Future Projects - Faculty of Science

Development of high efficiency organic solar cells


Power conversion efficiencies of solution-processed organic solar cells have recently exceeded 14% through the development of novel high-performance organic materials. Further improvements in performance can be achieved with a better understanding of the factors that limit organic solar cell efficiency. This project aims to identify the structure-property relationships that govern organic solar cell performance and gain detailed insights into the approaches for optimizing the structural, morphological, optical and electronic properties of the organic materials.

Stability of polymer solar cells.


Conjugated semiconducting polymers are promising materials for low cost solar cell due to the ease of large scale production with roll to roll printing. However these materials require more study to determine their photochemical stability and thermal stability for use in organic solar cells.

Effects of local and global environmental changes on aquatic ecosystems


Aquatic ecosystems are at risk of ecological deterioration due to increasing local environmental changes and/or global climate changes. Brunei Darussalam has various unique marine and freshwater ecosystems throughout the country (e.g., coral reefs, estuaries, rivers, lakes) but many of the environments have not been explored and monitored in details. This research project aims (1) to study biological (e.g., diversity and physiology of primary producers), chemical (e.g., organic matter, nutrients), and physical (e.g., temperature, salinity) conditions of the aquatic ecosystems in Brunei, (2) to understand biogeochemical cycles of major biological elements (e.g., C, N, P), and (3) to develop a strategy for the conservation and management of the ecosystem.

Diversity of seaweeds in Brunei Darussalam and the search for useful substances toward commercialization


Seaweeds (marine macroalgae) have been globally receiving attention from many industrial areas (e.g, food, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, biofuel). Brunei Darussalam has a rich diversity of marine life but the diversity of seaweeds and their potentials as an economic source have never been studied. This research project aims (1) to identify seaweed species in Brunei and make a database of the diversity for conservation, (2) to study physiological and ecological characteristics of local seaweeds, and (3) to search for useful substances for industry and commercialization.

Unsupervised human activities recognition


Human Activity Recognition (HAR) is an important component in assistive technologies, however, we have not seen wide adoption of HAR technologies in our homes. Two main hurdles to the wide adoption of HAR technologies in our homes are the expensive infrastructure requirement and the use of supervised learning in the HAR technologies. Many HAR researches have been carried out assuming an environment embedded with sensors. In addition, the majority of HAR technologies use supervised approaches, where there are labeled data to train the expert system. In reality, our natural living environment are not embedded with sensors. Labeled data are not available in our natural living environment. We are developing a framework for autonomous HAR suitable in our natural living environment, i.e. the sensor-less homes. The framework uses unsupervised learning approach to enable a robot, acting as a mobile sensor hub, to autonomously collect data and learn the different human activities without requiring manual (human) labeling of the data.

Storage cloud-based smart devices for Internet of Things (IoT)


Smart devices in an IoT system, such as the smart home, either connect through their own proprietary server running their server side applications, or they connect through the user home network where a center device is running the necessary server side applications. The second approach is not flexible and not user friendly to setup. There is increasing number of systems that take the first approach of having their own cloud server. However, not all developers are capable of hosting their cloud server to cater for large volume of users. This restricts the development of large scale IoT systems to large companies. There is also the concern of being tied to a proprietary service. To address this issue and to allow amateur developers to build large scale IoT systems, we are developing a new form of connectivity for IoT systems by exploiting storage-cloud services widely used by general public such as DropBox and Google Drive.

Self-driving car


Self-driving car technologies are growing and maturing. It will be part of the future transport system. We are initiating our venture into this domain inline with our interest in robot navigation. In this project, we will build a prototype self-driving car and use it to conduct research works in the various aspects of self-driving car.

Ground- and Surface Water Investigation in Brunei Darussalam


Brunei relies heavily on its surface water resources for drinking water usage. This project will study hydrochemical changes at key sampling points (lake, river, groundwater) through longterm monitoring techniques using datalogger as well as passive samplers.The benefits of passive sampling over traditional sampling methods will be highlighted. Moreover it is planned to study the water balance of peat soils as well as perform groundwater mapping exercises using geophysical tools.

