Professor Dr. Ng Kwan Hoong
A medical physics pioneer whose research in radiation medicine has contributed significantly to the fight against breast cancer globally by researching in various imaging methods including breast density measurement to help early detection. His extensive research on breast cancer imaging also won him the prestigious Marie Sklodowska-Curie Award. A multidisciplinary expert who also served on the International Atomic Energy Agency and founded the South East Asian Federation of Organizations for Medical Physics, among many organisations.
Among Professor Dr. Ng Kwan Hoong’s many achievements, is his work on breast cancer imaging research that has contributed significantly to the early detection and management of the disease worldwide.
A Malaysian pioneer in medical physics and a professor at the University of Malaya’s Department of Biomedical Imaging, he was among the few in the country who are researching the role of breast density in predicting breast cancer risk.
His call to develop and standardise breast density measurement led to positive results in early detection of breast cancer. His efforts in researching breast cancer and other biomedical imaging techniques also won Malaysia global acclaim when he became the only recipient of the prestigious Marie Sklodowska-Curie Award in 2018 from a developing country. Named after the famed Nobel Prize laureate and French-Polish scientist Marie Curie, the award is given out by the UK-based International Organization for Medical Physics (IOMP), which represents 25,000 medical physicists worldwide.
Prof Dr Ng doing research on mammography
In the recent global COVID-19 crisis, he has made significant strides in the scientific community leading a multidisciplinary, multi-national team to develop an online resource for new and emerging COVID-19 research publications, http://www.covid19bibliometrics.org to provide reliable information on what can be trusted as sound science, identify research trends and gaps in knowledge to assist researchers to identify topics that need further investigation.
He also led a team of researchers to design and develop an infrared digital thermometer prototype, sauna32, that collects body temperature data using Internet of Things (IoT) capability. The team is also looking into the possibility of predicting COVID-19 hotspots in real-time in the future, using machine learning analysis of the collected body temperature data.
Prof Dr Ng receiving the Marie Curie Award, Prague 2018
Even before his achievements, he had contributed extensively to the IOMP for over two decades: having served as a member in several of its committees; as chairman of its International Advisory Board and chairman of its publication committee.
He has also contributed significantly to the development of medical physics in Asia-Pacific and beyond.
He established the ASEAN College of Medical Physics (ACOMP) in 2014, which endeavours to provide continuous education and training to medical professionals. Thus far more than 15 courses have been conducted by the college.
He was also the founding president and president emeritus of the South East Asian Federation of Organizations of Medical Physicists (SEAFOMP), and one of the founders of the Asia-Oceania Federation of Organizations of Medical Physicists (AFOMP).
Prof Dr Ng's breast imaging team UMMC
In 2017 Professor Ng founded the International Leadership and Mentoring Programme that nurtures early-career medical physicists, especially from developing countries into inspiring leaders of their field.
As a multi-disciplinary professional, he served the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as an expert and consultant, involved with expert missions, conference lectures, drafting and reviewing of codes, guidelines, chapters and reports. His notable contributions include taking part in publishing the “Diagnostic Radiology Physics - A Handbook for Teachers and Students”; “Clinical Training of Clinical Medical Physicists Specializing in Diagnostic Radiology”; and “The Fukushima Daiichi Accident”.
Prof Dr Ng with his family
Back at the Universiti Malaya, he established the Master of Medical Physics programme in 1998. This programme is the only post-graduate medical physics academic programme outside the UK and Ireland that is accredited by the UK Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine.
This master programme has produced over 120 graduates from countries including Malaysia, Myanmar, Brunei, Indonesi, Iraq, Hong Kong, Singapore, Cambodia and Vietnam.
He is the first and only medical physicist to be honoured as a Fellow of the Academy of Sciences, Malaysia. He is also one of the few non-physicians to be admitted into the Academy of Medicine, Malaysia.
He is also a prolific writer who has published many international journals, authored and co-authored over 250 papers in peer-reviewed journals, 90 conference proceedings papers, 35 book chapters and has co-edited 10 books.
He sits in the editorial and advisory boards of more than 10 journals, including Singapore Medical Journal, Journal of Applied Clinical Medical Physics, Physical & Engineering Sciences in Medicine, Medical Physics, Biomedical Physics and Engineering Express.
Being an accomplished speaker, Professor Ng has presented over 550 scientific papers, with more than 350 of them as a guest lecturer.
Prof Dr Ng speaking at an international conference in Cancun 2001
Professor Ng’s upcoming book, “Medical physics during the COVID-19 pandemic,” which features over 90 authors from over 40 countries, will be published in the first quarter of 2021 by the CRC Press/Taylor and Francis.
Despite being a busy scholar, Professor Ng devotes plenty of his love and attention to his family and friends. A true believer of humility, gratitude and charity, he wishes to express his gratefulness to his teachers and lecturers for guiding and mentoring him in his path to success. He is also a parishioner of the St John’s Cathedral, Kuala Lumpur and is an active humanitarian alongside his wife, Suan.
Professor Ng also indulges in personal time, where one can catch a glimpse of him being deeply immersed in the symphonies of Beethoven and Tchaikovsky at the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, or strolling and running in the local parks as well as immersing in intriguing books at the library.
Humility, gratitude and charity.
“Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues...“
- Saint Augustine.
Message to Young Malaysians
“Set your eyes on your aspirations and be courageous even if the path is turbulent. Adapt to changes but always be a person of integrity.”