Academician Datuk Professor Dr Lai-Meng Looi is Malaysia’s inaugural National Distinguished Professor, positioned at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya (UM) in Kuala Lumpur. She holds a concurrent appointment as senior consultant histopathologist at the University of Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC). Professor Looi studied medicine as a Malaysian Federal Scholar at the University of Singapore (1970-1975), where she was a medalist in Pathology and Social Medicine, and won the King Edward VII Hall awards for literary works, art forms and poetry. She trained in Surgical Pathology at UM, Royal Postgraduate Medical School (UK) and Brigham and Woman’s Hospital, Boston, (USA) and defended her research doctorate (on amyloidosis) at UM. She assumed the Chair of Pathology, UM at the age of 36 years and during her long academic career at UM has served as Department Head, Deputy Dean (Postgraduate), Chair of the Medical Centre Research Committee, representative to the Malaysian Medical Council Chair and Chair of the Medical Advisory Committee of UMMC. She continues to chair the Medical Research Ethics Committee/ Institutional Review Board and UM’s Committee for External Academic Evaluators (Science). She has more than 190 peer-reviewed publications on amyloidosis, nephropathology and oncopathology, is devoted to promoting a research and ethical culture among researchers, has delivered >400 guest lectures and regularly conducts scientific writing workshops nationally and internationally.
Professor Looi is a Foundation Fellow and Academician of the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) and has served as Chief Censor and Scribe of the Academy of Medicine Malaysia. She is Editor-in-Chief of the Malaysian Journal of Pathology, has served on the International Editorial Advisory Boards of Pathology, Journal of Pathology, Human Pathology and Histopathology, is Founding Vice-President of the Association of Malaysian Medical Journal Editors (AMMJE), and chairs the Ethics and Editorial Policies Committee of Asia-Pacific Association of Medical Editors (APAME). A Fellow of both Royal Colleges of Pathologists, UK (RCPath) and Australasia (RCPA), she served as Examiner and Advisor to both. She is the Founding President of the College of Pathologists, Academy of Medicine Malaysia, and was instrumental in developing pathology laboratory accreditation for Malaysia, the Pathology Act and several National guidelines on medical laboratory practices. In 2010 she was honoured RCPA Distinguished Fellow and Inaugural National Distinguished Professor (Profesor Ulung Negara). She co-chaired the InterAcademy Medical Panel (now the InterAcademy Partnership for Health) for two elected terms (2010-2016) and current represents ASM in its Executive Committee. She was President of the World Association of Societies of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (WASPaLM) from 2013-2016, and continues to Chair its Education Committee which focusses on capacity-building in countries-in-need. In 2015, she was awarded the Gold-Headed Cane, the highest honour from WASPaLM, for outstanding leadership. For her contributions to education and medical science, the King of Malaysia conferred her the Panglima Jasa Negara (PJN) with the title “Datuk” in 2011. A recipient of the National Science Award and ASEAN Outstanding Scientist and Technologist Award, she was recently (August 2016) conferred the Merdeka Award 2016 (Health, Science and Technology category) for “outstanding contribution in pioneering research in amyloidosis, renal pathology and cancer pathology and for significant contributions and role in promoting the field of pathology in Malaysia and the region.”