Kuala Selangor, Malaysia
Kuala Selangor, Malaysia

The National University of Malaysia Pusat Perubatan Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia is located in Cheras and also has a branch campus in Kuala Lumpur. There are 17,500 undergraduate students enrolled, and 5,105 postgraduate students of which 1368 are foreign students from 35 countries.Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia is one of five research universities in the country. It was ranked number 259th in the world by QS World University Rankings in 2014. It is ranked 98th place in the 100 best new universities established within the last 50 years in the world. It is the only university from Malaysia that made it in the 2012 Quacquarelli Symonds Top 50 Universities Under 50 Years Old list ranked in the 31st place. It placed 53rd and 58th in the QS Top 500 Asian University Rankings in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Wikipedia.

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Hatamlou A.,Islamic Azad University at Khoy | Hatamlou A.,National University of Malaysia
Information Sciences | Year: 2013

Nature has always been a source of inspiration. Over the last few decades, it has stimulated many successful algorithms and computational tools for dealing with complex and optimization problems. This paper proposes a new heuristic algorithm that is inspired by the black hole phenomenon. Similar to other population-based algorithms, the black hole algorithm (BH) starts with an initial population of candidate solutions to an optimization problem and an objective function that is calculated for them. At each iteration of the black hole algorithm, the best candidate is selected to be the black hole, which then starts pulling other candidates around it, called stars. If a star gets too close to the black hole, it will be swallowed by the black hole and is gone forever. In such a case, a new star (candidate solution) is randomly generated and placed in the search space and starts a new search. To evaluate the performance of the black hole algorithm, it is applied to solve the clustering problem, which is a NP-hard problem. The experimental results show that the proposed black hole algorithm outperforms other traditional heuristic algorithms for several benchmark datasets. © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Agency: GTR | Branch: NERC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 1.30M | Year: 2013

Anthropogenic disturbance and land-use change in the tropics is leading to irrevocable changes in biodiversity and substantial shifts in ecosystem biogeochemistry. Yet, we still have a poor understanding of how human-driven changes in biodiversity feed back to alter biogeochemical processes. This knowledge gap substantially restricts our ability to model and predict the response of tropical ecosystems to current and future environmental change. There are a number of critical challenges to our understanding of how changes in biodiversity may alter ecosystem processes in the tropics; namely: (i) how the high taxonomic diversity of the tropics is linked to ecosystem functioning, (ii) how changes in the interactions among trophic levels and taxonomic groups following disturbance impacts upon functional diversity and biogeochemistry, and (iii) how plot-level measurements can be used to scale to whole landscapes. We have formed a consortium to address these critical challenges to launch a large-scale, replicated, and fully integrated study that brings together a multi-disciplinary team with the skills and expertise to study the necessary taxonomic and trophic groups, different biogeochemical processes, and the complex interactions amongst them. To understand and quantify the effects of land-use change on the activity of focal biodiversity groups and how this impacts biogeochemistry, we will: (i) analyse pre-existing data on distributions of focal biodiversity groups; (ii) sample the landscape-scale treatments at the Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems (SAFE) Project site (treatments include forest degradation, fragmentation, oil palm conversion) and key auxiliary sites (Maliau Basin - old growth on infertile soils, Lambir Hills - old growth on fertile soils, Sabah Biodiversity Experiment - rehabilitated forest, INFAPRO-FACE - rehabilitated forest); and (iii) implement new experiments that manipulate key components of biodiversity and pathways of belowground carbon flux. The manipulations will focus on trees and lianas, mycorrhizal fungi, termites and ants, because these organisms are the likely agents of change for biogeochemical cycling in human-modified tropical forests. We will use a combination of cutting-edge techniques to test how these target groups of organisms interact each other to affect biogeochemical cycling. We will additionally collate and analyse archived data on other taxa, including vertebrates of conservation concern. The key unifying concept is the recognition that so-called functional traits play a key role in linking taxonomic diversity to ecosystem function. We will focus on identifying key functional traits associated with plants, and how they vary in abundance along the disturbance gradient at SAFE. In particular, we propose that leaf functional traits (e.g. physical and chemical recalcitrance, nitrogen content, etc.) play a pivotal role in determining key ecosystem processes and also strongly influence atmospheric composition. Critically, cutting-edge airborne remote sensing techniques suggest it is possible to map leaf functional traits, chemistry and physiology at landscape-scales, and so we will use these novel airborne methods to quantify landscape-scale patterns of forest degradation, canopy structure, biogeochemical cycling and tree distributions. Process-based mathematical models will then be linked to the remote sensing imagery and ground-based measurements of functional diversity and biogeochemical cycling to upscale our findings over disturbance gradients.

