Tropical Medicine and Biology

Monash Malaysia - Tropical Medicine and BiologyThe advances in physics in the early twentieth century transformed the way we use inanimate materials. Similarly, the significant developments in biology in the past 50 years are now enhancing our ability to understand and shape the biosphere. This platform aims to drive this transformation in our region and for the tropics.

We are energetic leaders in research, teaching and outreach in tropical medicine and biology that is locally relevant and globally significant. Our researchers generate and capture new advances, solve research problems, and acquire new knowledge within our areas of expertise – all that are relevant to Malaysia and the tropics, and benefit the wider community.

Key focus areas

Food Security and Biodiversity

Food security and biodiversity are crucial to our shared vision of a sustainable and prosperous planet, and this cluster’s focus is on maximising the value of the rice crop and protecting our bioresources. Our research has involved the examination of allelic variation in rice lines at genome level, mutation in domestication genes, changes in agronomic traits of weedy rice, the analysis of chloroplasts, amyloplasts and rice starch biosynthesis, the isolation of bacteria from extreme environments, and population genetics of birds.


This cluster is committed to the use of ICT to improve the sustainability, affordability and accessibility of healthcare. We are involved in all aspects of eHealth ranging from technologies to monitor health and illness, and deliver healthcare at a distance; centralising health records to improve healthcare planning, to strategizing eHealth Ecosystem at the national level.

We also run annual telemedicine conferences for policy discussions and applications, as well as the Telemedicine Innovation Challenge to encourage ideas in eHealth related translational research.

Immunity and Infection

This cluster provides a platform for microbiologists, immunologists, epidemiologists, pathologists, biochemists, geneticists, clinicians and sociologists to venture into research involving pathogens, their hosts and the impacts on environment and society. With a particular focus on dengue and mosquito-borne diseases, we work with diverse groups in providing insights into the incidence, diagnosis and treatment of viral diseases.

Clinical Research

This developing cluster uses Monash University Malaysia's expertise and access in the study of clinical conditions to provide stronger links between lab-based and bed-based observations and insights. We aim to harness the capabilities of Monash clinicians based in Johor Bahru.

Human Genetics

Our evolutionary history, with its various footnotes and implications for health and disease, are just beginning to be told. Our researchers have track records in the areas of community fieldwork, indigenous and multi-ethnic engagements, biomedical studies, population genetics, human-microbiome interactions, big data analyses and bioinformatics. We utilise the latest techniques to study our shared genomic histories and the unique genetic features that can inform the fields of human migration, evolution, adaptation to various environments, genomic medicine and health.

Systems Biology

Insights into how cells and organisms carry out their functions has led to the appreciation that the cell is more than just a catalogue of the constituent molecules. We are developing this area using model systems, particularly influenza infections of human cell lines. Gene expression data of the host or the virus has contributed to our knowledge on virulence factors, biomarkers, host immunity and dynamics of infection. Our underlying aim is to identify the interacting partners that help virus establish a successful infection in the host.


High throughput sequencing of DNA and RNA permits unprecedented insights into the genome and transcriptome and aids in understanding its organisation and regulation. This research infrastructure facility stands alone but is closely aligned to TMB. For further details of its capabilities, please visit

Key expertise

  • Genomics and Epigenomics of Rice Nuclear, Chloroplast and Mitochondrial DNA
  • Rice Starch Quality
  • Population Genetics
  • Community Engagement
  • Indigenous Health
  • Microbiology
  • Microbiome Studies
  • Novel Foods
  • Diagnostics at a Distance
  • Smart Biomedical Devices
  • Virology, particularly Dengue and Influenza
  • Small RNAs
  • Human Evolutionary Genetics
  • NGS and Bioinformatics (see Genomics website)

Specialist services / training programs

  • Sequencing and bioinformatics services (see Genomics website)
  • Determination of DNA methylation
  • Periodic training programmes in human genomics, research ethics, good laboratory practice, bioinformatics
  • Virus culture
  • Growth facilities for temperate plants
  • Identification and culture of bacteria

Visit Tropical Medicine and Biology for more information and engagement opportunities.