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Medical technology and life sciences research garners awards

23 April 2012

Prof Lim (centre, holding award) at the 2012 Innovation & Enterprise Award ceremony. With him are: (from left) Mr David Ho (Vice-President, NUSS), Dr Andrew Wu (Project Director, Clearbridge BioMedics), Mr Johnson Chen (Co-founder, Clearbridge BioMedics) and Prof Tan Eng Chye (Provost, NUS)

An NUS researcher has received the prestigious collaborative research grant from the International Human Frontier Science Program Organization (HFSPO). The keenly competed award is presented to 25 proposals this year, out of more than 700 submitted worldwide.

The grants are given for a broad range of projects focusing on cutting-edge and risky research, with the theme of "Complex mechanisms of living organisms" for 2012. Each recipient gets a three-year grant of up to US$125,000 per year.

Prof Lim Chwee Teck, who is with the NUS Departments of Bioengineering and Mechanical Engineering and the NUS Mechanobiology Institute, is one of the team members of the Program Grant project on "Probing mechano-transduction by cell-cell junctions at the nano- and micro-scales". He is the only recipient from Singapore, a non-HFSPO member country.

The other team members for the project are Prof Benoit Ladoux from NUS Mechanobiology Institute and University Paris Diderot; Prof Rene-Marc Mege from University Pierre et Marie Curie; and Prof W James Nelson from Stanford University.

Prof Lim's work received further endorsement when his co-founded start-up firm Clearbridge BioMedics secured the Promising NUS Start-up Award under the Innovation & Enterprise Award organised by NUS Enterprise and the NUS Singapore Society (NUSSS). The NUS spin-off company developed the ClearCell diagnostic system which uses microfluidic biochip to detect, isolate and retrieve wholly intact circulating tumour cells from patients' blood samples.

The award which recognises innovation-based ventures in Singapore also went to medical device company BioMers, another NUS spin-off whose patented SimpliClear is the world's only completely translucent orthodontic braces system for treating a wide range of teeth misalignment cases.

Prof Ding Jeak Ling from the NUS Department of Biological Sciences and Assoc Prof Ho Bow from the Department of Microbiology clinched the Outstanding NUS Innovator Award for their work on the "Factor C" enzyme, as well as their ecological contributions in helping to save horseshoe crabs.