SEARCA Regional Professorial Chair Grant
AY 2020-2021

Making a Difference in Agriculture

Passion for Innovation with Dr. Shuhaimi Mustafa

Dr. Shuhaimi Mustafa is a Professor at the Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences and Director of the Halal Products Research Institute at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM). He was awarded the SEARCA Regional Professorial Chair Grant for his extensive contributions in the field of Food Microbiology and Biotechnology. Dr. Mustafa joins fellow UPM faculty, Dr. Norsida Man and Dr. Nazmi Mat Nawi, as awardees for FY 2020-2021.

Dr. Mustafa is an alumnus of UPM who took BSc in Food Science and Technology, MSc in Food Microbiology, and PhD in Enzyme and Food Biotechnology. Staying faithful to his roots, Dr. Mustafa also began his teaching career at UPM. His passion for teaching started when he was doing his industrial training and project for his final year as an undergraduate. This experience led to further studies and eventually a teaching post at the university which enabled Dr. Mustafa to tackle the unique challenge of presenting information from various sources to diverse students. He also designed hands-on activities that teach his students soft skills and problem-solving skills. He works with his students individually to help them overcome specific learning challenges.

While teaching at UPM can be challenging, it also offers numerous professional and personal opportunities such as engagement, connecting with people, and understanding the way students think and behave. These are what Dr. Mustafa consider as inspiration for his profession. UPM also provides training to all lecturers to improve their teaching skills and effectively impart knowledge to the students and stakeholders through community and industry engagements.

Through this support, Dr. Mustafa has become a consistent Excellent Service Awardee at the university from 2003-2017. Moreover, UPM provides a very conducive research environment for R&D activities, generating new knowledge, and innovation which Dr. Mustafa credits for his achievements as a lecturer and researcher. He has received numerous awards for his publications, innovation and inventions, and research. He has filed and has been granted intellectual property rights, trademark, and patents for his research and innovations such as the Specific and Cheap Real-Time Halal Verification Kit which was also previously awarded. Dr. Mustafa has co-developed commercialized products such as the Porcine DNA Test Kit and Thohira and is currently awaiting the commercialization of two more products.

Dr. Shuhaimi Mustafa's message to the youth.Dr. Shuhaimi Mustafa's message to the youth.

Dr. Mustafa considers his greatest contribution in the academe to be his development of the Applied Food Microbiology course under the degree of Microbiology in UPM. One of the topics in the course discusses Halal aspects of food fermentation and authentication. Through his research, he was also able to establish a start-up company called Halways Sdn Bhd. The company focuses on improving agriculture-related industries to increase productivity and efficiency towards halal compliance through the application of microorganisms. Dr. Mustafa also developed a real-time PCR-based halal verification system (HaFYSTM) that is currently marketed globally.

Dr. Mustafa's recognition through the SEARCA Regional Professorial Chair Grant serves as motivation for him to further advance his teaching and research in the university and to become a role model for the young lecturers pursuing their career. As part of the SEARCA Regional Professorial Chair Grant, Dr. Mustafa will hold a public lecture on "Rapid DNA-Based Analytical Techniques to Verify the Authenticity of Halal Products."

The lecture will discuss the rising industry of halal production and the importance of laboratory testing in terms of determining its authenticity and in observing the consumption of halal products for Muslims. The lecture will also discuss rapid DNA-based halal authentication as one of the technologies of laboratory testing.

Passion for Innovation with Dr. Shuhaimi Mustafa