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Beilby Medal and Prize 2017

Ken-Tye Yong

8 May 2017

We are delighted to announce that Ken Tye Yong is the winner of the Beilby Medal and Prize 2017. Associate Professor Yong, of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore is also the Director in the Centre for Bio Devices and Signal Analysis (VALENS) at the same university. He 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 by SCI's Materials Chemistry Group, the Royal Society of Chemistry, and Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) and carries a prize of £1,000. The award recognises work of exceptional practical significance in chemical engineering, applied materials science, energy efficiency, or a related field.

The Beilby medal is a memorial to Sir George Thomas Beilby, President of all three bodies, or their predecessors. Prize winners are evaluated for the originality and impact of their research, as well as the quality of the results which can be shown in publications, patents, or even software. The awards also recognise the importance of teamwork across the chemical sciences, and the abilities of individuals to develop successful collaborations.

Associate Professor Yong’s work has led to the engineering of various types of bioconjugated quantum dots and metal nanoparticles to specifically target, image, and treat cells infected with cancer and HIV virus. He has made significant advances related to the integration of nanotechnology with medical imaging and gene therapy.

He has also undertaken pioneering work regarding quantum dot toxicity and pharmacokinetics in non-human primates, a study that served to dampen some of the fears over the toxicity of quantum dots intended for applications in humans and indicated that the acute toxicity of quantum dots in vivo can be minimal, for appropriate formulations and doses.

Over the years, he has prepared alternative quantum dots for theranostics applications, including sentinel lymph node mapping, in vitro targeted cancer imaging, targeted gene delivery therapy, therapy of HIV-associated encephalopathy, and multimodal imaging of tumour in vivo. With numerous evaluations of these low- or non- toxic quantum dots on in vitro and in vivo models, it will facilitate the adoption of these nanocrystals by mainstream biomedical researchers and, ultimately, the clinicians.

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