HKUST scholar wins DuPont award

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 October, 2007, 12:00am

A mainland chemistry scholar carrying out research in Hong Kong has been awarded more than HK$500,000 by a US company to further his work.

Wu Hongkai, 29, an assistant professor at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology's department of chemistry, has been made a DuPont Young Professor, one of 15 international scholars to win the accolade this year.

DuPont is a US-based chemicals and health-care multinational which has made more than 500 awards for scientific and technological development since the inception of the scheme in 1968.

The award, worth US$75,000 (HK$581,996), will be used to set up a laboratory, hire a student assistant and buy equipment and supplies over the next two years.

Dr Wu's areas of research include microfluidics, bioanalytical science and materials chemistry.

He said part of his research into single-cell analysis could be used to identify single cancer cells in blood and lead to early diagnosis.

'We are also studying the continuous separation of chemicals and the application of nanotechnology to diagnose pathogenic diseases such as avian flu,' he said.

'It is my great pleasure to be selected a recipient of the DuPont Young Professor Award this year,' he said, adding it recognised the scale of his research and was a tremendous boost to future projects.

Dr Wu, from Jiangxi province, took his PhD in chemistry at Harvard University in 2002. He joined Tsinghua University in 2005 after carrying out postdoctoral research in the department of chemistry at Stanford University. He has been in Hong Kong for about a year.