Dr Maude Elvira Phipps


Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine & Health Sciences

Email: maude.phipps@monash.edu
Tel: +603 5514 5848
Office: Room 3-2-02

ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8314-068X

Profile Summary

Maude E. Phipps is Professor of Human Genetics at the Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences at Monash University Malaysia. She currently undertakes research in human population genetics and health with special focus on indigenous communities in Malaysia and international collaborative projects on native populations in Asia and Oceania.

Prior to joining Monash University, Professor Phipps worked at Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, contributing substantially to the pioneer B.Biomed Sc programme in Malaysia, medical specialist training, research programmes in molecular genetics of autoimmune diseases and transplantation mechanisms, in collaboration with the Oxford Transplant Centre, the University of Western Australia, supported by American Society for Histocompatibility, The British Council and UNESCO.  She established the first molecular immunogenetics and transplantation matching laboratory service at University of Malaya Medical Centre.

Professor Phipps is currently discipline coordinator and resource person for Genetics, Theme III Foundations of Medicine and for Ethics, Theme I Personal and Professional Development, MED 1011, MED 2042 MBBS/MD (2008 - present). She also provides training in research ethics for PostGrad Diploma in Biomedical Sciences, B. Med. Sc. and Higher Degree Research students. Previously, she taught on the B. Pharm course. She continues to mentor early career researchers and junior colleagues in the university and has developed and organised workshops in Malaysia in collaboration with bioethicists in UNESCO, UK, USA and Australia to train local bioethics faculty in Malaysia.


  • Ph.D. (Human Molecular Genetics), University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • B.Sc. (Hons Class 1), University of Malaya, Malaysia


  • Human Genome Organization (HUGO)
  • American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG)
  • Asia Pacific Society of Human Genetics (APSHG)
  • Genetics Society of Malaysia
  • Malaysian Society for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (MSMBB)


  • Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Fellowship
  • UNESCO Human Genome Fellowship
  • National Bioethics Council of Malaysia

Research & Education

Current research projects

Microbiomes in Indigenous Populations of Malaysia - The ‘Human Microbiome’ is the collection of microorganisms that can be found in and on human bodies. Extensive research in this area have revealed strong associations between the microbial composition that may vary with diet, host genetics, lifestyle choices as well as diseases. This project engages with communities comprising indigenous tribes and the last of the hunter gatherers in Peninsular Malaysia to characterize and study their microbiomes in association with their health, diets and cultural practices (collaborating institutions - TMB Platform Monash University Malaysia, UBiome Inc, USA)

Oceanian Genome Variation Project - The main aims of this project are to develop a network of collaborators, elucidate peopling of Oceania, define Asia-Pacific population structure &  history, discover diversity through genome-wide genotyping, cataloguing diversity across Asia-Pacific region, reconstruct population genetic history of the major human migrations into the Pacific, to increase resolution on the characterization of understudied regions and create a publicly available resource for future genetic research.  (collaborating institutions - Stanford University, UC Berkeley, University of Colorado, Icahn School of Medicine, NY- USA; University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, UK ; National Laboratory of Genomics for Biodiversity, Mexico)

South East Asia and Pygmy Genome Project -- Review of the Out of Africa,  elucidating the most morphological different populations in the world., investigation of uniqueness,  relatedness and  relationships with non-pygmy populations, origins of the phenotype and adaptive selection.  (Collaborating institutions : University College London, University of Cambridge, Wellcome Trust Sanger Insitute, UK; Uni of Copenhagen - Denmark, University Pompeo-Fabra, Spain, National Institute of Genetics (NIG), Japan)

Origins of Austro-Asiatic (AA) Languages and Peoples - Investigations of genetic links, evolutionary relationships and gene flow in tribal AA groups from distinct geographical regions in Malaysia Peninsular and India. (Collaborating Institution - Natl Inst Biomed Genomics, Indian Statistical Institute, India)

HLA and Indigenous Populations of SouthEast Asia - HLA-specific MHC variants are central to distinguish self from non-self. The investigation and discovery of specific HLA genotypes and haplotypes will be a valuable resource for future analyses of the role of MHC in population and disease studies.  (NIG, University of Tokyo, Japan)

World Diabetes Foundation grant - NADI project T2D Education and Intervention in Orang Asli communities (2016-2018).