Ground- and Surface Water Investigation for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in Brunei Darussalam


Environmental Regulations, specifying the need for Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) are new to Brunei and only become mandatory in 2017. Currently a range of significant major projects, are underway such as the building of the Brunei Temburong Bridge, the building of a fertilizer plant in Lumut as well as the harbourfront development in Bandar Seri Begawan. One of the biggest project which is currently ongoing is the construction of a fertilizer plant in Lumut. Thyssen Krupp Industrial Solution is responsible for the construction of the fertilizer plant , which has a project value of more than a Billion Dollar. The EIA is a necessity for the project to prove that adverse impact on the environment is avoided. However the monitoring duration and assessment of the baseline conditions for the EIA are not clearly defined in the regulations. This project aims to perform water sampling and analysis as wells as install observatory groundwater monitoring points for monitoring and sampling at Lumut in the vicinity of the plant. The results aim not only add value to the EIA for the project at Lumut but also to EIA’s in Brunei as a whole.

Investigation of Formation Damage of a Brunei Darussalam Oil and Gas Reservoir


Scaling and Formation Damage can severely reduce the production of oil and gas. This project aims to perform scaling simulation as well as Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) studies to identify scaling and potential formation damage mechanisms. It is also planned to perform coreflooding studies to investigate scaling and formation damage under Reservoir Pressure and Temperature.

A Pilot Geochemical Atlas for Resource Exploration and Environmental Management in the Brunei-Muara District, Brunei Darussalam


Geochemical mapping of large regions is a challenge for applied geoscientists as it is a fundamental tool for the exploration of a plethora of Earth resources, as well as for environmental monitoring and land management. For this reason, regional-, national- and global-scale geochemical mapping projects have been carried out in various countries the last decades (e.g. Geochemical Map of Europe, USA, large regions of Africa, etc.).. The current project is proposed to cover the District of Brunei-Muara as a first effort to construct a similar Atlas in Brunei Darussalam. The area is dominated by sedimentary formations of Miocene to Quaternary age and characterised by various geological units, which have been accumulated from the discharge of ancient and modern rivers and their interaction with a marine environment. A large number of samples will be collected and analysed in order to highlight potential geochemical organic and inorganic anomalies. Subsequent interpretation of these anomalies will lead to implications regarding: (i) the potential existence of economic resources, (ii) environmental applications (e.g. biosorbents of pollutants, waste filters), iii) adverse environmental impacts (anthropogenic and natural) and the consequences to public health, and (iv) the provenance of the sediments and consequently the geological history of Brunei Darussalam.

Petroleum system analysis of Cretaceous-Paleacene Formation, Great South Basin, New Zealand


The petroleum system concept helps oil companies to decide which prospects are most likely to contain oil or gas. Source rock and reservoir rocks are critical to the success of a petroleum system, and includes generation and maturation of organic matter to become source and the migration of these source rocks to the reservoirs. Every exploration initiates with the evaluation of source rock on a regional scale. Of high importance in this scope is the estimation of hydrocarbon potential of the source rock. This information can be further integrated with various components of basin development, which include the rate of sedimentation, rate of subsidence, burial history and thermal history. In this study, the source rock analyzed are from the Cretaceous-Paleocene Hoiho and Taratu formations. Organic geochemistry helps determine whether the source rock has the capacity for oil or gas generation, and whether the source rock is mature enough for hydrocarbon expulsion. Reservoir characterization studies is another part of that study using well log data, and seismic section to discover the subsurface structural configuration and evaluate the reservoir quality evolution in terms of porosity and permeability to accommodate adequate amount of hydrocarbon.

Integrated petroleum system studies using source rock and reservoir characterizations of Taranaki Basin New Zealand


This study is a part of larger research topic of the analysis of petroleum system elements of Upper Cretaceous-Paleocene Farewell Formations of Taranaki Basin, New Zealand. The petroleum system is a unifying concept that encompasses all of the different elements and processes of petroleum geology, which include the crucial elements (source, reservoir, seal and overburden rocks), essential processes (trap formation and generation-migration-accumulation), and all genetically-related hydrocarbons which have migrated from one pool of effective source rocks to reservoir accumulations, shows or seeps. Relative timing of these elements and processes are very crucial for the accumulation and preservation of hydrocarbons. Petroleum exploration is futile without these elements, and hence, tits study is highly important.

