Prof. Emerita Datuk Dr. Asma Ismail is a woman of many firsts. She was the first female Vice-Chancellor of Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia and Universiti Sains Malaysia,the country’s first female Director-General of Higher Education, first female President of the Academy of Sciences Malaysia and the first woman to be the National Science Advisor to the country. She has a BSc (Biology) from the University of Nevada Reno (UNR), USA, M.A. (Microbiology) from Indiana University, USA and a Ph.D (Cellular and Molecular Biology) from UNR. She was also awarded Honorary Doctoral Degrees from the University of Glasgow, Keele University and Kyoto University of Foreign Studies (KUFS). She was elected to the Academy of Sciences Malaysia in 2003, The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) in 2010 and The Islamic World Academy of Sciences in 2016. Asma has 16 patents and commercialized world-wide the rapid diagnostic test for typhoid called TYPHIDOT. She received numerous awards including the National Academic Laureate, the most prestigious national award to a Malaysian academic in 2022.