
Emmilia Husni Tan – MSc year 1
Project Details: Genetic studies in Generalized Epilepsy (Mutation
on SCNIA, encoding a neuronal sodium channel, in
a epileptic patients in HUSM Kelantan.
Nurul Haffiza Mahamed Razani– MSc year 1
Project Details: Monitoring the effect of Oxygen therapy on
pathophysiology and gene expression of TBI in rat
Siti Nor Hajah Hasyim – MSc year 1
Project Details: Sleep Study in epilepsy: A questionnaire and
Khairol Naaim Mohd Nasir – MSc year 1
Project Details: Mitochondrial alteration analysis of brain tumor
Encik Affandi Hussein – MSc year 1 (part time)
Project Details: Spectrographic Analysis of vowels production
among post stroke patients
Puan Mazira Mohd Ghazali– MSc year 3 (part time)
Project Details: Biochemical Analysis of An Apolipoprotein E in
Hazim Omar– MSc year 1 (part time)
Project Details: Baseline EEG: Challenger For The Novice ERP
Muhammad Hafiznur Yunus
Mohd Hafiz Mail
Mohd Nazrul Anuar Ali
Faizul Rahman Sjafri
Alumni of the Neurosciences Program
Dr Abd Aziz Mohamed – MSc USM – PhD Newcastle UK - Completed
Current Post: Lecturer, Department of Neurosciences USM ext:4908
Dr Sarina Sulong – MSc USM – PhD Newcastle UK - Completed
Current Post: Lecturer, Human Genome Centre, USM ext: 4151
Norafiza Zainuddin – MSc USM, PhD Sweeden – On-going
Farizan Ahmad – MSc (Neuroscience), USM – PhD Kuppio, Finland -