Studying the microbial diversity in Brunei for applications in bioremediation and biotechnology

  • Faculty of Science
  • Contact:Dr Pooja Shivanand
  • Application invited for:B.Sc./M.Sc./Ph.D./Internship


Microbial diversity encompassing a spectrum of various types of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, algae etc.) is a promising national resource. There are more kinds of microbes than plants, vertebrates and insects combined. However, since microbes are small, they are least known. This gap in knowledge is particularly apparent for bacteria and other prokaryotic organisms. Microbes have radically reshaped life on this planet. They have not just adapted to even extreme environments on earth but can also consume just about anything, including metals, chemicals, pesticides, petroleum and natural gas—all of which are toxic to us. Hence these microorganisms play a pivotal role to ameliorate effects of naturally occurring and man-made disturbances in environments. Study of microbes will reveal novel biochemicals, enzymes and active ingredients useful to humans as industrial agents, food products, biopharmaceuticals, cosmetics, biofuels and more. Microbial diversity in Brunei has been less investigated till date. This region offers a niche for exploring this untapped natural resource.

Computer Vision Based Biodiversity (Plants, Herbs etc.) Data Analysis


This project is related to the application of machine learning techniques in the field of biodiversity (especially plants and herbs).

Augmented, Virtual and Mixed Reality Applications and Computational Modeling/Simulation - Data Analytics


This project is related to the application of mixed reality and computational modeling and/or simulation for various fields including e-learning, education, computational chemistry and biology.

Application of Machine Learning for the security of IoT and Cyber-physical Systems


For details contact thru email.

(a) Thermochromic glazing coatings/Thin films for solar control applications (b) Study the optical and electrical switching properties of doped VO2

  • Faculty of Science
  • Contact:Dr Voo Nyuk Yoong
  • Application invited for:MSc/PhD in Applied Physics


(a) The aim of this research project is to study the thermochromic materials, for glazing, whereby the change in optical property is revisable with temperature. This study mainly investigate the transition temperature of various transition metal oxides, dopants and deposition technologies in order to obtain the closest transition temperature to room temperature. This project will mainly be of experimental nature. (Available for 1 MSc student and 1 PhD student) (b) The optical and electrical switching properties of Vanadium dioxide (VO2) are of great interested by many researchers as VO2 behave like a semiconductor whereby the transition temperature can be tuned by doping with other elements. This study aims at investigate the switching properties of the doped vanadium dioxide. (Available for 1MSc/PhD student)

DFT Studies on the electronic structures of natural dye for dye-sensitized solar cells

  • Faculty of Science
  • Contact:Dr Voo Nyuk Yoong
  • Application invited for:MSc in Applied Physics


In this research project, the students will be studied the efficiency of the natural dyes using the density functional theory. The ground-state, electronic structures and absorption spectra of these dyes will be studied. (Available for 1 MSc student)

Graphene membrane for desalination of water

  • Faculty of Science
  • Contact:Dr Voo Nyuk Yoong
  • Application invited for:MSc/PhD in Applied Physics


Sea water is the major source of water on Earth. However, high concentration of salinity in the sea water makes it unsuitable for domestic usages. We aim to design graphene nanopores membrane for filtration and desalination of sea water. This research consists of studying the pore sizes and pressure of the graphene sheets for the salt rejection ability by molecular dynamics. After optimised the salt rejection performance, the optimsed design of the graphene with nanopores will be fabricated. Then, characterizations will be performed.