Keywords :

Population Genetics,  Indigenous genetics, HLA, immunogenetics, VHL, Chromosome 3p- syndrome, Orang Asli


Yew, CW., Lu, D., Deng, L. et al. (2018).Genomic structure of the native inhabitants of Peninsular Malaysia and North Borneo suggests complex human population history in Southeast Asia. Hum Genet 137: 161. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00439-018-1869-0

McColl , H , Racimo , F , Vinner , L , et al (2018). The prehistoric peopling of Southeast Asia ' Science (New York, N.Y.) , vol. 361 , no. 6397 , pp. 88-92 . DOI:10.1126/science.aat3628

Yew CW, Hoque MZ, Pugh‐Kitingan J, et al. (2018). Genetic relatedness of indigenous ethnic groups in northern Borneo to neighboring populations from Southeast Asia, as inferred from genome‐wide SNP data. Ann Hum Genet. 82:216–226. https://doi.org/10.1111/ahg.12246

Jinam, TA, Phipps, ME, Aghakhanian, F, et al (2017). Discerning the Origins of the Negritos, First Sundaland People: Deep Divergence and Archaic Admixture, Genome Biology and Evolution, Volume 9, Issue 8, 1 August 2017, Pages 2013–2022, https://doi.org/10.1093/gbe/evx118

Tagore, D.,Aghakhanian, F, Naidu, R,et al (2017) A genomic insight into the origin and dispersal of Austroasiatic speakers in South and Southeast Asia. Canadian Journal of Biotechnology.  1: 138.

Malaspinas, AS, Westaway, MC, Muller, C, et al (2016) A genomic history of Aboriginal Australia. Nature, 538(7624), pp. 207-214. Macmillan Journals Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature18299.

Nowrozy KJ, Mohtar PA, Dhanoa A, et al  (2016). A community-based prospective cohort study of dengue viral infection in Malaysia: the study protocol. Infectious Diseases of Poverty. 5:76.

Phipps ME, Chan KKL, Naidu R et al. (2015). Cardio-metabolic health risks in indigenous populations of Southeast Asia and the influence of urbanization. BMC Public Health201515:47 https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-015-1384-3

Aghakhanian F,  Yunus Y , Naidu R, et al (2015). Unravelling the Genetic History of Negritos and Indigenous Populations of Southeast Asia, Genome Biology and Evolution, 7, 5 : 1206–1215, https://doi.org/10.1093/gbe/evv065

Liu, X., Yunus, Y., Lu, D. et al. (2015). Differential positive selection of malaria resistance genes in three indigenous populations of Peninsular Malaysia. Hum Genet 134: 375. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00439-014-1525-2

Deng, L., Hoh, B.P., Lu, D. et al. (2014). The population genomic landscape of human genetic structure, admixture history and local adaptation in Peninsular Malaysia Hum Genet 133: 1169. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00439-014-1459-8

Chai HC, Chua KH, Lim SK, et al. (2014). “Insight into Gene Polymorphisms Involved in Toll-Like Receptor/Interferon Signalling Pathways for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in South East Asia,” Journal of Immunology Research, vol. 2014, Article ID 529167, 9 pages, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/529167.

Mokhtar, S. S., Marshall, C. R., Phipps, M. E., Thiruvahindrapuram, B., Lionel, A. C., Scherer, S. W., & Peng, H. B. (2014). Novel population specific autosomal copy number variation and its functional analysis amongst Negritos from Peninsular Malaysia. PloS one, 9(6), e100371. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0100371

Research Grants

Research grants since joining Monash University Malaysia

GENOMIC VARIATIONS AND THEIR IMPORTANCE IN UNDERSTANDING EVOLUTION, MIGRATION AND HEALTH IN MULTI-ETHNIC POPULATIONS IN MALAYSIA Grant # 10-02-10-MB001 (2010/11) Ministry of Higher Education, Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Malaysia (RM 1,400,000.00)

Engaging Malaysian indigenous communities to participate in human genomics and health research. Lundbeck Foundation grant MED/Lundbeck 08 2015/004 (RM30,800.00)

New Frontiers in Dengue Viral Infections. Dengue Flagship DSTIN Grant Scheme, Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation Malaysia# 2500189  - partnering with Assoc Prof. Sharifah Syed Hassan and Dengue research team Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Monash University, Malaysia. (RM 500,000).