Siow K.S.,National University of Malaysia
Journal of Electronic Materials | Year: 2014

Silver (Ag) has been under development for use as interconnect material for power electronics packaging since the late 1980s. Despite its long development history, high thermal and electrical conductivities, and lead-free composition, sintered Ag technology has limited market penetration. This review sets out to explore what is required to make this technology more viable. This review also covers the origin of sintered Ag, the different types and application methods of sintered Ag pastes and laminates, and the long-term reliability of sintered Ag joints. Sintered Ag pastes are classified according to whether pressure is required for sintering and further classified according to their filler sizes. This review discusses the main methods of applying Ag pastes/laminates as die-attach materials and the related processing conditions. The long-term reliability of sintered Ag joints depends on the density of the sintered joint, selection of metallization or plating schemes, types of substrates, substrate roughness, formulation of Ag pastes/laminates, joint configurations (i.e., joint thicknesses and die sizes), and testing conditions. This paper identifies four challenges that must be overcome for the proliferation of sintered Ag technology: changes in materials formulation, the successful navigation of the complex patent landscape, the availability of production and inspection equipment, and the health concerns of Ag nanoparticles. This paper is expected to be useful to materials suppliers and semiconductor companies that are considering this technology for their future packages. © 2014 TMS.

Chowdhury R.H.,National University of Malaysia
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland) | Year: 2013

Electromyography (EMG) signals are becoming increasingly important in many applications, including clinical/biomedical, prosthesis or rehabilitation devices, human machine interactions, and more. However, noisy EMG signals are the major hurdles to be overcome in order to achieve improved performance in the above applications. Detection, processing and classification analysis in electromyography (EMG) is very desirable because it allows a more standardized and precise evaluation of the neurophysiological, rehabitational and assistive technological findings. This paper reviews two prominent areas; first: the pre-processing method for eliminating possible artifacts via appropriate preparation at the time of recording EMG signals, and second: a brief explanation of the different methods for processing and classifying EMG signals. This study then compares the numerous methods of analyzing EMG signals, in terms of their performance. The crux of this paper is to review the most recent developments and research studies related to the issues mentioned above.

Jie Y.,National University of Malaysia
Reviews of environmental contamination and toxicology | Year: 2013

In this review, our aim was to examine the influence of geographic variations on asthma prevalence and morbidity among adults, which is important for improving our understanding, identifying the burden, and for developing and implementing interventions aimed at reducing asthma morbidity. Asthma is a complex inflammatory disease of multifactorial origin, and is influenced by both environmental and genetic factors. The disparities in asthma prevalence and morbidity among the world's geographic locations are more likely to be associated with environmental exposures than genetic differences. In writing this article, we found that the indoor factors most consistently associated with asthma and asthma-related symptoms in adults included fuel combustion, mold growth, and environmental tobacco smoke in both urban and rural areas. Asthma and asthma-related symptoms occurred more frequently in urban than in rural areas, and that difference correlated with environmental risk exposures, SES, and healthcare access. Environmental risk factors to which urban adults were more frequently exposed than rural adults were dust mites,high levels of vehicle emissions, and a westernized lifestyle.Exposure to indoor biological contaminants in the urban environment is common.The main risk factors for developing asthma in urban areas are atopy and allergy to house dust mites, followed by allergens from animal dander. House dust mite exposure may potentially explain differences in diagnosis of asthma prevalence and morbidity among adults in urban vs. rural areas. In addition, the prevalence of asthma morbidity increases with urbanization. High levels of vehicle emissions,Western lifestyles and degree of urbanization itself, may affect outdoor and thereby indoor air quality. In urban areas, biomass fuels have been widely replaced by cleaner energy sources at home, such as gas and electricity, but in most developing countries, coal is still a major source of fuel for cooking and heating, particularly in winter. Moreover, exposure to ETS is common at home or at work in urban areas.There is evidence that asthma prevalence and morbidity is less common in rural than in urban areas. The possible reasons are that rural residents are exposed early in life to stables and to farm milk production, and such exposures are protective against developing asthma morbidity. Even so, asthma morbidity is disproportionately high among poor inner-city residents and in rural populations. A higher proportion of adult residents of nonmetropolitan areas were characterized as follows:aged 55 years or older, no previous college admission, low household income, no health insurance coverage, and could not see a doctor due to healthcare service availability, etc. In rural areas, biomass fuels meet more than 70% of the rural energy needs. Progress in adopting modern energy sources in rural areas has been slow. The most direct health impact comes from household energy use among the poor, who depend almost entirely on burning biomass fuels in simple cooking devices that are placed in inadequately ventilated spaces. Prospective studies are needed to assess the long-term effects of biomass smoke on lung health among adults in rural areas.Geographic differences in asthma susceptibility exist around the world. The reason for the differences in asthma prevalence in rural and urban areas may be due to the fact that populations have different lifestyles and cultures, as well as different environmental exposures and different genetic backgrounds. Identifying geographic disparities in asthma hospitalizations is critical to implementing prevention strategies,reducing morbidity, and improving healthcare financing for clinical asthma treatment. Although evidence shows that differences in the prevalence of asthma do exist between urban and rural dwellers in many parts of the world, including in developed countries, data are inadequate to evaluate the extent to which different pollutant exposures contribute to asthma morbidity and severity of asthma between urban and rural areas.

