Academician Emeritus Professor Dato' Dr Sai Kit Lam

“To be able to contribute towards the betterment of society through one’s profession provides immeasurable joy and a sense of fulfilment.”

Academician Emeritus Professor Dato’ Dr Sai Kit Lam has been at the forefront of infectious viral disease research for more than 40 years. He is best known for heading the medical team that discovered the Nipah virus, which resulted in the containment of a severe encephalitis outbreak in Malaysia in 1999.

Since 1990, Dr Lam has been actively involved in the World Health Organisation program on Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID). During this time, his EID team have been instrumental in viral discoveries that contributed to the containment of outbreaks, as well as the initiation of surveillance of some of the most critical viral infections in the region. His research into dengue and other major viral diseases has been recognised worldwide, and have had a significant impact on public health globally.

His work has been recognised internationally through the award of France’s Knight of the National Order of Merit in 2005; the Prince Mahidol Award for Public Health from the King of Thailand in 2001; the Japan Nikkei Asia Prize for Technological Innovation in 2002, and one of the most prestigious awards in Malaysia, the Merdeka Award, which Lam won twice, once with his Nipah team in 2008 and individually for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement in 2013.

In 1982, Dr Lam and several of his colleagues founded The Asia Pacific Society for Medical Virology, which now has over 600 members from more than forty countries. His research has led to the publication of over 240 papers in some of the world’s top journals.

Dr Lam is also a dedicated public health education advocate, and as a consultant for the University of Malaya High Impact Research unit, nurtures young scientists and leads strategy to improve public awareness of science and medicine.


International Alumnus of the Year


Master of Science (Microbiology)