SMA hosts lunch in honour of outcoming and incoming Co-Directors | In person: An Interview with Prof Hardy Chan | Summer Course on Mechanics of Inorganic and Organic Thin Films | Open House on Computation and Systems Biology (CSB) | Mini Symposium on Computational Engineering for Biotechnology and Nanotechnology
A lunch was hosted by Prof Shih Choon Fong, Governing Board (GB) Chairman on 3 July 2006 in appreciation of Prof Ng Wun Jern who vacated his position as SMA Co-Director at the end of June 2006 and to welcome Prof Hardy Chan Sze On, who was appointed to take over the helm.
A total of 30 guests attended the function, including GB Members, Programme Selection and Review Committee (PSRC) members, NUS and NTU deans and Programme Co-Chairs.
From left to right: Prof Andrew Nee, Prof Hardy Chan, Prof Shih, Prof Ng Wun Jern and Prof Chua Soo Jin
In Prof Shih’s welcome speech, he thanked Prof Ng for his able leadership and dedicated service that had brought about the transition to SMA-2 smoothly and successfully. He acknowledged that Prof Ng had worked tirelessly to successfully implement SMA’s fifth programme in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Engineering. Prof Shih, on behalf of the GB, expressed deep appreciation for Prof Ng’s sterling contributions which had made an indelible mark on the growth of SMA and enabled SMA-2 to begin on a firm footing.
In welcoming Prof Hardy Chan, Prof Shih lauded his strong research and management track record and expressed confidence that SMA would be in good hands. As Prof Chan took over the mantle, Prof Shih assured him that he could count on SMA’s full support as he provides leadership for SMA, particularly in pioneering research and educational collaboration of mutual benefit to NUS, NTU and MIT.
SMA Connect recently met up with Prof Chan and quizzed him about his thoughts on his new portfolio as well as get to know more about the man who harbours a passion for motorbikes!
Tell us a bit about yourself
I was born in Macau and raised in Hong Kong. I attended school in England and completed my tertiary education at the University of Manchester’s Institute of Science and Technology in 1975. Before I joined NUS in 1981, I was a Research Chemist at Ciba-Gelgy at Trafford Park in Manchester, not far away from the famous Manchester United team’s home ground. I was working on flame retardants and stabilisers for vinyl polymers.
My research in NUS has mainly been focused on conducting and other functional polymers. I have also held a number of senior positions such as Deputy Head of Chemistry Department, Head of Material Sciences Department and Vice-Dean of Research in the Faculty of Science.
What are some of the challenges you expect to face in your new appointment as Co-Director and what are your immediate priorities in achieving the objectives of SMA-2?
Compared to SMA-1, SMA-2 has a greater focus on research and the training of manpower at the doctoral level. Our task is to prepare leaders for the technologically-driven economy by providing them with an education which combines creativity and entrepreneurship with world-class research programmes. Global competition for top talents is fierce and we will need to work hard to attract the best to pursue PhD degrees in key areas.
One way to achieve this is to give the research component of the SMA-2 programme more international visibility by increasing the level of collaboration with multinational R&D companies in exciting areas of science and technology. This will inspire and draw more students to SMA-2.
Any words of wisdom to share with students aspiring to pursue a programme at SMA?
SMA-2 is a world-class centre for postgraduate education and research in engineering and life sciences. First and foremost, you stand to receive modern, innovative, specialised and relevant dual masters or MSc-PhD degrees from MIT and NUS or NTU. You will be well-prepared to be leaders in science and technology combining academic excellence with a broad understanding of industry.
Second, students who receive and SMA Graduate Fellowship will receive full support for tuition, stipend and travel. You will be hard-pushed to find a more comprehensive and flexible scholarship.
Could you describe the collaboration between Singapore and MIT – to what extent has the collaboration helped to better academic and research standards locally?