Lead-selective chelators on solid support for the encapsulation of lead


Lead(II) ion is a serious environmental contaminant from various sources such as pesticides, burning of coal and from automobile emissions. Another source of contamination is perovskite-based solar cells which contains lead that can leak into the environment via waste water routes. Perovskite-based solar cells have seen a rapid advance in research over the past few years (at UBD included), due to improved efficiencies which makes it a competitor for large scale and low-cost photovoltaic technology. Therefore, to limit human exposure, lead contamination (whether from perovskite solar cells or other sources), should be removed. There are several ways of trapping lead, among them are adsorption onto nanoporous materials such as carbon nanotubes (CNTs), activated carbon/charcoal, graphene oxide and other materials; through permeable functionalised membranes; or through the complexation with small organic ligands/molecules. Thiohydroxamic acids are small organic ligands that have been shown to bind selectively to Pb but have so far not been conjugated to solid supports. The main advantage of utilising solid supports is their easy removal simply by filtering away the solid, which contains the captured lead. Therefore, in this study, we propose to conjugate novel modified thiohydroxamic acid molecules which act as lead chelators onto a solid support such as magnetic nanoparticles or activated carbon, for the sequestering of lead from water and other environmental sources. Interested candidates should email natasha.keasberry@ubd.edu.bn

Phytonutrients in protecting hepatocytes from lipid accumulation and lipid-mediated cellular damage.


NAFLD includes a spectrum of conditions associated with lipid deposition in liver cells (hepatocytes) and inability of the liver cells to respond to insulin (insulin resistance). We have shown previously that induction of autophagy can prevent accumulation of lipid droplets in the hepatocytes and improves hepatic steatosis which leads to the pathogenesis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This project is aiming to investigate the biochemical properties of several promising polyphenols in inducing autophagy in liver cell lines along with their role on lipogenesis and insulin signalling in hepatocytes.

Food (including Halal food) Analysis


As an Islamic country, Brunei Darussalam strives to implement the production of Halal products, especially food, in accordance to Islamic dietary law. However, majority of the commercial food products in Brunei are yet being imported from abroad. Hence, there is a risk on food frauds to be aware of by the public. For example, contamination of food products by traces of pork material.Currently, we are working on a detection system based on Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) or Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) that could allow detection of low abundance pork DNA in food samples. In addition, we are also striving to develop novel methodologies based on electrochemical and colorimetric detection systems. In parallel, we are also attempting to improve the efficacy of each methodology by implementing nanotechnology on catalytic mechanisms, biochips production and so on, as well as to develop a detection system that can be utilized for on-site monitoring. Putting it together, our goal is to develop highly sensitive, highly specific, rapid, portable and robust detection systems that can be employed for on-site monitoring during Halal food inspection.Please email: <minhaz.ahmed@ubd.edu.bn> with your interests for updated proposals.

Microbial analysis


By targeting specific DNA regions of pathogens, RT-PCR can be employed for the detection of foodborne and waterborne pathogens for microbial analysis. Currently, we are in collaboration with the Institute of Health Science (IHS) to develop a detection system based on RT-PCR technique for the detection of bacteria, including Bacillus cereus, Legionella pneumophila and Staphylococcus aureus. Furthermore, we are also developing new strategies using tablet blister packs for the detection of White spot syndrome virus (WSSV), which has been associated with shrimps infection harvested from South China Sea that has caused huge economic losses.With the increase of undeclared importation of plants and planting materials from neighboring countries, local plants are more susceptible to dangerous diseases caused by microbes infections. Hence, we are also planning to develop strategies that can allow detection of harmful microbes to identify infected plants in counter for further damages. Please email: <minhaz.ahmed@ubd.edu.bn> with your interests for updated proposals.

Clinical diagnostics


Cancer is one of the leading causes of death not only in Brunei Darussalam, but also globally. human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)is a hormone commonly found in the serum of pregnant women. Presence of significant high level of hCG in men and non-pregnant women can serve as an indication for cancer development. Previously, our laboratory has conducted studies on the detection of hCG based on nanotechnology and electrochemical biosensing approach. By electrochemically quantifying the level of gold nanoparticles that are conjugated to anti-hCG antibody, we could indirectly quantify the level of hCG in serum. Using this strategy as template, we are striving to bring this methodology toward the detection of other biomarkers like sIgA (Saliva), C-reactive protein (CRP), Interleukin 1 Beta, Prostate specific antigen (PSA) etc. Please email: <minhaz.ahmed@ubd.edu.bn> with your interests for updated proposals.

