PeerJ Award Winner: 2nd International Conference of Drug Discovery and Translational Medicine

by | Jan 24, 2022 | Award Winner Interviews, Awards, Community, Conferences

PeerJ were delighted to sponsor two awards – Best Poster and Best Oral Presentations as given by Early Career Researchers – at the 2nd International Conference on Drug Discovery and Translational Medicine 2021 (ICDDTM’21). We spoke to the winner of the Best Poster Presentation, Ong Yong Sze, about her research.

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Building upon the success of the inaugural International Conference of Drug Discovery and Translational Medicine (ICDDTM’18) in 2018, the Malaysian Association of Cancer Research (MACR) and its collaborators have once again combined to organise the 2nd ICDDTM’ in 2021. In keeping abreast with the recent emergence of innovative technologies in Precision Medicine, the organisers set the conference theme as “Advancing Precision Medicine with Emerging Technologies: Bridging Gap Between Academia and Industry.” 

ICDDTM’21 was held from 7th – 9th December 2021 and, given the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic at the time, was conducted entirely online. It featured plenary and invited talks based on four major areas – cancer, microbiome therapy, mental health/neurodegeneration and cell therapy – and one special topic on COVID-19. ICDDTM’21 also had six dedicated conference tracks for oral and poster presentations (the major areas defined above as well as a track focussed on metabolic diseases and one for “miscellaneous” research) . Overall, the ICDDTM’21 was a great success.

Recorded sessions and poster presentations can be viewed either through the official ICDDTM’21 website (, or via the MACR official website (

Prof Dr Johnson Stanslas, Chairman, Organising Committee.


Ong Yong Sze Lecturer at the Monash University, Malaysia. 

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your research interests?

Originally from Malaysia, I grew up as a child who loved nature and was always curious about how it worked. I continued exploring science – and biology in particular – during my undergraduate and postgraduate studies, which led me to a research path studying cancer.

My current research focuses on the development of drug delivery systems for the treatment of cancer, aiming to improve the  safety and efficacy of medication through the approach of nanotechnology.

What first interested you in this field of research?

Conventional drug delivery systems are often accompanied by systemic side effects that are mainly attributed to their nonspecific bio-distribution and uncontrollable drug release characteristics. This raised my interest in developing a smart drug delivery system with specific targeting, controlled release and minimal toxicity, with the overall aim of improving the therapeutic efficacy via advances in nanotechnology. Aside from the drug delivery system, the research team is also exploring the potential of nanoparticles in the application of hyperthermia and diagnostics for cancer. My research interest also focuses on the safety and potential adverse effects of nanoparticles (nanotoxicity) and natural products in other healthcare applications.

Can you briefly explain the research you presented at ICDDTM’21?

I presented my previous work at Universidade do Porto, Portugal, which involves the development of a multimodal nanoparticulate carrier system for breast cancer treatment. Specifically, this nanoparticulate carrier system was formulated to encapsulate both the chemotherapeutic drug and hyperthermic-inducing agent to further enhance the therapeutic outcome of that chemotherapeutic agent.

How will you continue to build on this research?

I wish to continue exploring the use of this nanoparticulate carrier system in different applications for cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment including active targeting and hyperthermic approaches.



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