Unique Scientist: Nur Izzati Abdul Ghaffar

Time to meet Nur Izzati Abdul Ghaffar! Izzati is a researcher from Malaysia in medicinal chemistry studying the synthesis of natural products and their biological activities at the University of Manchester in the UK!

What kind of scientist are you?
I am a current Master’s student in Medicinal Chemistry. My area of research revolves around natural product synthesis and their biological activities. So I’m a chemist who works in both the chemistry and biology lab!

What made you want to become a scientist?
My father is a physicist while my mother is a biologist. I have a lot of scientific influence/inspiration from them. I chose chemistry in the first place because that’s what I fell in love with when I was 15 years old.

Malaysia is a very biodiverse country, blessed with thousands of natural products and about 14% of the flowering species are known to have medicinal properties. But extracts from plants are difficult to export as drugs as there are many components. Pure bioactive compounds are more desirable and this is the job of a medicinal chemist! This is also one of the main reasons I pursue chemistry; to help my country excel in this area of science.

Another reason being the alarming decline in the interest of science in the younger generation. The new generation either misunderstands or generally not aware of what/how/who are scientists. To them a scientist is a person who works in a lab, stirring beakers all day. But scientists do more than just being in the lab! So I hope to inspire more youngsters to pursue science in their further studies and careers.

“The new generation either misunderstands or generally not aware of what/how/who are scientists.”

Nur Izzati Abdul Ghaffar

What makes you a #UniqueScientist?
As a scientist, I was often labelled as a nerd or someone who doesn’t know how to have fun. In reality, I am also a streamer! I have been playing video games since I was 6. I started streaming video games recently to share my passion for both science and games to the gaming community.

The gaming community is often looked down upon by other people, such as lacking in education, being a lazy bum, having no bright future. Well I hope to prove to the public that there are people (like me) who can do well in both their studies and video games too through my streams!

If you had one wish and could change anything in science, what would it be?
Rewrite chemistry text books for secondary schools. Stop teaching students the wrong theories and making them believe those are the fundamentals in chemistry!

“I have been playing video games since I was 6.”

Nur Izzati Abdul Ghaffar

Who has inspired you the most in your journey to where you are now?
Both of my scientist parents. Also:

Dr David M. Williams of the University of Sheffield, who opened up my eyes to natural products.

Prof Richard F. W. Jackson of the University of Sheffield, who made me fall in love over and over again with synthetic chemistry.

Let’s end on a high note! What’s something you’ve done this week that you’re proud of?
Apart from nearly completing my Masters thesis, my video game stream reached nearly 530 views last weekend!


#WomenInSTEM, #GamersInSTEM

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