Development of novel and smart nanomaterials for sustainable energy and environment applications.


Synthesizing novel and smart nanomaterials using green approach for sustainable energy and environment applications.

Fabrication of novel perovskites nanomaterials for energy and environment.


Synthesizing novel perovskites nanomaterials for possible energy and environment applications.

Development of graphene-based nanomaterials for energy and environment applications.


Fabrication of novel and graphene-based nanomaterials using green approach for energy and environment applications.

Construction and Evaluation of Homemade Smartphone Spectrophotometer in Studying Beer’s Law


Mobile phones have become part of our day-to-day activities and they are constantly changing the way we communicate and learn. The portability and ubiquity of smartphones has provided new possibilities for the chemistry laboratory to support blended learning and provide opportunities for entrepreneurial skills and environmental awareness. In this project, the students will design, build and test homemade spectrophotometer using a mobile phone and simple components with creative designs. The performance of the constructed prototype will be compared with commercial spectrophotometers currently being used in the laboratory in studying Beer's Law and absorbance spectrometry. This project will be part of a bigger collaborative project with a Computer Science final year student who will be in charge of developing the mobile Apps specific for the designed prototype.

Construction and Evaluation of Solid-State Ion Selective Electrodes (ISE) Prepared from Pencil Leads Coated with Conducting Polymers and Sol-Gel Membranes


The aim of the project is to fabricate ISE’s from graphite pencil leads through electrode modification with conducting polymers as well as sol-gel procedures. The fabricated electrodes will be evaluated based on their potentiometric response with pH and various cations and anions.

Spectroscopic and Electrochemical Properties of Selected Native Plant Species from Brunei


Many plant species indigenous to Brunei are unexplored in terms of their usefulness as functional food and medicine or as a source of compounds with special properties such as pigments for solar cell applications. This study provides a preliminary investigation on the availability of chemical components in plants that have special properties that may be utilised for various applications. The students should be able to integrate the theory and practice of spectroscopy and electrochemistry in solving real world problems.

Pan-tropical Forest Tree Project


This work is a cooperative project joined by more than 200 researchers worldwide. It currently contains data from more than 3000 individual plots, about 800,000 trees, including approximately 12,000 tree species. This data will be used for mapping and understanding tropical tree species distributions worldwide. Please contact me if you like to join by contributing your tree inventory data.

Brunei Forest Observatory


This project will establish a large network of permanent plots in the many undisturbed forest types of Brunei Darussalam. This network will function as a research infrastructure for the study of tropical forests under climate change. Data will be collected on tree species composition, tree growth, recruitment and mortality, soil parameters, climate and any other relevant environmental parameters. The idea is that researchers from around the world will come to Brunei to use this research infrastructure. We hope to have this project ready and running by 2016.

Forest Fragmentation Project Southwest China


In 2012 we established 50 permanent plots in forest fragments ranging in size from one to several 1000 hectares in Xishuangbanna, southern China. These forest fragments are surrounded by rubber plantations that have sprung up in the region since the 1990s. Again, the idea is that researchers from around the world will come and use this permanent research infrastructure to study the effects of forest fragmentation on both animals and plants. If you are interested to work in this plot network, please contact me.

Dynamic kernel density estimation in the chaotic advection problem


The aim of the project is to develop numerical strategies for obtaining accurate estimations of the tracer concentration fields from the ensemble of stochastic trajectory solutions of the Lagrangian particle dispersion model. Specifically, more information can be obtained in a stochastic problem than just a static density. We can go beyond standard kernel density estimation (KDE) methods by exploiting the fact that we are solving a dynamic problem. Hence we can introduce a new class of methods, which we will call the dynamic KDE (DKDE). The starting point of DKDE is the Green's function representation of the solution to the advection-diffusion equation (or Fokker-Planck equation). The Green's function for a short-time interval is then approximated by considering the leading order WKBJ series solution of the advection-diffusion equation, under the assumption that the diffusivity parameter is small.

