School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering (SCBE)


Name of NTU Supervisor

Research Title

Asst Prof Chew Jia WeiUnderstanding the fouling mechanism in membrane processes​
Membrane fouling is the Achilles’ heel of all membrane processes, which leads to the reduction of productivity and increase in energy costs. With the advent of novel direct observation techniques, the onset and evolution of fouling can be examined. The objective of the current work is to study the fouling mechanism so as to better devise fouling mitigation techniques.

Duration: 6 months
Asst Prof Manojit PramanikPhotoacoustic imaging – a novel hybrid bioimaging modality for early cancer diagnosis
​Advances in diagnostic technology have dramatically improved the detection and staging of cancer. Current imaging techniques—such as ultrasound, CT, and MRI—have limited ability to detect small lesions, however. Therefore, it is imperative to develop novel technologies for early detection of incipient neoplasia. Nonionizing hybrid photoacoustic imaging bridges the current gap with high contrast and deep penetration. In photoacoustic imaging (PAI), a short-pulsed laser is used to irradiate the tissue and the photoacoustic waves, excited via thermoelastic expansion, are measured by ultrasonic transducers at the tissue boundary. The key advantages of PAI include (1) good imaging depth, (2) no speckle artifacts, (5) use of non-ionizing radiation, (6) relatively inexpensive, etc. In this work, we aim to develop these novel imaging technology and their various biological (and clinical) applications, such as early cancer diagnosis.​​
Duration: 3-6 months
Asst Prof Manojit Pramanik Developing novel hybrid photoacoustic imaging modality combining ultrasound and optics Photoacoustic imaging (PAI) is an hybrid imaging modality combining both optics and ultrasound. PAI can image intact biological tissues at high resolution with optical absorption contrast, which is sensitive to physiological parameters such as the total hemoglobin concentration and the oxygenation of hemoglobin. Photoacoustic imaging is emerging as a new medical imaging tool for various clinical applications. A short-pulsed laser is used to irradiate the tissue, and the photoacoustic waves excited via thermoelastic expansion are then measured by wide-band ultrasonic transducers. The acquired photoacoustic waves are then used to quantify the optical absorption distribution. Since optical absorption is sensitive to physiological parameters such as the total concentration and oxygenation of hemoglobin, photoacoustic imaging can provide functional imaging.
Asst Prof Ni Ran​Dynamic assembly of active colloids ​​Active matter consists of objects or particles continuously converting the biological/chemical energy to drive their motion. The interest in studying active matter originates from the wish to understand the intriguing self- organization phenomena in nature, e.g. bird flocks, bacteria colonies, tissue repair, and cell cytoskeleton. Very recently, breakthroughs in particle synthesis enabled the fabrication of active colloidal microswimmers, which have quickly shown promise in applications such as biosensing, drug delivery, etc. In this project, we will use computer simulations to investigate the dynamic pattern formation in systems of active colloids.
Asst Prof Ni RanComputational design of polyelectrolyte for drug delivery ​​Hierarchical progress in modern drug delivery starts with the use of polymer carriers to elicit spatiotemporal release of therapeutics in both pulsatile dose delivery products and implanted reservoir systems. Recent advances in polymer science have offered great opportunities for developing a new nano-medicine platform for drug delivery. In this project, we will use computer simulation to study the complexation of drug molecules​ with oppositely charged polyelectrolytes of different topological structures to realise a rational design of polyelectrolyte systems for drug delivery.
Asst Prof Ni RanSelf-assembly of photonic crystals using anisotropic colloids ​​​Colloidal crystals with complete photonic bandgaps (PBGs) in the visivle region provide a versatile platform for fabricating photonic semiconductors with many applications for optical communications, information technology, solar energy harvesting, and medical diagnostics, etc. To fabricate 3D photonic crystals various techniques have been used, including photolithog- raphy and etching techniques, which require complicated processes and clean room environment and the efficiency is very low. In this projects, we will use computer simulation to study systems of anisotropic colloids self-assembling into photonic crystals, which may open new possibilities for guiding the large scale fabrication of photonic materials in experiments.
​​Asst Prof Tan Meng How​Development of novel CRISPR-Cas technologies for genome engineering
In recent years, the CRISPR-Cas system has emerged as a powerful tool for engineering complex genomes. Besides DNA editing, it can be adapted to perform a suite of other functions, including gene regulation, epigenome editing, 3D chromosome re-organization, and genomic imaging. However, existing CRISPR-Cas technologies still suffer from several shortcomings that preclude their widespread adoption in the clinic. The student will be involved in our lab's efforts to alleviate some of these shortcomings, so that we can bring CRISPR-based therapeutics closer to reality.

