Professor Dr Menaka Hariharan obtained her medical degree from University of Malaya in 1970 and her post graduate degree, Masters in Pathology (Haematology and Blood Transfusion) also from University of Malaya in 1975. She was the first of two doctors to be awarded this degree in Malaysia. Subsequently she obtained the FRCPA (Fellow of The Royal College of Pathologists Australasia), Australia in 1985.
She was drawn to the field of Haematology and Blood Transfusion because of her intense desire to alleviate the suffering and change the bleak future faced by children suffering from Acute Leukemias. She was trained in Stem Cell Cryopreservation technology at the world renowned Fred Hutchinson Cancer Centre, Seattle USA to spearhead the laboratory aspects of Bone Marrow Transplantation at University Malaya Medical Centre. She was in the pioneer Bone Marrow Transplant team that carried out the first allogeneic bone marrow transplant in Malaysia. Subsequently she was involved in the peripheral blood (autologous and allogeneic) and cord blood stem cell transplants.
She rose to the position of Professor of Haematology and Blood Transfusion and when she retired, she was also the Head of Department of Pathology, University of Malaya. During her academic tenure, she has published many papers in both international and national peer-reviewed journals. She has participated in many forums, conferences, radio and television shows related to her field of expertise. She was awarded the “Tun Abdul Razak Research Award” to investigate the role of Factor V Leiden in thrombosis in young Malaysians. She was also a receipient of the Commonwealth Medical Fellowship to learn cytogenetics and molecular biology techniques.
Currently she is a part time clinical specialist at University Malaya Medical Centre and an Adjunct Professor at Aldwyn- John Gift Institute of Technology(AGIT), France ,which conducts research primarily in human safety testing.