Karim N.A.,National University of Malaysia | Kamarudin S.K.,National University of Malaysia
Applied Energy | Year: 2013

Platinum is the most effective electro-catalyst for oxidation and reduction processes in direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs). Although platinum and its alloys show desirable electrochemical activities, these catalysts are expensive and make the commercialization of DMFC less attractive. Beside, literature reviews show that tremendous improvements of the activity and stability of non-platinum cathode catalysts have been achieved over the past few years. However, problems including low reaction rates, high over-potentials and low stabilities that remain unsolved particularly for cathode catalyst are discussed in this paper. This paper also describes the various types of non-platinum materials that can potentially substitute for platinum cathode catalysts in DMFC like macrocyclic molecules such as porphyrins and phthalocyanines, transition metal oxides, transition metal sulfides, amorphous transition metal sulfides, and transition metal-based catalysts. Finally, this paper also summarizes the preparation procedure and the performance of various potential cathode catalysts for DMFC operated in acidic and alkaline media as compared with platinum. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Masseran N.,National University of Malaysia
Energy Conversion and Management | Year: 2015

Analyzing the behaviors of wind direction can complement knowledge concerning wind speed and help researchers draw conclusions regarding wind energy potential. Knowledge of the wind's direction enables the wind turbine to be positioned in such a way as to maximize the total amount of captured energy and optimize the wind farm's performance. In this paper, first-order and higher-order Markov chain models are proposed to describe the probabilistic behaviors of wind-direction data. A case study is conducted using data from Mersing, Malaysia. The wind-direction data are classified according to an eight-state Markov chain based on natural geographical directions. The model's parameters are estimated using the maximum likelihood method and the linear programming formulation. Several theoretical arguments regarding the model are also discussed. Finally, limiting probabilities are used to determine a long-run proportion of the wind directions generated. The results explain the dominant direction for Mersing's wind in terms of probability metrics. ©2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Nadzirin N.,National University of Malaysia
Nucleic acids research | Year: 2013

We describe a server that allows the interrogation of the Protein Data Bank for hypothetical 3D side chain patterns that are not limited to known patterns from existing 3D structures. A minimal side chain description allows a variety of side chain orientations to exist within the pattern, and generic side chain types such as acid, base and hydroxyl-containing can be additionally deployed in the search query. Moreover, only a subset of distances between the side chains need be specified. We illustrate these capabilities in case studies involving arginine stacks, serine-acid group arrangements and multiple catalytic triad-like configurations. The IMAAAGINE server can be accessed at http://mfrlab.org/grafss/imaaagine/.

The sRNAs of bacterial pathogens are known to be involved in various cellular roles including environmental adaptation as well as regulation of virulence and pathogenicity. It is expected that sRNAs may also have similar functions for Burkholderia pseudomallei, a soil bacterium that can adapt to diverse environmental conditions, which causes the disease melioidosis and is also able to infect a wide variety of hosts. By integrating several proven sRNA prediction programs into a computational pipeline, available Burkholderia spp. genomes were screened to identify sRNA gene candidates. Orthologous sRNA candidates were then identified via comparative analysis. From the total prediction, 21 candidates were found to have Rfam homologs. RT-PCR and sequencing of candidate sRNA genes of unknown functions revealed six putative sRNAs which were highly conserved in Burkholderia spp. and two that were unique to B. pseudomallei present in a normal culture conditions transcriptome. The validated sRNAs include potential cis-acting elements associated with the modulation of methionine metabolism and one B. pseudomallei-specific sRNA that is expected to bind to the Hfq protein. The use of the pipeline developed in this study and subsequent comparative analysis have successfully aided in the discovery and shortlisting of sRNA gene candidates for validation. This integrated approach identified 29 B. pseudomallei sRNA genes - of which 21 have Rfam homologs and 8 are novel.

Mahmud M.,National University of Malaysia
Atmospheric Environment | Year: 2013

Biomass burning from the combustion of agricultural wastes and forest materials is one of the major sources of air pollution. The objective of the study is to investigate the major contribution of the biomass open burning events in the island of Borneo, Indonesia to the degradation of air quality in equatorial Southeast Asia. A total of 10173 active fire counts were detected by the MODIS Aqua satellite during August 2004, and consequently, elevated the PM10 concentration levels at six air quality stations in the state of Sarawak, in east Malaysia, which is located in northwestern Borneo. The PM10 concentrations measured on a daily basis were above the 50μgm-3 criteria as stipulated by the World Health Organization Air Quality Guidelines for most of the month, and exceeded the 24-h Recommended Malaysian Air Quality Guidelines of 150μgm-3 on three separate periods from the 13th to the 30th August 2004. The average correlation between the ground level PM10 concentrations and the satellite derived aerosol optical depth (AOD) of 0.3 at several ground level air quality stations, implied the moderate relationship between the aerosols over the depth of the entire column of atmosphere and the ground level suspended particulate matter. Multiple regression for meteorological parameters such as rainfall, windspeed, visibility, mean temperature, relative humidity at two stations in Sarawak and active fire counts that were located near the centre of fire activities were only able to explain for 61% of the total variation in the AOD.The trajectory analysis of the low level mesoscale meteorological conditions simulated by the TAPM model illustrated the influence of the sea and land breezes within the lowest part of the planetary boundary layer, embedded within the prevailing monsoonal southwesterlies, in circulating the aged and new air particles within Sarawak. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

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