Duration: 6 months​​​

Asst Prof Wang Mingfeng

New chemistry and environment-benign processing of semiconducting polymers for printable electronic devices

To develop new synthetic and processing protocols of low-bandgap polymers with tunable molecular structures and optoelectronic properties for the next generation of printable optoelectronic devices.
Asst Prof Wang Mingfeng Development of novel near-infrared luminescent molecules for non-invasive deep-tissue cancer imaging and therapy This project involves molecular design, synthesis and engineering of functional molecules with strong near-infrared luminescence for improving the safety and reliability of bioimaging, disease diagnosis and therapy. The student involved in this project will gain valuable and highly interdisciplinary training across disciplines of Organic Chemistry, Materials Science and Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering.
Assoc Prof Chew Sing Yian Scaffold-mediated delivery of non-coding RNAs to direct cell fate We hypothesize that substrate topography plays a significant role in dictating cell fate. Combined with biochemical signaling in the form of non-coding RNAs, synergistic cues may be presented to enhance stem cell commitment. The objective of this project is to understand the effects of substrate topography in directing cell differentiation and uptake/silencing of genes by siRNA/miRNA-mediated pathways.
Assoc Prof Lee Jong MinNoble nanomaterials cells are recognized as efficient, green energy conversion technology, and can directly convert chemical energy to electrical energy, which has high energy conversion efficiency, low pollution, and fuel diversification. Low-temperature polymer electrolyte fuel cells (LPEFCs), such as proton-exchange membrane fuel cells, direct alcohol fuel cells, and direct formic acid fuel cells are regarded as promising power sources for automotive, portable and stationary systems. Platinum-electrocatalytic oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) is one of the key reactions in LPEFCs.​​ ​
Assoc Prof Sierin LimBacterial Cellulose for Medical and Cosmetic Applications​Cellulose is one of the most abundant materials on earth. It is the major component of wood and are used to make paper. Certain type of bacteria has been found to produce cellulose that is much more pure compared to wood-derived cellulose. Our lab explores various aspects of bacterial cellulose (BC) ranging from genetics to enhance the BC production to designing BC-hybrid materials for applications in medicine, electronics, food, and cosmetics. Interesting ideas on expanding the system are welcome.
Assoc Prof Sierin Lim
Protein Nanocages as Biosurfactant​
Protein nanocages are formed by the self-assembly of discrete numbers of protein subunits into hollow caged structure. Our lab has found that these protein nanocages stabilize oil-in-water emulsion and serve as biosurfactant. We are currently investigating several aspects of the system ranging from protein structure at the oil/water interface, basic characterizations of the system (e.g. stability), loading of small molecules into the system for applications in food and cosmetics. We welcome anyone with interests in bioengineering, biophysics, and materials science.​
Assoc Prof Sierin Lim
Engineering Bacteria for Synthesis of Nanomaterials
Our lab has been interested in rewiring bacterial metabolic pathway to produce nanoparticles of defined size and shape. These bacteria-synthesized nanoparticles have interesting properties that we have been exploring for molecular electronics and nanomagnets. The activities range from the engineering of the bacteria to protein design to the characterizations of the system. Anyone interested in pushing the boundaries are welcome to propose their ideas.​
Asst Prof Paul Liu Wen
Hypothesis-driven synthesis of selective hydrogenation catalysts

Hydrogenation is a class of important feedstock upgrading processes in the chemical industry. In particular, the selective hydrogenation of chemically stable double bonds over chemically unstable ones and the partial hydrogenation of C=C to C=C bonds have been long standing challenges in heterogeneous catalysis. This project aims to design, synthesise, test and characterise novel supported metal catalysts for selective hydrogenation reactions. This will be achieved through tuning the activity and selectivity of the active sites by means such as alloying, support doping, defect engineering and nanostructure engineering.

Duration = 5 months

Asst Prof Paul Liu WenRuddlesden-Popper phase oxides as catalysts supports

Ruddlesden-Popper (RP) phases are a type of perovskite structure that consists of two-dimensional perovskite-like octahedra interlayered with large cations. Owing to the stable layered structure, RP phases can accommodate high degrees of oxygen non-stoichiometry, as well as highly redox active metal centres. The aim of this project is exploit the high oxygen conductivities of RP phases as heterogeneous catalysts supports for oxidative reactions. The research will involve hypothesising and designing new formulations of RP materials to simultaneously achieve (i) high catalytic activity and (ii) long-term stability.

Duration = 5 months

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