Dr. Caesar Saloma, a physicist and dean of the college of science at the University of the Philippines received the ASEAN Outstanding Scientist and Technologist Award in recognition of his outstanding research achievements in photonics and signal processing.
On the other hand, Dr. Lisa Ng Fong Poh, a virologist from the Singapore Immunology Network clinched the ASEAN Young Scientist and Technologist Award for her meritorious research and development efforts on Asia’s infectious diseases, particularly on emerging and re-emerging diseases.
Both received the awards from Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as a highlight during the opening of the 8th ASEAN Science and Technology Week July 7 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.
Dr. Saloma has built a strong reputation in photonics research in which his group at the UP Instrumentation Physics Laboratory has published over 80 technical papers in prestigious science journals and popular science magazines in the US and Europe based on their numerous research works.
He has developed novel and cost-effective techniques in optical signal recovery and retrieval, and mentored a number of PhD graduates photonics and complex systems research over the last 20 years. Photonics is a science that deals with generation, control, and detection of light.
He is chiefly credited for developing a technique in failure detection in integrated circuits by combining the capabilities of reflectance laser confocal microscope with single-photon optical beam-induced current (1P-OBIC) imaging to detect micro-sized failures in ICs. This accurate and less expensive technology could lead to lower production cost of ICs, and help prevent wastage in semiconductor industries caused by undetected IC defects. The research was funded by the Department of Science and Technology.
Dr. Saloma along with research team members obtained a US-patent for a process of generating high contrast images of semiconductor sites through one-photon optical beam induced current imaging and confocal reflectance microscope.
Meanwhile, Dr. Ng Fong Poh’s research group is credited for developing reliable and sensitive diagnostic kits for detecting SARS-CoV and Avian Influenza H5N1 viruses.
She is currently working on infectious diseases, especially on vector-borne diseases. Her focus is on preventive and therapeutic vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutic antibodies, among others.
She is poised to help in developing a framework that will deliver broad-range capability for disease preparedness, both epidemic and highly endemic in tropical region like Asia.
Other finalists to the ASEAN Young Scientist and Technologist Award include Dr. Carlo Mar Y. Blanca of UP Diliman, and Dr. Navadol Laosiripojana of the Joint Graduate School of Energy and the Environment in Thailand.
The panel of judges includes Philippine National Scientist Bienvenido Juliano as chairperson, with members Dr. Yussof Mohiddin (Brunei Darussalam), Dr. Om Romny (Cambodia), Dr. Finarya Legoh (Indonesia), Dr. Sourioudong Sundara (Lao People’s Democratic), Dr. Mohd Zahit Ali (Malaysia), Dr. Theingi (Myanmar), Prof. Chan Eng Soon (Singapore), Dr. Morakot Tanticharoen (Thailand), and Mr. Le Thanh Binh (Vietnam)