SMA has provided an opportunity for NUS and NTU to learn and enhance institutional practices in both teaching and research by adopting and adapting best practices from MIT. As a result of the close multi-institutional interaction and collaboration between MIT and Singapore researchers, the programmes have produced high-quality PhD students and research publications.
What do you do for leisure?
I enjoy watching and playing soccer with my son. It’s a great bonding time. I collect guitars which I play whenever I find the time. My other hobby is motorbikes and I ride mostly in the weekends.
How do you balance your time between teaching, research work, managing SMA and spending time with your loved ones?
My loved ones are also very busy and so there is not a lot of precious time to spend together. It’s all about balancing, prioritising and time management. I am glad for my family’s support that enabled me to take on the Co-Directorship of SMA.
Do you have any parting words to share?
SMA-2 is a unique learning experience that is second to none. I’d like to invite aspiring scientists and engineers to come and participate in this premier programme in education and research between the three prestigious universities so that they can widen their career spectrum and at the same time, experience the feel of studying in a global environment.
The AMM&NS Programme held its inaugural summer course on ‘Mechanics of Inorganic and Organic Thin Films and Small-Volume Structures’ during 10 – 14 July 2006.
This intense one-week course helped build on a basic knowledge of mechanics of materials and aimed to equip engineers and scientists to design and work with materials for future applications in nano- and bio-technology.
Designed for SMA, NUS and NTU students, as well as scientists and engineers from industry and research institutes, the five-day course was conducted by A/P Lim Chee Teck, Prof Subra Suresh and Prof Carl V Thompson. There were also laboratory demonstrations which complemented the lectures.
Some of the students at the Session
The attendees gave enthusiastic feedback on the course, indicating that it was a wonderful to have learnt such a lot from it. It provided a good introduction to nanotechnology, thin films and bioengineering. Given the short duration of the course and the breadth of material to be covered, the speakers had offered a surprising amount of depth. Participants requested for some time to be spent on sharing research findings, as well as opportunities to perform experiments in the laboratory. They eagerly await more of similar courses to come.
Please visit the website at http://web.mit.edu/ammns/index.html for more details.
Open House on Computation & Systems Biology
Some of the participants at the tour of the BioImaging Lab
The Computation & Systems Biology (CSB) programme organised an Open House on 19 Jul 2006 as part of the SMA Industry-Research Institute Liaison (SMA IRI) initiative,.
Participants found themselves enrolled in a crash course on “Computational and Systems Biology - Emerging Trends” by Professor Paul Matsudaira, CSB Co-Chair, MIT. The programme also featured research presentations on the “Da Vinci Project” by A/P Sourav S Bhowmick, CSB Fellow, and “Neural Systems Biology” by A/P Jagath C Rajapakse, CSB Fellow.
A networking lunch ensued, allowing for dialogue and an exchange of ideas between industry and academia.
Industry partners were offered a glimpse of the Protein and Proteomics Centre, Biophysical Fluorescence Laboratory, and the BioImaging Laboratory during the Lab Tours.
Overall, the participants enjoyed the Open House and found it relevant to their industry, with some looking forward to more sessions that share the latest trends.
Mini Symposium on Computational Engineering for Biotechnology and Nanotechnology
Participants interact with SMA Professors during the tea break
A mini symposium on Computational Engineering for Biotechnology and Nanotechnology was held at the CIT Auditorium of the National University of Singapore on 27 & 28 July 2006.
Participants from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech) and Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC) came together to give talks on Nanofluidics Device Engineering, Nanofluidics Modeling/Simulation, Cellular BioMEMS and its Modeling, Dielectrophoretic Cell/Particle Traps, Network Modeling, Microfluidics Fabrication/Integration, Reduced Order Modeling, and Deformable Boundary Conditions.
It was an opportune time for the 70 students, academics, researchers and industry participants who attended the event to listen to the latest in research findings, and interact with both MIT and Singapore counterparts during the receptions.
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Last modified on 24 May, 2007