AsianScientist (Sep. 26, 2018) – Four individuals and a team of four have been awarded this year’s President’s Science and Technology Awards (PSTA), the highest honors conferred upon research scientists and engineers in Singapore.
Two scientists were awarded President’s Science and Technology Medals (PSTM). Professor Lam Khin Yong, vice president (research) at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore, received the Medal for fostering closer collaborations between academia and industry. As a lifelong advocate of research with impact, Lam’s contributions and leadership continues to shape the pool of local scientific talent.
At NTU, his stewardship of the University’s research efforts have helped to advance Singapore’s transformation into a knowledge economy. Lam is also involved in charting the strategic development of Singapore’s high-performance computing capabilities.
The second recipient of the PSTM is Professor Judith Swain, visiting professor at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore (NUS), for her pivotal role in Singapore’s research and development. For over 15 years, she has held key positions in research institutes, universities and hospitals.
Swain also oversaw the inception of Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes (GUSTO), a nationwide study on pregnancies and early childhood development that has shifted Singapore’s public health policy with key findings on gestational diabetes and its impact on children. In addition, she has served on various governing boards and advisory committees in Singapore’s Ministry of Education, public healthcare system, medical schools and Research Centers of Excellence.
Meanwhile, two researchers were conferred with the President’s Science Award (PSA). Professor Loh Teck Peng is recognized for his novel synthesis processes and scientific contributions in the field of chemistry. Over the last 20 years, Loh has created dozens of innovative green methods for producing synthetic compounds.
A team consisting of Professor Tan Eng King, National Neuroscience Institute; Professor Ng Huck Hui, Genome Institute of Singapore; Associate Professor Lim Kah Leong, NUS; and Associate Professor Louis Tan, NNI, also received the PSA. The Award acknowledges their contributions in identifying clinical biomarkers and developing novel models and therapeutics for Parkinson’s disease (PD) over the last five years.
The only President’s Technology Award (PTA) recipient is Professor Stuart Cook at Duke-NUS, who works on identifying new genes and pathways for heart disease. Cook led a study in Singapore to find out whether mutations in the titin gene are responsible for heart muscle weakness in Asians. He found that the mutation was responsible for up to a quarter of cases in Singaporean-Asian populations. This discovery catalyzed the development of a commercially-available, next-generation test kit.
The PSTA ceremony also honors scientists under 35 years old. The Young Scientist Awards (YSA) were awarded to Dr. Xue Shifeng of the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology for her research on gene regulation in developmental biology; Dr. Liu Zheng, NTU Singapore for his research on the synthesis of two-dimensional materials; and Dr. Anjan Soumyanarayanan, Institute of Materials Research & Engineering, for his research in unveiling and tailoring emergent quantum phenomena towards scalable nanoelectronics.
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