Professor Dr. Thong was awarded based on her excellent and outstanding contributions towards microbiology research, publication, teaching, and her outreach to the society at both national and international levels.
Prof Dr Thong joined UM as lecturer in 1990, promoted to Associate Professor in 1997 and Full Professor in 2003. She is the Director of the Centre for Research Services, IPPP (2011 - 2015).
She has published over 300 papers in refereed national and international journals and proceedings and presented more than 200 papers in conferences/symposia. Her WOS H-index is 17 with 1183 citations. She has supervised 78 postgraduates (graduated 8 PhD, 47 Masters) and currently supervising 7 PhDs and 16 Masters.
She has won numerous Awards related to research and teaching activities. These include 20 Gold Medals, 12 Silver Medals, 7 Bronze Medals in various National and International Invention & Innovation Exposition, MTSF Science and Technology Award (2007), Excellent Scientist Award from the Ministry of Higher Education (2005), the Medical Association of Malaysia-Infectious Disease Fund Visiting Fellowship (2006), the 2013 Woman Scientist Award from University of Malaya and the Top Research Scientist Malaysia (2014). She was awarded the University’s Excellent Service Awards in 2000, 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2012. She was the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Ambassador to Malaysia for 7 years (2007-2014), and awarded the American Society for Microbiology Ambassador of the Year (2009) Award and Certificate of Outstanding Service to the International Board of the American Society for Microbiology in 2011.
Her research interests include molecular biology, genomics, phenomics, epidemiology, diagnostics, and drug resistance mechanism of foodborne and nosocomial bacterial pathogens. She is the first in Malaysia to use and establish the technique of pulse-field gel electrophoresis in characterizing bacterial pathogens. She has developed a rapid DNA-based method to detect Salmonella. This complements the existing available diagnostic kit for typhoid (which requires sera) as the present PCR assay can detect the organisms in environmental samples (contaminated food or water) and also clinical specimens. She further developed a triplex PCR reagent for simultaneous detection of Salmonella spp, S.typhi and S.paratyphi A - all in a single tube assay in a lyophilized form (3 patents filed, product licensed to a Biotech company).