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A*STAR Researcher Awarded Prestigious Technology Review 35 Award


Dr Victor Tong Joo Chuan earns global recognition for his ground-breaking research to design vaccines more effectively.

Singapore, Singapore, August 27, 2008 --(PR.com)-- Dr Victor Tong Joo Chuan, a researcher at A*STAR’s Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R), has been conferred the “TR35 Award” for his research work on Personalized Vaccine Design. He is one of the 35 top innovators in science and technology under the age of 35 honoured by MIT’s Technology Review magazine this year.

Since 1999, the Technology Review has honoured young innovators in science and technology; and today that collection is the TR35, a list of technologists and scientists who had achieved success and made a difference with their inventions and research into medicine, computing, communications, electronics, and nanotechnology before they turn 35 years old.

Dr Tong leads a cross-disciplinary team focusing on developing algorithms that take genetic variations into account to help select antigens that are most effective for triggering immune response. This is especially relevant in optimizing effectiveness of vaccines because each person’s immune system is unique to the individual.

He is able to achieve this by creating 3-D models of human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-antigen complexes, training machine-learning algorithms to account for variations in immune recognition patterns and identifying important antigens that have the best potential to be effective vaccines.

The target of Dr Tong’s team is to create computational models for 120-150 HLA molecules, which should cover not only the entire Singapore population but also 95% of the global population. Together with A/P Ren Ee Chee, Principal Investigator at Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN), Dr Tong’s group is developing an integrated pipeline from computational modeling to clinical testing for development of next generation vaccines.

By matching possible antigens with the HLA variants most common in a population, vaccines of the future may be tailored to specific groups or, with personal screening, even to individuals. This development holds tremendous value for the medical community as it leads to continuing research to target specific prevention and vaccination for various infectious diseases and even cancer.

Professor Lye Kin Mun, Deputy Executive Director (Research) said, “I congratulate Dr. Tong on this achievement! I2R is proud that Dr. Tong is receiving international recognition for his outstanding research. This substantiates the quality of talent we have working within Fusionopolis and the importance of cross-disciplinary approaches to solving tough problems. We will continue to promote and support such efforts in the future.”

Dr. Tong and the other TR35 winners for 2008 will be featured in the September issue of Technology Review magazine and honoured at the Emerging Technologies (EmTech) Conference to be held on September 23-25, 2008 at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

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For media enquiries, please contact:
Mr Andrew Yap
Acting Manager, Corporate Communications
Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R)
DID: (65) 6419 1143 Fax: (65) 6466 7716
Email: jtyap@i2r.a-star.edu.sg

Background

About Institute for Infocomm Research
The Institute for Infocomm Research (I²R - pronounced as i-squared-r) is a member of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) family. Established in 2002, our mission is to be the globally preferred source of innovations in `Interactive Secured Information, Content and Services Anytime Anywhere’ through research by passionate people dedicated to Singapore’s economic success.

I²R performs R&D in information, communications and media (ICM) technologies to develop holistic solutions across the ICM value chain. Our research capabilities are in information technology and science, wireless and optical communications, and interactive digital media. We seek to be the infocomm and media value creator that keeps Singapore ahead. Website:
http://www.i2r.a-star.edu.sg

About Singapore Immunology Network
The Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN) has been conceived and designed as a strong core of basic immunology with all the necessary connections that ensure efficient translation in clinical applications. It aims to build on the strength of existing immunology research groups at A*STAR laboratories, universities and research hospitals, as well as expanding and strengthening the immunology research expertise in Singapore.

The major focus of SIgN is directed towards building a strong platform in basic human immunology research with special emphasis on a global understanding of the immune system under normal and pathological states, using systems biology approaches. The research extends across several strategic areas ranging from basic immunology to clinical translation. Website:
http://www.sign.a-star.edu.sg

About MIT Technology Review 35 Award
Since 1999, the editors of Technology Review have honoured the young innovators whose inventions and research we find most exciting; today that collection is the TR35, a list of technologists and scientists, all under the age of 35. Their work--spanning medicine, computing, communications, electronics, nanotechnology, and more--is changing our world.

Technology Review, Inc., an independent media company owned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is the authority on the future of technology, identifying emerging technologies and analyzing their impact for leaders. Technology Review’s media properties include Technology Review magazine, the oldest technology magazine in the world (founded in 1899); the daily news website TechnologyReview.com; and events such as the annual EmTech Conference at MIT.

Our insight into innovation assists technology and business leaders -- CXOs, entrepreneurs, researchers, venture capitalists, and financiers -- as they drive the global economy. With international editions in China, Italy, and Germany, Technology Review reaches more than two million industry and R&D leaders around the world through its print magazine, website, newsletters, and live events.

Additional information about past and present TR35 winners and judges is available at www.technologyreview.com/tr35/. For more information about EmTech08 Conference please visit www.technologyreview.com/emtech/08/index.aspx.
Contact Information
Institute for Infocomm Research
Andrew Yap
+6564191143
Contact
www.i2r.a-star.edu.sg

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