In 2014, Klang native Indran was the lead author on a groundbreaking study about how germs fight off other germs. These findings will help people fight antibiotic-resistant infections.
When Indran was 5, a car accident left him with the speech disorder dysarthria. While pursuing his PhD, he applied to 100 scholarships in 3 years. He was shortlisted for every single one, but rejected during the final interview because of his speech difficulties. Finally, he was awarded a National Science Foundation Scholarship to pursue his doctorate at one of the world’s leading membrane protein laboratories, the Membrane Protein Lab at Diamond Light Source in England. This led him to join the team at Dr Konstantinos Beis’ lab, where they worked on membrane protein crystallography, or the science that studies how atoms in solid crystals arrange (Heng, 2014; Goh, 2015)
Temple is an autism spokesperson, professor of animal science and animal behaviour consultant (Grandin, 2012). She also invented the “hug box” deep pressure device that helps to calm people on the autism spectrum (Grandin, 1992). Temple is also the focus of a semi-biographical HBO film, Temple Grandin, released in 2010 (Harris, 2010).
Temple never received a formal diagnosis of autism in her childhood. Medical advice at that time was to have a child with autism institutionalised. Her birth father was supportive of this, but her mother was strongly opposed to the idea. Her family put her into speech therapy and private schooling, with supportive mentors. During her time in Mountain Country School, a private boarding school in New Hampshire, she met science teacher William Carlock, who became her mentor and encouraged her to build her first hug box (then referred to as a squeeze machine). When she faced criticism for the machine at college, he suggested she undertake scientific experiments to evaluate how well the device worked.
In her work with animals, Temple was one of the first scientists to report that animals are sensitive to visual distractions in handling facilities. She edited the first edition of “Livestock Handling and Transport” and published a paper called “Assessment of Stress During Handling and Transport” (Grandin, 1997). The paper presented the idea that how an animal was previously handled could affect how it responded to handling in future. At the time, this was a new concept. She is currently the author or co-author of over 60 scientific papers on animal behaviour (eg. Lima, 2018 and Grandin 2017).
Temple Grandin broke down years of shame and stigma as one of the first adults to publicly disclose that they were autistic. Her insightful work and writing helped people empathise and gain insight to the world of people with autism. She was named a Hero in Time Magazine’s ’Time 100’ in 2010 (Hauser, 2010).
Ralph was known as the Father of the Mobility Movement for the mobility assistance devices he introduced to help PWD lead full lives (Braunability, 2018a). He was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at 6 years old and had to use a wheelchair from his teens onwards. Doctors said he would never be independent, but Ralph and his parents set out to prove them wrong. He created his first mobility assistance device, a motorized wagon, while still in his teens. He went on to create the first wheelchair lift, then the first wheelchair vehicle, an altered postal van, in 1966. For the first time in his life, Ralph was able to drive himself around independently. He soon found others eager for that same independence.
In 1972, Ralph founded the Braun Corporation, which went on to produce the first wheelchair accessible minivan (the Entervan). The company went on to produce other wheelchair lifts, wheelchair carriers and wheelchair vehicles. He was named a champion for change by US President Barack Obama in 2012 (The White House President Barack Obama). Ralph died in Winamac, Indiana in 2013 (Braunability, 2018b).
Farida is a woman of many talents indeed. She’s a software engineer, co-founder of software company Logiciel, creator of a cloud-based micro-finance platform, winner of the 2011 Legacy & Legacy Maiden IDEAS Award, winner of the National Youth Achievers Special Award 2012, and CEO Magazine South Africa’s 2013 Most Influential Women in Business and Government in Africa – Financial Sector (Rising-Africa, 2015; Bedwei, 2018)
Farida was born in Nigeria and grew up in Dominica, Grenada, the UK, and Ghana. She developed cerebral palsy at 10 days old due to rH blood incompatibilities. She nevertheless went on to get her Bachelor’s in Computer Science from the University of Hertfordshire, and a certificate in Project Management from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration. The gKudi platform that she developed is a web-based software that manages small scale loans.It is accessible across desktop and mobile devices, and is used by 130 micro-finance companies (Said-Moorhouse, 2015). Farida has also written a novel, Definition of a Miracle (Bedwei, 2010).
In 1992, American biochemist Edwin G. Krebs was one of the last Nobel Prize winners to discover they’d won. He was deaf, and couldn’t hear the phone ring when organisers called with the good news! (Rossen, 2016) Edwin and his colleague, Edmond H. Fischer, won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work on the chemical process phosphorylation.
Edwin was born in Iowa and his family moved around the United States when he was a child. He was trained as a physician and went on active duty as a medical officer in the Navy. After he was discharged, he chose to study biochemistry before starting to work at the University of Washington, Seattle. At the university, he met Edmond and began working with him to study reversible protein phosphorylation. They found out how it works as a switch to activate proteins and control processes in human cells. These discoveries helped us better understand hormones, cell life spans and organ transplants. Edwin died in 2009 (Krebs, 1992; Snyder, 2010).
