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Personal profile

Personal profile

Dr Lee Learn-Han is a Professor of Life Science and Healthcare at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China since 2024.  He is also the Director of the prestigious Asia Pacific Microbiome and Biomedical Research Network (AMBeR). He believes that teaching and research allow him to fulfill an essential responsibility as molecular biology and medical microbiology scientist. Dr Lee ranked among the Clarivate Highly Cited Researchers 2023 and World Top 2% Scientist in 2021, 2022 & 2023 by Stanford University (Elsevier Scopus Database), clearly demonstrating his research impact on the global stage. Furthermore, Dr Lee is certified by the Malaysia Board of Technologist as the prestigious Professional Technologist (Ts) and Graduate Technologist. His leadership and achievements in studying foodborne multidrug-resistant pathogens have led to top international recognition, evidenced by the invitation by the US-FDA as the sole Malaysian Principal Investigator to collaborate on the genetic study of foodborne pathogens from Malaysia since 2017. Collaboration with top US-FDA scientists will contribute to generating high-quality research and engagement for the institution and the country.

His passion, leadership, and achievements in research and education have been recognized as the best Medical Science researcher in Malaysia in 2018, as the sole recipient of Malaysia’s Research Star Award (MRSA) Winner 2018 – High Impact Paper Medical Science category. Also, he received the award of the Top Research Scientists Malaysia (TRSM) from the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) in 2022. He is elected as the Fellow of ASEAN Academy of Engineering and Technology (FAAET), Fellow of Malaysian Scientific Association (FMSA), and the Fellow of Linnean Society of London (FLS, UK). He is recognized by the Professional Registers as a Chartered Biologist from the Royal Society of Biology, UK, in 2017, recognizing his impactful contribution to the development of Biology globally. In 2020, Dr Lee was awarded the Excellent Contribution Award 2019 (Feb 2020) from the University of Phayao (UP), Thailand, to recognize his significant research and education contributions to the UP and regionally.

Appointment as assessment panel showed Dr Lee’s education leadership role as the prominent assessment panel (specialist fields) for accreditation of the entire Bachelor Program of Genetics at University Malaya (UM) in Feb 2017. Nomination by UM, Malaysia’s best public university with QS ranking of 70, depicted his education leadership role nationally in Genetics. As an assessment panel, his report was valuable in improving the program, directly contributing to increasing UM graduates' quality to strengthen Malaysia's science and technology development. His expertise is recognized globally with the appointment as an expert external international grant reviewer for Vienna Science and Technology Fund (Austria) in 2021 and the Estonian Research Council (2020 and 2021) in Life Sciences, Research Grant Council of Hong Kong (2022), UK Medical Research Council (UKRI) in 2023/2024.

In conclusion, Dr Lee’s excellent inputs and outputs in research, education, and engagement have directly contributed to the high standard of tertiary education at UNNC. As a passionate researcher, to date, he has published >280 articles with cumulative citations of 14038, H-index of 60, and i10-index of 192. In addition, he served as PI or co-PI for >30 grants totaling >RM4 million. Also, he has supervised 14 PhD students to completion and currently supervising 11 PhD students. Thus, directly contributing to excellent education and learning, and capital development.

Research Interests

Dr Lee’s core research focuses on studying “bad” microbes (e.g. SalmonellaVibrios, MRSA) and how they make people sick while suggesting better detection and management options. Also, he discovers novel “good” microbes (e.g. Actinobacteria) for various drug discovery purposes (e.g., inhibiting "bad" microbes). He is also interested in the area of how the microbiome affects human health. Such as the investigation into the roles of the microbiome in mental health, aging, sepsis, cancer, and autoimmune diseases.

Dr Lee’s expertise in Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) and foodborne pathogens research is recognized by the US-FDA, evidenced by invitation from US-FDA as an invited speaker for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Food Safety Cooperation Forum (FSCF) Phase 2 workshop for food safety experts and policymakers, entitled “How WGS has revolutionized food safety: from environmental sampling to foodborne disease prevention, response, and mitigation”, 2022 September 14th and 15th in the Western Hemisphere / 2022 September 15th and 16th in the Eastern Hemisphere (20:00-23:00 Washington, D.C. / 8:00-11:00 Beijing / 10:00-13:00 Canberra). Dr Lee was the sole speaker from Malaysia and Monash, presented the topic entitled “The application of WGS for environmental sampling to better understand the natural variation of foodborne organisms in the environment - Correlation between certain genetic lineages (of E. coli, for instance) and specific products” for this prestigious international APEC event.

In 2023, Dr Lee was once again selected as a top Malaysian scientific expert to speak on the cutting-edge topic of Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) research on foodborne pathogens in Malaysia at the highly prestigious event “Food Safety Cooperation Forum (FSCF) Partnership Training Institute Network (PTIN) WGS and Laboratory Capacity Building of Environmental Testing for Foodborne Pathogens Workshop 2023 (Phase 3)”, held at Detroit, Michigan, organised by Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), 17 May 2023This remarkable achievement is a testament to Dr Lee's outstanding expertise and contributions in the field. At this event, the APEC committee requested him to speak on the topic of “How have I already shared the WGS knowledge gained in my home economy? How do I intend to share the WGS knowledge gained in my home economy in the near and long-term?”. The talk was highly commended by the audience, and the organizer, and was followed by an engaging and lively discussion during the Q&A.

From 2012 till 2023, Dr Lee contributed significantly as an academic at Monash University Malaysia. Dr Lee’s research leadership was evidenced as the Founder and Principal Investigator for Novel Bacteria and Drug Discovery Research Group (NBDD) since 2016. He also established a new research strength, “Microbiome and Bioresource Research Strength (MBRS)” in Dec 2018. Under his leadership, MBRS has developed high-standard collaborations with reputable institutions to strengthen research inputs and outputs of the school and campus, with an average of ~20 high-quality ISI articles published yearly. He ranks as the highest cited Microbial Taxonomy and Multidrug-Resistant Pathogens expert worldwide (Google Scholar), strongly indicating his research impact globally in these areas.  In honor of Malaysia and Monash, Dr Lee published and named novel bacterial after Malaysia and Monash, namely “Streptomyces malaysiense”, “Monashia flava”, and “Streptomyces monashensis”. He enabled Malaysia and Monash to have their own microbes that showed massive drug discovery potential that could benefit the local and international community, thus generating value for Monash and Malaysia by putting Malaysia and Monash's name on the World Atlas of bacteria.

In recognition of his research expertise, Dr Lee is serving as Chief Editor (Progress in Microbes and Molecular Biology), Section Editor [Current Gene Therapy], Associate Editor [Scientific Report, Frontiers in Microbiology, Microorganisms] for various reputable journals. He has reviewed more than 250 manuscripts submitted to 80 different ISI journals [e.g., Medicinal Research Reviews, Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, Clinical and Translational Medicine, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, Gut Microbes, etc].

Dr Lee highly welcomes collaboration initiatives with researchers globally in the research areas mentioned above.

Keywords: Actinobacteria, Microbiome, Metagenomic, Microbial Systematics, Microbial Taxonomy, Multidrug-Resistant Pathogens, Drug Discovery, Food Safety, Cancers, Medical Microbiology, Microbial Genetics


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