World news story

Her Majesty The Queen grants Malaysian professor an honorary OBE

Prof Teo Soo-Hwang was presented the honorary OBE by British Ambassador to Malaysia for her outstanding scientific leadership and services to medical research.

Professor Teo Soo-Hwang
Professor Teo Soo-Hwang receiving her Order of the British Empire OBE

Professor Teo Soo-Hwang, Chief Executive Officer for Cancer Research Malaysia has been awarded an Honorary Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) from HM Queen Elizabeth II for services to medical research.

Professor Teo, who hails from Subang Jaya and is a graduate of the University of Cambridge, was joined by her family, friends, colleagues and partners today at an investiture ceremony performed by Her Excellency Vicki Treadell CMG MVO, British High Commissioner to Malaysia, at her Residence in Kuala Lumpur.

Professor Teo has been recognised for her outstanding scientific leadership in developing research collaboration between Malaysia and the UK and on a global level, for working to improve the diagnosis and treatment for a variety of cancers.

Professor Teo works closely with a wide range of UK research bodies and institutions, such as Cancer Research UK and the Universities of Cambridge – specialising in Asian genetics and cancers particularly prevalent within Asian communities. With a particular focus on breast, ovarian, nasopharyngeal and oral cancers, research conducted by Professor Teo and her team has helped inform studies that underpin the development of Precision Medicine, which is revolutionising the way medicine is practiced in the UK and around the world by creating bespoke cancer treatments according to the genetic profile of individual patients.

Together with Tan Sri Tunku Ahmad Yahaya and Toh Puan Dr Aishah Ong, Professor Teo founded Cancer Research Malaysia in 2001, a non-profit which relies entirely on sponsorship and public donations. She has long-championed the importance of high-quality research as well as advocacy campaigns to educate the Malaysian public to encourage early cancer detection. Her fundraising activities have enabled more than 2000 Malaysian women to receive heavily subsidised mammogram screening, and more than 1000 Malaysian women to receive improved patient support through the patient navigation programme.

Professor Teo is also a member of the High Commissioner’s Women’s Action Group which brings together senior women from across sectors of Malaysian life to drive co-operation between the UK and Malaysia.

Upon receipt of this prestigious honour, Professor Teo said:

This award belongs to a large team of individuals who have supported our efforts in changing the outcome of cancer patients through research. When we first started, no one thought that a non-profit Malaysian organisation in a low resource setting could succeed in cancer research. Today is possible because of countless donors, supporters, partners, doctors and most importantly, patients who have walked with us along this journey. In particular, I would like to thank my team for their sacrifices, their contribution and their diligence in ensuring impactful research. I hope that the Award highlights that anything is possible, and together, we can work towards a future free of the fear of cancer.

Her Excellency Vicki Treadell was delighted to confer this special award to Professor Teo. She said:

Professor Teo’s work has fundamentally contributed to global understanding of cancer risk factors and genetics amongst the Asian community. This will help inform better cancer screening guidelines and treatment worldwide. It gives me great pleasure to confer this award to Professor Teo on behalf of HM The Queen.

The New Year’s Honours List recognises the achievements of a wide range of extraordinary people across the UK and the world. Professor Teo is the sole Malaysian out of 221 distinguished individuals awarded the honorary OBE in the New Year’s (2018) Honours List.

Published 8 February 2018