How do you study the stars without being able to look at them? Astronomer Wanda used sonification to turn large sets of visual data into audible sound. By analysing these sounds, she was able to discover certain changes in stars that were not visible to the human eye or telescopes. For example, sonification helped her discover certain things about stars and gamma-ray bursts, a very powerful kind of explosion, that were not immediately noticeable in visual data (TED, 2018).
She now advocates for a more inclusive scientific community, where different skillsets, techniques and adaptations can benefit the world as a whole and help disabled scientists flourish in their fields (Diaz-Merced, 2014).
- Heng N (2014) Malaysian Scientist gives his views on the nation’s scientific field. The Star Online [Accessed: 8 May 2018] Available at: https://www.thestar.com.my/lifestyle/people/2014/07/16/malaysian-scientist-gives-his-views-on-the-nations-scientific-field/
- Goh D (2015) 10 Malaysian Scientists Whose Research Is Making The World A Better Place. Says [Accessed: 8 May 2018] Available at: http://says.com/my/tech/malaysians-are-geniuses
- Hauser M (2010) Temple Grandin. Time [Accessed; 8 May 2018] Available at: http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1984685_1984949_1985222,00.html
- Grandin T (1997) Assessment of Stress During Handling and Transport. Journal of Animal Science Volume 75: 249-57. Available at: https://dspace.library.colostate.edu/bitstream/handle/10217/4155/ANIStg100012.pdf?sequence=1
- Lima MLP, Negrão JA, de Paz CCP, Grandin T. (2018) Minor corral changes and adoption of good handling practices can improve the behavior and reduce cortisol release in Nellore cows. Trop Anim Health Prod. 2018 Mar;50(3):525-530. doi: 10.1007/s11250-017-1463-9. Epub 2017 Nov 14. Abstract available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29139068
- Grandin T (2017) On-farm conditions that compromise animal welfare that can be monitored at the slaughter plant. Meat Sci. 2017 Oct;132:52-58. DOI: 10.1016/j.meatsci.2017.05.004. Epub 2017 May 10. Abstract available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28579088
- Grandin T (2012) http://www.templegrandin.com
- Grandin T (1992) Calming Effects of Deep Touch Pressure in Patients with Autistic Disorder, College Students, and Animals. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology 2 (1) Mary Ann Lieber, inc., Publishers. Available at: http://www.grandin.com/inc/squeeze.html
- Harris W (2010) TCA Tour: A Chat with Temple Grandin. Premium Hollywood [Accessed: 8 May 2018] Available at: http://www.premiumhollywood.com/2010/02/04/tca-tour-a-chat-with-temple-grandin/
- The White House President Barack Obama. Ralph Braun [Accessed: 8 May 2018] Available at: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/champions/stem-equality-for-americans-with-disabilities/ralph-braun
- Braunability (2018a) Father of the Mobility Movement-Ralph Braun. [Accessed: 8 May 2018] Available at: https://www.braunability.com/ralph-braun/
- Braunability (2018b) Ralph Braun, Founder of BraunAbility [Accessed: 8 May 2018] Available at: https://www.braunability.com/commercial/ralph-braun.html
- Bedwei F (2010) Definition of a Miracle. iUniverse: IN [Accessed: 8 May 2018] Available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Definition-Miracle-Farida-N-Bedwei/dp/1450210759
- Said-Moorhouse (2015) The inspirational tech guru who’s owning cerebral palsy like a boss. CNN. [Accessed: 8 May 2018] Available at: https://edition.cnn.com/2015/02/13/africa/farida-bedwei-ghanaian-software-genius/index.html
- Rising Africa (2015) Celebrating Farida Bedwei – a seasoned software engineer with over 16 years experience despite her Cerebral Palsy condition. Rising Africa [Accessed: 8 May 2018] Available at: http://www.risingafrica.org/success-stories/business/celebrating-farida-bedwei-a-seasoned-software-engineer-with-over-16-years-experience-despite-her-cerebral-palsy-condition/
- Bedwei F (2018) Farida Bewei. Curriculum Vitae through Academia.edu [Accessed: 8 May 2018] Available at: https://independent.academia.edu/FaridaBedwei/CurriculumVitae
- Krebs EG (1992) – Biographical. Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2014. Web. 8 May 2018. Available at: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1992/krebs-bio.html
- Rossen J (2016) 12 Disabled Scientists Who Made the World a Better Place. Mental Floss [Accessed 8 May 2018] Available at: http://mentalfloss.com/article/87068/12-disabled-scientists-who-made-world-better-place
- Snyder A (2010). Edwin Krebs. The Lancet 375 (9715): 634. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(10)60258-9
- TED (2018) Wanda Diaz Merced Sonic Astrophyscist. TED [Accessed: 8 May 2018] Available at: https://www.ted.com/speakers/wanda_diaz_merced
- Diaz-Merced W (2014) Making Astronomy Accessible for the Visually Impaired. Voices. Scientific American, a Division of Nature America, Inc. [Accessed: 8 May 2018] Available at: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/voices/making-astronomy-accessible-for-the-visually-impaired/