Prof Balbir obtained his BSc, MSc and PhD degrees from the University of Liverpool (1976-1984). His research in malaria began at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine when he worked initially as a Postdoctoral Research Assistant and later as a Beit Medical Fellow. He returned to Malaysia in 1992 and worked at Universiti Sains Malaysia for seven years before moving to Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS). His research has been aimed at obtaining a greater understanding of the epidemiology, evolutionary history, population genetics and pathophysiology of malaria. A landmark discovery by his research team has been of a large focus of human infections of Plasmodium knowlesi, a simian malaria parasite. They have subsequently made several other key discoveries which have highlighted knowlesi malaria as a major, life-threatening zoonotic disease in Southeast Asia. His research has been funded by local and international funding agencies including the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council, UK. Prof Balbir has published in leading international journals including The Lancet, Clinical Microbiology Reviews, PLoS Pathogens, Clinical Infectious Diseases and Emerging Infectious Diseases.