Dr. Lai Choon Sheen

dr lai 

BSc (Hons) (UTM), PhD (USM) 

Contact Information:
E-mail: cs_lai@usm.my
Telephone: +604-653 5255
Fax: +604-656 8669
Address: Centre for Drug Research, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Penang



My research group focuses on the biodiscovery of natural products from indigenous medicinal plants. Our work involves extraction, purification and isolation of bioactive natural products using a bioactivity-guided approach, structure elucidation, and characterisation of pure compounds. The goal of our work is to discover single entity or multicomponent plant extracts that work synergistically, that may potentially be developed into new pharmaceuticals/nutraceuticals in the key area of antiinfective and anticancer. Single compounds that are responsible for the pharmacological activities of the extracts will be considered for the development into new pharmaceutical products, while compounds that act synergistically are characterised and standardised as multicomponent herbal products. Our choice of plant is mainly based on indigenous ethnopharmacological knowledge, either written or verbally informed.

Current Research Projects:

  • Biodiscovery of natural products with antibacterial, antibiofilm and wound healing properties
  • Biodiscovery of anticancer agents from medicinal plants involving screening against cancer cell lines, evaluation on in vivo cancer models and in silico docking studies on therapeutic targets
  • Identification of bioactive markers and standardisation of herbal products
  • Isolation and characterisation of bioflavonoids from plants for application as antioxidants or as ingredients in functional food
  • Phytochemical studies of Southeast Asian coffee beans


Current PhD students (as main supervisor)

  • Sutha A/P Devaraj

Current MSc students (as main supervisor)

  • Jimmy Wong Ka Ming
  • Teo Hui Min



  1. N.J.Y. Chear, K.Y. Khaw, V. Murugaiyah, C.S. Lai (2016) Cholinesterase inhibitory activity and chemical constituents of Stenochlaena palustris fronds at two different stages of maturity. Journal of Food and Drug Analysis, 24 (2), 358-366.
  2. N.S.Yaacob, H. Muhammad, S.Devaraj, J.K.M. Wong, C.S. Lai (2015) Anti-tumor action, clinical biochemistry profile and phytochemical constituents of a pharmacologically active fraction of S. crispus in NMU-induced rat mammary tumour model. PLoS One, 10 (5), e0126426.
  3. A.K.C. Saw, W.S. Yam, K.C. Wong, C.S. Lai (2015) A comparative study of the volatile constituents of Southeast Asian Coffea arabica, Coffea liberica and Coffea robusta green beans and their antioxidant activities. Journal of Essential Oil Bearing Plant, 18 (1), 64-73.
  4. Y. Ponnusamy, N.J.Y. Chear, S. Ramanathan, C.S. Lai (2015) Polyphenols rich fraction of Dicranopteris linearis promotes fibroblast cell migration and proliferation in vitro. J Ethnopharmacol., 168, 305–314.
  5. Y. Ponnusamy, N.J.Y. Chear, S. Ramanathan, V. Murugaiyah, C.S. Lai (2013) Antioxidant and antibacterial properties of Malaysian ferns used traditionally against infection. Journal of Natural Product and Plant Resources, 3 (6), 14-18.
  6. C.S. Lai, S.N. Idris, M.A. Rahman, M.R.H. Mas Haris (2013) An optimised recovery of mitragynine from Mitragyna speciosa using freeze-drying and ultrasound assisted extraction method. The Experiment Journal, 15 (3), 1077-1083.
  7. D.N.B. Chandra Siri, C.S. Lai, M.R.H. Mas Haris (2013) Screening of adulterants in unregistered herbal products in Malaysia. Der Pharma Chemica, 5 (2), 278-285.
  8. J.Nargis, K.Melati, C.S. Lai, M.V. Osman Hasnah, K.C. Wong, K.Y.Khaw (2013) Antioxidant, anti-cholinesterase and antibacterial activities of the bark extracts of Garcinia hombroniana. African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 7 (8), 454-459.
  9. S. Parthasarathy, S. Ramanathan, V. Murugaiyah, M.R. Hamdan, M.I.M. Said, C.S. Lai, S.M. Mansor (2013) A simple HPLC–DAD method for the detection and quantification of psychotropic mitragynine in Mitragyna speciosa (ketum) and its products for the application in forensic investigation. Forensic Sci Int., 226 (1-3), 183-187.
  10. N.S. Yaacob, N. Hamzah, N.N.N. Mohamed Kamal, S.A.Z. Abidin, C.S. Lai, V. Navaratnam, M.N. Norazmi (2010) Anticancer activity of a sub-fraction of dichloromethane extract of Strobilanthes crispus on human breast and prostate cancer cells in vitro. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 10, 42.
  11. C.S. Lai, Rosemal H.M.H. Mas, N.K. Nair, S.M. Mansor, V. Navaratnam (2010) Chemical constituents and in vitro anticancer activity of Typhonium flagelliforme (Araceae). J Ethnopharmacol., 127 (2), 486-494.

Published Abstract

  1. N.S. Yaacob, N.N. Nik Mohd Kamal, C.S. Lai, V. Navaratnam, M.N. Norazmi (2010) A dichloromethane fraction of Strobilanthes crispus induces apoptosis and promotes the effect of tamoxifen in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells. EJC Supplements, 8, 5–81.