Green Synthesis of Novel Schiff Bases


The introduction of new therapeutic agents to act against various diseases is very essential nowadays due to the emergence of diseases. Schiff bases are very potential compounds which can be effective against the problem of drug resistance and they have been known to be capable of exhibiting a wide range of biological potentials such as anticancer, antibacterial and antifungal. Recently, much attention has been focused on Schiff bases derived from amino derivatives such as S-alkyl/aryl esters of dithiocarbazic acids. The main aim of this project is to explore on the green synthesis of novel straight chain and cyclic Schiff bases using a variety of carbonyl compounds and amino derivatives.

Chemical Analyses of Natural Products derived from Plants native to Brunei Darussalam


Brunei Darussalam is home to some of the most diverse species of flora and fauna. Whilst folklore medicine is commonly known within the community, very little scientific backing and evidence has been published on the natural products derived from the endemic flora and fauna of Brunei Darussalam. The active ingredients found in these natural products may be beneficial or toxic to our health. The aim of this project is to study some selected local food products derived from selected local plants. Identifying the key ingredients in the plant extract may lead to the production of formulations of high commercial values, which may be useful for the local Bruneian entrepreneurs. Chemical analyses and investigation of materials will be helped by methods including, but not limited to chemical assays, heavy metal analyses, nutritional composition, spectroscopy and microscopy. We are actively looking for masters in research candidates, research assistants and temporary placement research interns. Interested candidates should email fairuzeta.jaafar@ubd.edu.bn

Developing under-utilised and agricultural waste materials for various applications


In the modern world, handling waste has been a major global concern. In Brunei alone, the amount of waste generated per capita is estimated at 1.4 kg per day. From the total waste produced, almost 70% goes directly to landfills. These waste materials have the potential to be a gold mine of functional materials. Therefore, our interest lies in the development of functional materials from domestic and agricultural waste. In this project, you will research methods of extracting useful materials from waste materials and its possible applications. This may involve making pulp or fertilisers from agricultural waste or small-scale recycling of plastic domestic waste. We are actively looking for masters in research candidates, research assistants and temporary placement research interns. Interested candidates should email fairuzeta.jaafar@ubd.edu.bn

Combining ultrasound and microbubbles for targeted drug delivery


Microbubbles are micron-sized, inert gas cores stabilised by a biocompatible surfactant in an aqueous dispersion. Introduced into the blood stream via intravenous injection, they react with ultrasonic waves to create very specific signals. This improves the contrast between tissue and the surroundings, effectively “lighting up” the blood in an ultrasonic image. More recently, microbubbles have been shown to be a promising targeted drug delivery vehicle. Drugs could be loaded onto a microbubble surface and upon reaching a specific site for drug delivery, the microbubbles could be popped to release drugs only at that particular site. This method of targeted drug delivery is of particular interest in cancer therapeutics as undesirable side effects could be minimised by only targeting cancerous cells and leaving healthy cells intact during chemotherapy. In this project, you will learn how to create, handle and characterise microbubbles using a variety of analytical methods, namely optical microscopy and ultraviolet spectroscopy. Once proficient in handling and characterising microbubbles, you will investigate methods of loading drugs onto microbubbles via adsorption to microbubble surface. Permeation studies will also be carried out in order to determine efficacy of microbubble-drug permeability as well as the effects on sonoporation on a permeable membrane and to see whether microbubbles improve permeability due to cavitation. We are actively looking for masters in research candidates, research assistants and temporary placement research interns. Interested candidates should email fairuzeta.jaafar@ubd.edu.bn

Marine organismal responses to global change - warming


This project will consider how intertidal ectotherms behaviourally thermoregulate and acclimate to the temperature extremes experienced when exposed in air. We are especially interested in unraveling the nature and mechanisms of rapid heat hardening. Other elements include multi-stressor responses, such as the coupled effects of heating and drying when air-exposed.