T2D education and intervention in Orang Asli and rural Malay communities. World Diabetes Foundation grant - partnering with National Diabetes Institute of Malaysia (NADI) Prof. Dato' Dr Mustapha Embong, Dato’ Dr. Nor 'Aini Hj. Abu Bakar. (RM 435,700.00)

Human Genomics Research - Tropical Biology and Medicine Platform grant 2018 (RM 40,000.00), 2017 (RM 80,000.00)

Research Supervision

Sze-Mei LEE (Monash University Malaysia)
Ph.D. - Nasal microbiomes and olfactory genetics of indigenous communities
2018 - Main supervisor
Associate supervisors : A/P Qasim Ayub, Prof. Khalid Kadir

Heerman Kumar (Monash University Malaysia)
Ph.D. - Host-pathogen genetics in Orang Asli individuals infected with intestinal nematodes.
(Main supervisor - A/P Qasim Ayub, Prof. SK Chow)

L-Fang YEO (Monash University Malaysia)
Ph.D. - Exploration and characterization of human microbiomes in hunter gatherer indigenous communities in Malaysia
2017 - present
Main supervisor  
Co- supervisors : A/P Umadevi Palanisamy, Dr. Amreeta Dhanoa

F. Aghakhanian (Monash University Malaysia) -
Ph.D. - Genetic structure and variation in Negrito, Senoi, Proto-Malay ethnic groups in Malaysia
Main supervisor
Co-supervisor : A/P Rakesh Naidu

Hwa-Chia CHAI (Monash University Malaysia)
Ph.D. - Molecular Pathology of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in Asians.
Main supervisor
Co-Supervisor : Prof. Iekhsan Othman & Prof. KB Chua (UM)

Timothy A Jinam (Graduate University for Advanced Studies, Japan)
Ph.D.  - Phylogenetic analysis of Southeast Asian human populations using whole genome sequences
Associate external supervisor
Main supervisor : Prof. Naruya Saitou, NIG, Japan

Yusmin Yusuf (University of Malaya (UM))
Ph.D.  - Molecular Genetic Studies of SLE in Malaysia)
Main supervisor
Co -supervisor - Prof. SY Tan, UM

Main supervisor for:

  • Azrina Aziz (M. Otorhinolaryngology, UM, 2008)
  • Lih-Chun HONG (M.Med. Sc., UM, 2007)
  • Chee-Seng KU(M.Med. Sc., UM, 2006)
  • HSian ENG (M.Med. Sc., UM, 2004)
  • Mun-Kit K CHOY (M. Med. Sc, UM, 2002)
  • Suzita M Noor (M. Med. Sc., UM 2002,)
  • SingFee LIM (M. Med. Sc., UM, 2000,)
  • Yee- Ping TEE (M. Med. Sc. UM, 1999)
  • Siew-Nee YAP (M. Med. Sc., UM,1999)
  • R. Subramaniam (B.Sc. Hons, UM 2010)
  • Geok Suan VONG (B.Biomed Sc. Hons., UM, 2008)
  • CC TING (B. Biomed Sc. Hons, UM, 2005)
  • LC HONG (B. Biomed Sc. Hons., UM, 2005)
  • Ruth CHIA (B.Biomed Sc. Hons, UM, 2003)
  • CS KU (B.Biomed.Sc.,Hons, 2003)
  • KF Kong (B.Biomed..Hons, 2000)
  • CH Ng (B.Biomed. Hons, 1999)


UM Vice Chancellor’s Excellence Service Awards (Anugerah Sijil Khidmat Cemerlang UM) for 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007

Monash University Malaysia Pro Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research (2009, 2010, 2011)

‘Great Women of Our Times’ Award (Science and Technology Category 2009) by ACP press for research excellence and promotion of the public understanding of genetics.

Deputy Dean (Research) ‘ New Initiatives’ award from  Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University (2009)

uBiome Inc. Research award for  Microbiomes of Indigenous Communities 2018