AsianScientist (Nov. 10, 2014) – Eight of Singapore’s top research scientists and engineers have been conferred the 2014 President’s Science and Technology Awards (PSTA) by President Tony Tan Keng Yam at a ceremony held at the Istana on November 4, 2014.
The PSTA are the highest scientific honors in Singapore and serve to recognize exceptional individuals and teams for their achievements in science and technology, and acknowledge their outstanding contributions to the research and development (R&D) landscape.
This year, the President’s Science and Technology Medal was presented to Professor John Wong Eu-Li, currently Chief Executive of the National University Health System (NUHS), Isabel Chan Professor in Medical Sciences and Senior Vice President (Health Affairs) for the National University of Singapore (NUS), for his distinguished and sustained contributions to Singapore’s healthcare and biomedical sciences research.
Said Prof. Wong, “I am deeply honored to receive this prestigious award on behalf of the whole academic medical community in Singapore who have built on what our predecessors have bequeathed us. Harnessing research to develop solutions for our healthcare challenges and equipping the next generation of professionals with the skills to address them will make this a better Singapore and enhance the biomedical sciences as a key pillar of our economy.”
The President’s Science Award was presented to Professor Loh Kian Ping from NUS for his breakthrough research in graphene chemistry. Focusing on the growth, processing and applications of diamond and graphene, Prof. Loh has led his team to breakthroughs in controlling the electronic properties of graphene by applying varying degrees of strain and even in the use of graphene as a platform for growth of stem cells.
The President’s Technology Award was presented to a team comprising Professor Wong Tien Yin from the Singapore National Eye Center (SNEC), and Professor Wynne Hsu and Professor Lee Mong Li from NUS, in collaboration with the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) and A*STAR’s Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R), for the development of a suite of novel eye image analysis technologies. This platform allows the doctors to detect and track the progression of three major eye diseases which cause blindness as well as to study the onset of systemic vascular diseases such as stroke, heart disease and diabetes.
The other winning PTA team comprises Professor Subbu Venkatraman and Professor Freddy Boey of Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Associate Professor Tina Wong from SERI. They are receiving this award for the development of a platform for sustained release of glaucoma medication. Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness globally, with Asians accounting for almost half of the world’s patient population.
The team’s platform utilizes a single injection of nanomedicine for the delivery of medication for up to six months, effectively preventing blindness caused by patient non-compliance to the regimen of daily eye-drop treatment. Already in clinical trials, the technology has also attracted interest from major pharmaceutical companies. The team has enriched Singapore’s innovation ecosystem by establishing a start-up to commercialize the technology.
The Young Scientist Awards were given to three promising young research scientists and engineers. They are: Dr. Zhang Baile and Dr. Wang Qijie from the Nanyang Technological University and Dr. Melissa Fullwood from the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore, A*STAR’s Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) and Yale-NUS College.
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