Health, Science & Technology


The Potential of Malaysian Seaweeds As The Source of Antifungal Compounds For Application in the Oil Palm Industry
University of Cambridge, UK
Harnessing the Antifungal Power of Malaysian Seaweeds for the Palm Oil Industry
Dr Zetty’s journey in the world of science began at Universiti Putra Malaysia as a Bachelor of Science (Hons.) in Microbiology student, upon which she ventured into the world of plants by undertaking a Master of Science in Mycology and Plant Pathology. During this time, she received the Graduate Student Assistantship Scheme (GSAS), a scholarship offered by Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB).
She went on to graduate with a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Plant Sciences at University of Cambridge, supervised by the world renowned Plant Biochemistry Professor, Professor Alison G. Smith at the Department of Plant Sciences.
Dr Zetty's research focuses on thiamine (vitamin B1) biosynthesis in plants, particularly in oil palm, microalgae, and seaweeds. Her work explores the role of thiamine in plant immunity, stress response, and the application of endophytic bacteria and fungi in thiamine biosynthesis. She has a keen interest in riboswitches, RNA regulatory elements in oil palm's thiamine biosynthesis genes.
Second time’s a charm
Although Dr. Zetty received the Merdeka Award Grant for International Attachment in 2017, it wasn’t her first application. 
In 2016, Dr. Zetty had applied for the Merdeka Award Grant for International Attachment and unfortunately was not successful. Never one to let disappointment hold her back, Dr. Zetty applied once more in 2017 after identifying areas to improve in her research paper. 
In 2017, Dr. Zetty received the Merdeka Award Grant for International Attachment to conduct her research entitled "The Potential of Malaysian Seaweeds as the Source of Antifungal Compounds for Application in the Oil Palm Industry"  at the University of Cambridge. Her project aimed to explore Malaysian seaweeds as a potential source of antifungal compounds for controlling basal stem rot disease in oil palm. She said that the key to apply for the Merdeka Award grant for International Attachment, the project should specifically be for Malaysia.

Dr. Zetty proceeded to undergo her attachment at her alma mater, Cambridge University, to work under the supervision of Dr Matthew Davey, Senior Research Associate, Department of Plant Sciences. It was a challenging experience since she had to read more textbooks than she had ever read but she persevered, adapted and stayed focused for success. 
A proponent for international attachment 
Five years on, Dr Zetty is now the Associate Professor at the Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM). She also leads the Plant-Algae Biochemistry and Biotechnology Laboratory (PABB) at FBSB UPM and is additionally affiliated with both the Institute of Bioscience (IBS) UPM and the Bioprocessing and Biomanufacturing Research Centre (BBRC) UPM.

Having experienced the benefits of an international attachment, Dr Zetty makes it a point to push her own students to do the same as she found it to be the best way to gain new knowledge, meet new people and explore new ideas. 
The information in this award recipient's profile is accurate to the best of our knowledge as of the time the award was presented. Any subsequent changes, updates, or developments in the individual's life or achievements may not be reflected in this profile.
We use cookies to enhance your browsing experience and for analytical purposes. By continuing to browse, you are deemed to accept our use of cookies. Learn more about disabling cookies and our Privacy Statement here.