Serena Nik-Zainal: My WhatsApp, FB & Twitter Accounts Have Exploded!

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UK-based Malaysian scientist Prof Dr Serena Nik-Zainal has been overwhelmed by congratulatory messages flooding her social media accounts following news that she is to receive the Dr Josef Steiner Cancer Research Prize 2019 in Bern, Switzerland today.

Stunned by the massive positive feedback by an endless stream of people including fellow Malaysians, Dr Serena offered an apology in advance if she is late with her responses.

Wellcome Sanger Institute

“My WhatsApp, FB & Twitter accounts have exploded! Please forgive delayed responses!

“Altho’ I am going to pick up this #JosefSteiner award, it represents collective effort, laughter, tears, enthusiasm, passion, energy, hard work from my wonderful #TEAM #WishUWereWithMe,” she tweeted late last night, including several photos of her colleagues from the University of Cambridge, where she is now based.


Dr Serena will be conferred the international award originally called the ‘Nobel Prize for Cancer Research’ later today at the University of Bern in Switzerland, along with two fellow collaborators from the University of Cambridge, Dr Paul Calleja and Dr Ignacio Medina for their work in advancing cancer genome interpretation.

Their work, titled ‘Accelerating holistic cancer genome interpretation towards the clinic’ will also be presented during the award ceremony.

The research shows how mutations in cancer tumours can be analysed using new bioinformatic methods which enabled new approaches to targeted therapies.

Dr Serena’s breakthrough research has caught the eyes of the Malaysian government and its Cabinet too.

Among those who were quick to congratulate her latest achievement were Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.

“Congratulations to Dr Serena Nik-Zainal who has been awarded the Dr Josef Steiner Cancer Research Prize 2019 from the University of Cambridge for her research on cancer genome interpretation.

“She is the daughter of renown medical icon Datuk Dr Nik Zainal Abidin Nik Abdul Rahman who was at the forefront of Malaysia’s first cardiology department,” Dr Wan Azizah posted on Facebook.

Dr Nik Zainal died on October 29, 2007, was a well-known cardiologist and part of the team to perform the first coronary by-pass surgery in the country on October 22, 1982.

“Dr Serena Nik-Zainal has shown that when one has the commitment and drive for excellence, the sky is the limit. Profound congrats to Serena for winning the Dr. Josef Steiner Cancer Research Prize 2019 and doing Malaysia extremely proud! #MEA,” Azmin posted on his Facebook page. – MMO