Datin Paduka Professor Dr Dayang Hajah Zohrah binti Haji Sulaiman (Datin Professor Dr Zohrah) began her career as a school teacher in 1988. A year later, she joined Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD). She obtained BSc Tech (Hons) in Applied Biology from the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology, Cardiff (United Kingdom) in 1987, MSc Food Science from University of Reading (United Kingdom) in 1988 and PhD (Genetics) from the University of Southampton (United Kingdom) in 1994. She was Deputy Vice Chancellor at UBD before she was transferred to Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) in 2013 and appointed as its Vice Chancellor on 1st January 2015. She spearheaded the transformation agenda of Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB). Today UTB has evolved from unknown to known University, ranks at 340th in the QS world University Ranking 2023, 126th in QS Asia University Ranking 2022, 40th in QS Global University Ranking for universities under 50 years old in 2022 and is also the nation’s only 5 Star-Plus University.
She was accorded the ASAIHL Fellow in 1996, the national nominee for the ASEAN Young Scientist and Technologist Award in 1998 and sat on various committees of ASEAN Committee on Science and Technology (ASEAN-COST in short) including as Chairman of the Advisory Board on ASEAN Plan of Action for Science and Technology (2006-2008), Chair (2011-2014) and national focal point (2002-2014) of the ASEAN-COST Sub-Committee on Biotechnology. In recognition of her contribution to ASEAN-COST, she was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal of ASEAN Science and Technology in July 2008. On 30th November 2021, Datin Professor Dr Zohrah was conferred an Honorary Fellow by the ASEAN Federation of Engineering Organisation (AFEO) for her contributions in spearheading the transformation of UTB into a world-class university. She is also a founding member of Asian Society of Ichthyologists (2014-). She serves as member of several national committees including Brunei Research Council, Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry (AITI), BDTVEC Council, National Accreditation Council and Knowledge Convention (Majlis Ilmu) and Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies (CSPS).
Her research interests are on biodiversity, aquaculture, molecular phylogeny and biogeography of fishes. In 2006, she discovered 3 new Gastromyzon fishes (Gastromyzon aeroides, Gastromyzon cranbrooki and Gastromyzon venustus) in Temburong river with her co-researchers from the National University of Singapore. In 2021, she along with her fellow researchers discovered new freshwater species of mussels in Borneo: (https://www.nottingham.edu.my/NewsEvents/News/2021/Scientists-discover-two-new-species-and-new-genus-of-freshwater-mussels-in-Borneo.aspx).
She also co-owned two patents involving biodiesel production from local paddy “Laila” with her PhD student. She taught genetics, population genetics and molecular genetics to UBD students (1994-2013). She is appointed as adjunct Professor at UBD, Honorary Professor in College of Science at Swansea University, UK since 1st September 2018 and Professor of Biology at Universiti Teknologi Brunei since 29th October 2020.
She received five state honorary medals from His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam: PIKB medal in 2001, Bintang PSB in 2006, Bintang SMB in 2011, Bintang SNB in 2017 and Bintang DPMB in 2022.
She is married to Dr Haji Kassim bin Haji Daud and is blessed with a son.