Metabolism and energetics associated with snails living under extreme and variable pH circumstances


This project will explore the constraints on energetic balance of circumstances leading to limited energetic uptake and the apparently high energy costs of life in acidified estuarine ecosystem. It will involve gastropods as a model system.

Machine Learning and/or Data Mining


We study and investigate in following machine learning algorithms: 1) Evolutionary methods for unsupervised/semi-supervised clustering 2) Metric Learning algorithms, similarity measures 3) Model-based techniques 4) Time-based clustering algorithms 5) Computer Vision algorithms With applications into 1) Clinical/Medical Data 2) Geology (Source Rock Characterisation; Raw Water Quality Analysis; Geochemical Atlas) 3) Material Science 4) Biology etc

Modelling and Identifying Driving Patterns of Brunei Drivers.


The main aim of this research project is to study the driving patterns of drivers in Brunei using time-series simulation and sensor data and machine learning techniques, identifying extensively detailed driving parameters thereby helping drivers to improve road safety.

Natural Language Processing and Text Mining


The main objective of this study is to develop a framework for identifying patterns in text. Based on the built model, we apply prediction techniques on textual data. This can be applied to various domains such as advertisement, management, social studies, medicine, education, etc.

Plant conservation in human influenced landscape of Brunei Darussalam


The Anthropocene has been proposed as a new geological period characterized by the impact of human society on native ecosystems. In an epoch characterized by rapid depletion of resources, large scale deforestation, rapid urbanization, extinction of species and aggravated climate change, agroforestry systems, small forest patches and homegardens are recognized as key factors within the landscape matrix, for conservation of biodiversity at the local level. Proponents of the emerging field of Biocultural Diversity also point out to the parallelism existing between biological, cultural and linguistic diversities, and the possibility of co-evolution and interdependencies between these entities that were hitherto considered independent of each other. In this context, the proposed project aims to study the plant diversity in the human modified landscape of Brunei Darussalam, including how the local community has contributed to plant conservation, and the economic, social and cultural importance of native plant species. We will assess: 1) the plant species diversity, 2) the contribution of the local community in conservation of native species and the economic and biocultural importance of these species. UBD students of Bruneian Nationality will participate in the research; final outputs would include scientific papers, conference presentations and distribution maps of endangered plant species in Brunei. The results will be an important tool for policy makers, researchers and local communities looking forward for the dual cause of conserving both biological and cultural diversities.

Revision of Osmundaceae fern family


Osmindaceae is one of the most archaic fern family, within the Flora Malasyana project I am conducting a taxonomic revision of this family for the Malesian Region. Up to now we know approximately 17 species in this area. The project is expected to be published in 2019.

Gold deposits in Borneo: Exploration potential and environmental impacts

  • Faculty of Science
  • Contact:Chun-Kit Lai
  • Application invited for:MSc, PhD


Discovery of high-quality gold-(copper) deposits is successively reported in the Sarawak, Sabah and Kalimantan regions of Borneo. Despite the economic significance, the extend of the Bornean gold mineralisation has never been well established. Recent discovery of extensive hydrothermal pyrite occurrence in sedimentary rocks highlights the presence of ancient hydrothermal activities in the country and thus gold prospectivity. This 2-year project (starts in May 2018) represents our first step to develop UBD into a regional hub of Economic Geology and Mineral Resource research. With an integrated approach of ore deposit geology, radiometric age dating, geochemistry, statistics and GIS spatial analysis, we aim to delineate the space-time distribution of gold mineralisation in Borneo and assess the regional/local (esp. within Brunei Darussalam) gold-forming potential. Meanwhile, we will also investigate the potential environmental impacts of Bornean gold exploration/mining activities. The project contributes to the further strengthening/diversification of the national economy on one hand, and safeguarding the nation from cross-border mining-related pollution on another.

