K. Sudesh Kumar was born in Kuala Lumpur on the 4th of April 1967 but was brought up in Gemas, a small railway town in Negeri Sembilan. He obtained his Bachelor of Science (Zoology) from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in 1991 and then his Masters in Biotechnology from Universiti Malaya in 1994. Following which he was awarded the Japanese Government Scholarship (Monbusho) to pursue his PhD in Japan. After successfully completing a 6-month intensive Japanese Language Course at Chiba University in 1995, he obtained his doctorate in 1999 from Saitama University. He did his Ph.D. under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Yoshiharu Doi who is a world leader in the field of microbial bioplastics. He then secured the prestigious Special Postdoctoral Fellow at RIKEN, which is the top research institute in Japan. In 2001, he returned to Malaysia under the Brain Gain Program and joined Universiti Sains Malaysia on the 1st Nov. 2001 as a lecturer. He was then promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2005, then Associate Professor in 2008 and Professor in 2011.
Sudesh’s research focus has centered on biodegradable plastics since 1992, when he embarked on his Masters project. He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed original articles, review papers, book and book chapters and about 100 conference abstracts.
Since joining USM, Sudesh has placed great emphasis on translating his fundamental knowledge on biodegradable plastics into practical applications. In line with USM’s and also national interest, he has devoted his time and resources to developing novel processes and products related to biodegradable plastics. To date, he has 5 patents and another 5 under the filling process. For the various products he has developed, he has received 5 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze medals at local and international exhibitions. USM has awarded him 15 Hall of Fame Awards (Anugerah Sanggar Sanjung) and 18 Prizes (Hadiah Sanjungan) in the past 9 years. He is also the recipient of USM’s Excellent Service Award (Anugerah Perkhidmatan Cemerlang) in 2006 and 2011 and Ministry of Higher Education’s Excellent Scientist Recognition (Penghargaan Saintis Cemerlang) in 2005. He recently received the ITEX Gold Medal for the invention of ‘Ecofriendly and Userfriendly Lipase Assay Kit’ at the 24th International Invention, Innovation &Technology Exhibition (ITEX) 2013.
Currently, Sudesh is the main supervisor for 17 Ph.D. and 8 M.Sc students studying at local and oversea. He has already graduated 12 Ph.D. and 13 M.Sc students in the past 12 years. His latest international success was in organizing and chairing the 2nd International Conference on Biobased Polymers (ICBP 2009), which brought together world leaders in this field to USM. He gave his professorial talk on the 30th of August 2013. The talk was covered by the USM reporters and can be found at http://www.usm.my/index.php/en/admin/news-article-english/706-friendly-microbes-produce-plastics.