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Posted: April 24, 2009

IBN Research Attachment Student to represent Singapore at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair

(Nanowerk News) Singapore’s Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) is pleased to announce that its Youth Research Program (YRP) attachment student, Roderica Ng Rui Ge, has been selected to represent Singapore at the prestigious Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) which will be held in Reno, Nevada, USA from May 10-15, 2009. Regarded as the Olympics of science competitions, the Intel ISEF provides an opportunity for the best young scientists from all over the world to share ideas, showcase cutting-edge science projects and compete for over US$2 million in awards and scholarships.
IBN YRP student Roderica Ng (middle), with her mentors, Dr Edwin Chow (left), IBN Team Leader and Senior Research Scientist and Dr Jeremy Teo (right), IBN Postdoctoral Fellow
IBN YRP student Roderica Ng (middle), with her mentors, Dr Edwin Chow (left), IBN Team Leader and Senior Research Scientist and Dr Jeremy Teo (right), IBN Postdoctoral Fellow.
The Intel ISEF is affiliated to the Singapore Science and Engineering Fair (SSEF). SSEF is a national competition organized jointly by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Science Centre Singapore (SCS). Launched in 2004, this annual competition aims to nurture young local scientists and develop a life-long interest in science. Roderica won a Gold Award at the SSEF this year and was one of only 5 students (2 Individual Projects and 1 Team Project) selected out of 472 participants to represent Singapore at the Intel ISEF. Besides Roderica, 7 other IBN YRP students also emerged winners at the SSEF Awards.
A Year 2 student of National Junior College, Roderica will be presenting her project “Membrane Development for Application in Bioartificial Organs”, which was supervised by her mentors, Dr Jeremy Teo, IBN Postdoctoral Fellow and Dr Edwin Chow, IBN Team Leader and Senior Research Scientist, at the Intel ISEF.
Her grandmother’s experience as a renal patient motivated Roderica to join the IBN team that seeks to improve the quality of life of organ failure sufferers. At IBN, Roderica received the opportunity to contribute towards research advancement that would one day benefit such patients. The project she was assigned to forms part of the Institute's larger effort to develop a wearable bioartificial kidney for renal failure patients who are awaiting a kidney transplant. Together with her mentors, Roderica performed studies on a novel hemofiltration membrane for artificial kidney devices. These membranes can efficiently filter out unwanted substances from the body such as urea and creatinine, which increase as the natural kidney filtration declines. At the same time, they can also support functional human kidney cells, unlike currently available commercial membranes. By incorporating IBN’s new membranes and human kidney cells into biohybrid devices, the physiological functions of the kidney – hemofiltration of unwanted substances out of the body and reabsorption of nutrients back into the patient’s blood – can be mimicked. Existing renal replacement therapies lack this reabsorption capability.
Roderica shared her delight at her win, “Lots of hard work has culminated in this Gold Award. I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to my mentors and the research team for their unwavering support, guidance, time and effort. I’m thankful for the inspiring mentors and enriching research attachment I had at IBN. In fact, I have been sharing my IBN experience with all my friends and juniors to encourage them to pursue their interest in science.” Roderica has also won the Commendation Prize at the 2009 A*STAR Talent Search. This new initiative to reward students, who have performed well in scientific research, is organized with the support of the Science Centre Singapore.
“I am very happy with Roderica’s outstanding scientific achievement. She is a hardworking, intelligent, innovative and candid individual. Most importantly, she is not deterred by unsuccessful experiments, which are part and parcel of being a scientist. All these traits have contributed to her success and made mentoring her a breeze,” said Dr Jeremy Teo, IBN Postdoctoral Fellow.
“Roderica is a mature student with an insatiable quest for innovation and excellence in her research project. This passion has resulted in her outstanding performance. It was a pleasure to have Roderica in my team. As a mentor, I hope to inspire in students a passion for scientific research. The hands-on scientific research experience is invaluable in fostering the student’s creativity, independence and analytical thinking,” added Dr Edwin Chow, IBN Team Leader and Senior Research Scientist.
In total, IBN YRP students won eight SSEF Awards this year for their projects, which were completed under the mentorship of IBN researchers. These awards include 2 Gold Awards, 3 Silver Awards, 2 Bronze Awards and 1 Merit Award. Since YRP was launched, IBN YRP students have received 25 SSEF Awards.
“We are glad to see our YRP students go on to receive recognition for their work. The exceptional 8 SSEF Awards presented to our students would further encourage them to pursue advanced science studies and possibly research careers in the future. We are proud of all our students for their high achievements and extend our congratulations to Roderica for being selected to represent Singapore at ISEF,” said Ms Noreena AbuBakar, IBN Director and YRP Chair.
Roderica has also been appointed as IBN’s first YRP Young Ambassador. In this role, she will work closely with IBN to create interest in scientific research and nurture budding young scientists in Singapore through the Institute’s various youth outreach programs. IBN’s YRP offers full-time research attachments to students and teachers for a minimum period of four weeks. During their attachment at IBN, the students and teachers work on IBN research projects under the supervision of the Institute’s scientists. Since its inception in 2003, the YRP has successfully reached out to over 28,900 students and teachers, which include 1,009 attachments. For more information about IBN’s YRP please visit http://yrp.ibn.a-star.edu.sg/.
Source: Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN)
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