Petrogenesis of Ophiolite Suites in Borneo Island and Comparisons with the Zambales (Philippines) and Othrys (Greece) Ophiolites: Possible implications on the Genesis of Abiotic Methane


Ophiolites represent remnants of the Earth's Upper Mantle and Oceanic Crust. Knowledge of their geotectonic evolution and petrogenesis are considered as fundamental keys to the reconstruction of the Earth's history and geotectonic evolution, as they comprise huge and important parts of the Earth's interior. Recently, it has been suggested that these rocks are responsible for the production and exhalation of methane of abiotic origin, which is a theme of growing interest. The present study deals with the detailed investigation of the Borneo ophiolite suite, aiming to unravel the complex geological history of Borneo Island with several implications on the geological development of Malaysia. Geological mapping in certain areas of interest in the Sabah region (Pulau Malawali, Kundasang, Ranau, Telupid, Beluran, please see map provided), collection and preparation of specimens, as well as their thorough microscopic investigation, employing polarising and Scanning Electron Microscope techniques, will be performed. Gas emissions from the ophiolite will be analysed, in order to test the hypothesis for the production of abiotic methane. The proposed research aims at: (i) unraveling the genesis and evolution of the Ancient Mantle and Oceanic Crust of the area of Borneo from the acquisition of data during a thorough petrological investigation, and (ii) investigating the role of these rocks in the formation of the unconventional production of abiotic methane.

A Pilot Geochemical Atlas for Resource Exploration and Environmental Management in the Brunei-Muara District, Brunei Darussalam


Geochemical mapping of large regions is a challenge for applied geoscientists as it is a fundamental tool for the exploration of a plethora of Earth resources, as well as for environmental monitoring and land management. For this reason, regional-, national- and global-scale geochemical mapping projects have been carried out in various countries the last decades (e.g. Geochemical Map of Europe, USA, large regions of Africa, etc.).. The current project is proposed to cover the District of Brunei-Muara as a first effort to construct a similar Atlas in Brunei Darussalam. The area is dominated by sedimentary formations of Miocene to Quaternary age and characterised by various geological units, which have been accumulated from the discharge of ancient and modern rivers and their interaction with a marine environment. A large number of samples will be collected and analysed in order to highlight potential geochemical organic and inorganic anomalies. Subsequent interpretation of these anomalies will lead to implications regarding: (i) the potential existence of economic resources, (ii) environmental applications (e.g. biosorbents of pollutants, waste filters), iii) adverse environmental impacts (anthropogenic and natural) and the consequences to public health, and (iv) the provenance of the sediments and consequently the geological history of Brunei Darussalam.

Neocortex Models for Athletes (NMA)


The intended goal of this project will be to design and to emulate neocortex models of athletes (NMA) using hierarchical reinforcement learning. The criteria used to design NMA is based on goals set by trainers/coaches for athletes in different sports. NMA will be tested using case based reasoning with the knowledge base already formed and evolving for different national sports.

Historical Heritage sites in Brunei Darussalam


The State of Brunei Darussalam is characterized by a very diverse and facinating historical background strongly tied to the sea. Most of Brunei has been underwater for the last 15 millions of years and, since then, it emerged very slowly up to its present position. During this period,offshore Brunei experienced a number of events such as sea level changes and biodiversity oscillations still visible today both on onshore outcrops and in the offshore deposits. Today the offshore harbors several coral reefs and preserves remnants of the Second World War which greatly contribute to the diversity of the marine life. This project aims to study all those past and recent events that have transformed the Sultanate into a sanctuary of biodiversity and richness. Brunei abundant historical sites need to be preserved, highlighted, correctly displayed for the local community as part of their heritage and have to potentially become very attractive to tourists and scientists to boost the local economy. The ultimate goal is to reach out to the local community and make it aware of all these sites and suggest how to showcase them to boost the local economy.

Benthic Biodiversity offshore Brunei Darussalam.


Foraminifera are major component in terms of biodiversity of the Benthic systems in the marine environment. It seems from Preliminary data that offshore Brunei harbors an extremely diverse fauna. Calcarinids, Amphisteginids, Larger Benthic Symbion bearing Foraminifera and all the small Benthics all seem to be nicely displayed to their respective water depth limitations. Studying their diversity and distribution will give us clues on how to interpret the palaeoenvironments of a lot of onshore outcrops.