Croucher Foundation Presents Research Awards to Seven Distinguished Scholars (Issued on behalf of the Croucher Foundation)
07-12-2018

The Croucher Foundation held the presentation ceremony of the Innovation and Senior Research Fellowship Awards today (December 7), honoring seven distinguished scholars from four universities including The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), The University of Hong Kong (HKU) and City University of Hong Kong (CityU), for their excellent scientific research achievements. The Honorable Mr. Matthew CHEUNG Kin-chung, GBM, GBS, JP, Chief Secretary for Administration, was the Guest of Honor at the ceremony.

This year, three awardees were presented with the Croucher Innovation Awards, three with the Croucher Senior Research Fellowships and one with the Croucher Senior Medical Research Fellowship.

The list of awardees is as follows:

The awardees of the Croucher Innovation Awards 2018

Dr. Tjonnie LI Guang Feng (CUHK)
Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, Faculty of Science,
The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Dr. NGUYEN Tuan Anh (HKUST)
Assistant Professor, Division of Life Science,
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Dr. PAN Ding (HKUST)
Assistant Professor, Department of Physics and Chemistry, School of Science,
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

The awardees of the Croucher Senior Research Fellowships 2019
Prof. Andrey ROGACH (CityU)
Professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering,
City University of Hong Kong

Prof. MIAO Qian (CUHK)
Professor, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science,
The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Prof. WEN Zilong (HKUST)
Professor, Division of Life Science,
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Croucher Senior Medical Research Fellowship 2019

Prof. Sydney TANG Chi Wai (HKU)
Chair Professor of Renal Medicine and Yu Professor in Nephrology,
Department of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong

Croucher Innovation Awards 2018 recipients:

Dr. Tjonnie Li Guang Feng, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, CUHK
Dr. Li’s research focuses on astrophysics and gravitational waves. The CUHK research team led by Dr. Li has been a member of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) Scientific Collaboration and responsible for analysing data the from LIGO detectors. The recent detections of gravitational waves by the LIGO heralds a new era in which invisible black holes, neutron stars and other exotic compact objects can be discovered throughout the Universe. With support from the Croucher Foundation, Dr. Li will conduct research to unveil the nature and origin of compact objects. The objectives of his proposal are not just to provide a better understanding of the fundamental forces of Nature and their role in shaping the Universe. He hopes it will also have an impact on society through STEM outreach, international exposure and interdisciplinary big data research. (Dr. Tjonnie Li Guang Feng’s biography is attached)

Dr. Nguyen Tuan Anh, Assistant Professor, Division of Life Science, HKUST
Dr. Nguyen focuses on the comprehensively understanding of how the modulated and structured elements of pri-miRNAs are recognized and interacted with multiple RNA-interacting proteins, enzymes and small chemical molecules, employing multidisciplinary approaches, including biochemistry and bioinformatics techniques. miRNAs present in organisms. In humans, many miRNAs are associated with human diseases, such as cancers and various neurodegenerative diseases. Each miRNA sequence is extracted from primary miRNA precursors (pri-miRNAs) through miRNA biogenesis. Dr. Nguyen’s research offers a fundamental understanding of miRNA-caused human diseases and a lead for designing artificial pri-miRNAs in gene knockdown technology. (Dr. Nguyen Tuan Anh’s biography is attached)

Dr. Pan Ding, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics and Chemistry, School of Science, HKUST
Dr. Pan‘s group has been applying and developing computational and numerical methods to understand and predict the properties and behavior of liquids, solids, and nanostructures from first principles. With the help of high-performance supercomputers, his group is seeking answers to urgent and fundamental scientific questions relevant to the sustainable development of water science, deep carbon cycle and clean energy. With support from the Croucher Foundation, Dr. Pan hopes to study the physics and chemistry of carbon-bearing phases at extreme conditions such as those found in the deep Earth. Dr. Pan’s proposed research project will help us understand better the deep carbon cycle and its impact on global climate change and human energy consumption. (Dr. Pan Ding’s biography is attached)

Croucher Senior Research Fellowships 2019 recipients:

Prof. Andrey L. Rogach, Chair Professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering and Director of the Centre for Functional Photonics, CityU
Prof. Rogach’s research over the past 25 years has focused on the fabrication and optical spectroscopy of chemically synthesized nanomaterials and their use for a variety of energy-related and optoelectronic applications, including photocatalytic hydrogen generation from water, photodetectors, light emitting devices, and displays. Prof. Rogach pioneered aqueous synthesis of a variety of colloidal semiconductor and metal nanocrystals. His earlier work contributed to the appearance and further development of what is now known as “conventional” II-VI semiconductor quantum dots and has been more recently extended to several other light-emitting colloidal nanomaterials, such as metal nanoclusters, carbon dots, and perovskite nanocrystals. Prof. Rogach will dedicate his Croucher award to the further development of perovskites, extending the use of these fascinating materials to a broad range of devices, namely, electroluminescent light-emitting diodes, photodetectors, field-effect transistors, lasers, and quantum spintronic devices. (Prof. Andrey Rogach’s biography is attached)

