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Two Malaysian doctors among Asia’s top 10 scientists, tech entrepreneurs

PETALING JAYA: Two Malaysians have been selected as finalists in Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Technology Review’s Innovators Under 35 list.

Malaysian public health practitioner and epidemiologist Dr Dhesi Baha Raja (pic), 32, and MIT postdoctoral associate Yong Lin Kong, 29, are listed among the top 10 young scientists and tech entrepreneurs from Asia by EmTech Asia, in association with MIT Technology Review.

Speaking to The Star Online, Dr Dhesi described his excitement at being selected for the award for developing AIME (Artificial Intelligence in Medical Epidemiology), a disease-prediction mobile platform that employs technology and data to give people prior warning of dengue and Zika outbreaks.

“Being selected highlights the importance of fighting the spread of infectious diseases today that it also shows the potential of AIME in providing a solution to the issue globally,” he said.

Dr Dhesi said he was “very priviledged and happy” to have the opportunity to meet with other top grade innovators, scientists, technologists and potential investors at the EmTech Asia conference to be held at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore on Feb 14 and 15.

The medical practitioner, who had his fair share of doubters when he first started out in public health, advised future entrepreneurs and scientists to remember the words of former IBM president Tomas Watson in 1943 when he predicted that there would be a “world market for maybe five computers”.

“Do not let experts put you down, just follow your heart and dream big but remember to wake up to execute your dreams,” said Dr Dhesi.

AIME is the world’s first AI driven app that is able to predict Zika outbreaks up to 100 days in advance with an accuracy of 91.11% and dengue to within three months in advance and with an accuracy of 88%.

Dr Kong was selected for his work in developing next-generation ingestible electronic devices that could improve the quality of life for patients with diseases requiring long-term on-demand drug administration.

EmTech Asia is MIT Technology Review’s annual conference on emerging technologies that matter, hosted annually in Singapore.

The 10 award recipients will give elevator pitches about their work at EmTech Asia conference.

The list recognises the development of new technology or the creative application of existing technologies to solve global problems in industries such as biomedicine, computing, communications, energy, materials, web and transportation.

The 10 also automatically qualify for consideration on the global MIT Technology Review magazine’s ’35 Innovators Under 35 List’ next year.

Previous Global Innovators Under 35 honourees include Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, Google founders Sergei Brin and Larry Page, Apple’s chief designer Jonathan Ive, Spotify co-founder Daniel Ek and Tumblr creator David Karp.-thestar

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