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NTU EEE professor wins Beilby Medal and Prize for 2017

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Our NTU EEE faculty member and Director of NTU EEE’s Centre for Bio Devices and Signal Analysis (VALENS), Associate Professor Yong Ken Tye is a recipient for the Beilby Medal and Prize for 2017. He was invited to receive the award in London recently this month, at the Society of Chemical Industry’s (SCI) Composites 2017 event on 13 September 2017.

Prof Yong has led research in nanomaterials and biophotonics to improve state-of-art healthcare and medical diagnostics applications.

The Beilby Medal and Prize is awarded annually in rotation by SCI, the Royal Society of Chemistry, and the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3). The award carries a prize of £1,000 and recognises work of exceptional practical significance in chemical engineering, applied materials science, energy efficiency, or a related field.

This award was started in 1930 and is highly competitive. This is the first time it is being awarded to an Asia country in the last 87 years. Prof Yong is also the fourth Chinese to receive this award.

We catch up with Prof Yong on some of his thoughts about winning the award and his research involvements to date:

How do you feel and who would you like to thank?
"I feel very honoured and humbled to receive this prize, mainly because it ranks me in the same league of accomplished individuals who have won the award previously, and whose research works that I have admired tremendously.

I am very grateful to those who nominated me for this prize, as well as to my mentors and advisors, for their support. This award brings attention to the recent efforts on using nanomaterials and biophotonics to improve state-of-the-art healthcare and medical diagnostics, and will thereby help to create new imaging and therapy solutions to combat and cure human diseases such as cancers, diabetes and HIV-related sickness."

Why were you awarded the Beilby Medal and Prize? Also, tell us more about the project that won you the Beilby medal and prize? 
"I am awarded the Beilby Medal and Prize based on my contributions on engineering of various types of nanoparticles to specifically target, image, and treat cells infected with cancer and HIV virus. In addition, these works aim to advance the integration of nanotechnology with medical imaging and gene therapy. I was also involved in the pioneering work regarding quantum dot toxicity and pharmacokinetics in non-human primates. This study will help to translate the use of quantum dots in clinical applications."

What are some of the things you look forward to after winning this award?
"I will continue my journey as an educator, a scientist and professor to promote the importance of science and engineering to the undergraduates, graduates and public. I would like to urge more students to take up engineering as their major study. Engineering is a versatile platform and it allows one to fabricate their own desired career path for pursuing one’s own dream."

How has your NTU EEE journey been like so far? 
"To date, I have been in NTU for 7 years and I have enjoyed working at NTU EEE. This is because NTU EEE is like a big family to me and I have learned a lot from my colleagues. Many of my colleagues are my mentors and they have always found time for me whenever I needed their various times of advice and help. I have benefited tremendously from their wisdom in tackling challenging problems either in science or education."

What EEE-related projects are you currently involved in?
"Currently, my research group interests include engineering nanomaterials for biophotonic and nanomedicine applications, fabricating miniaturised devices for drug delivery and synthesis of nanomaterials, developing nano/microsensors for biodetection (e.g. diabetes, cancers, glaucoma, etc.), and creating devices for nanophotonics studies."

What are the future challenges you think students would face, and what should they do to prepare for the future?
"Engineering will continue to be important for Singapore and the world. Singapore is working towards becoming a smart nation and there will be many opportunities and promising career paths awaiting young engineers to grow and excel in the fields such as power management, e-healthcare, point of care diagnostics systems, telecommunications, signals processing, and control systems. Thus, NTU EEE students should try to explore and work in different research areas with our professors and thereby equipping themselves with the relevant engineering skills to face future challenges."

MEDIA COVERAGE

SCI Where Science Meets Business: http://www.soci.org/news/awards/beilby-medal-and-prize-2017 

Published on: 26-September-2017 ​​​​​​​

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