Prof. Qian Miao, Professor, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, CUHK
Prof. Miao’s research has concentrated on understanding and developing organic chemistry and molecular functional materials. The laboratory he leads, the Organic Chemistry and Molecular Materials Laboratory, has been exploring novel carbon nano-structures and high-performance organic electronic materials. His research team has recently discovered a unique self-assembly structure which allows the introduction of a variety of functional groups to organic semiconductors without sacrificing charge transport pathways. Based on this, a highly sensitive and selective sensing platform was developed to detect ions and proteins in water. Prof. Miao will dedicate the award to the research and development of bio-electronics noses for medical diagnoses. Prof. Miao’s team has recently synthesized the largest segment of negatively-curved graphene, which is substantial progress toward the eventual synthesis of new carbon nano-structures of negative curvature. (Prof. Qian Miao’s biography is attached)

Prof. Wen Zilong, Professor, Division of Life Science, HKUST
Prof. Wen’s research focuses on the development path and functions of cellular components of the blood system, and how their dysregulations cause human diseases. With the Croucher Senior Research Fellowship, he will continue to investigate the cellular and molecular principles that orchestrate the formation, maintenance and function of these hematopoietic cells under physiological and pathological states, which may provide new therapeutic strategy for treatment of related diseases. (Prof. Wen Zilong’s biography is attached)

Croucher Senior Medical Research Fellowship 2019 recipient:

Prof. Sydney Tang Chi Wai, Chair Professor of Renal Medicine and Yu Professor in Nephrology, Department of Medicine, HKU
Prof. Sydney Tang’s research focuses on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of chronic progressive kidney disease that universally heralds the development of end-stage kidney failure. He has made seminal observations on the role of the kidney tubule cell in orchestrating kidney inflammation and fibrosis in proteinuric nephropathies and diabetic kidney disease, the commonest causes of kidney failure worldwide. Chronic kidney disease affects around 10% of the world population and is a significant public health problem. The Croucher Senior Medical Research Fellowship will enable Prof. Tang to utilize high-throughput platform technologies to further dissect the role of innate immunity in different resident and myeloid cells during renal inflammation, a critical step leading to kidney fibrosis and ultimate organ failure. Novel therapeutic targets identified from these investigations could pave the way for future drug development to advance treatment of chronic kidney disease that currently lacks specific therapy. (Prof. Sydney Tang’s biography is attached)

Croucher Innovation Awards
Established in 2012, the Croucher Innovation Awards aim to identify a small number of exceptionally talented scientists working at an internationally competitive level and to offer substantial support to these “rising stars” at a formative stage in their careers. The scheme is designed to enable recipients to pursue their own scientific, intellectual and professional inclinations, to advance their expertise, to engage in bold new work, and to contribute to the development of education and research in Hong Kong. Each award carries a value of up to HK$5 million over 5 years.

Croucher Senior Research Fellowships/ Croucher Senior Medical Research Fellowships
The Croucher Senior Research Fellowships scheme was first introduced in 1997. It is awarded to local academics who have excelled in scientific research work as judged by leading international scientists invited to provide confidential reviews of candidates nominated in a competitive exercise. Funds are awarded to the universities of the fellowship recipients, enabling the university to recruit replacement teachers to take over the award winner’s duties for the period of the fellowship. This enables the awardees to devote more time and effort to research work.

The value of each award includes a HK$2 million research grant and the cost of a replacement teacher/clinical medical staff for a twelve-month period, currently stands at a maximum of HK$994,860 for the Senior Research Fellowships and HK$2,426,100 for the Senior Medical Research Fellowships.

 

Mr. Matthew CHEUNG Kin-chung (middle), Chief Secretary of the HKSAR Government, presents research awards by Croucher Foundation to the winners this year: (from Left) Dr. Tjonnie LI Guang Feng, Dr. NGUYEN Tuan Anh, Dr. PAN Ding, Prof. MIAO Qian, Prof. Sydney TANG Chi Wai, Prof. WEN Zilong.

Mr. Matthew CHEUNG Kin-chung (middle), Chief Secretary of the HKSAR Government, presents research awards by Croucher Foundation to the winners this year: (from Left) Dr. Tjonnie LI Guang Feng, Dr. NGUYEN Tuan Anh, Dr. PAN Ding, Prof. MIAO Qian, Prof. Sydney TANG Chi Wai, Prof. WEN Zilong.

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