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Vol. XXVI, 3rd Quarter
July –September 2008

Filipino physicist, Singaporean virologist win ASEAN Scientist and Technologist Awards

Dr. Caesar Saloma, a physicist from the University of the Philippines, and Dr. Lisa Ng Fong Poh, a virologist from the Singapore Immunology Network, bagged major ASEAN science and technology awards during the opening of the 8th ASEAN Science and Technology Week July 7 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo conferred both awards.

Dr. Caesar Saloma was awarded the ASEAN Outstanding Scientist and Technologist Award in recognition of his outstanding and significant contributions in the area of photonics and signal processing. Photonics is a science that deals with the generation, control, and detection of light.  Dr. Saloma’s niche is in cutting-edge photonics research in which his group at the Instrumentation Physics Laboratory at UP Diliman was able to publish more than 80 technical papers in the United States and Europe. In his twenty-year stint at UP Diliman, Dr. Saloma developed novel and cost-effective techniques in optical signal recovery and retrieval, and mentored a number of PhD graduates in the areas of photonics and complex systems research.

One of the most significant researches of Dr. Saloma is the  Department of Science and Technology-funded technique in failure detection in integrated circuits (IC) in which he combined the capabilities of reflectance laser confocal microscope with single-photon optical beam-induced current (1P-OBIC) imaging to detect micro-sized failures in ICs.  The technology, being accurate and less expensive, could lead to lower production cost of ICs,  help prevent wastage losses in semiconductor industries caused by undetected IC defects. The reduction of waste is likewise good for the environment. Last year, Dr. Saloma was awarded a US-patent for inventing a method of generating high contrast images of semiconductor sites through one-photon optical beam induced current imaging and confocal reflectance microscope. 

Meanwhile, Dr. Lisa Ng Fong Poh was awarded 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.  Dr. Ng’s research group developed reliable and sensitive diagnostic kits for detecting SARS-CoV and Avian Influenza H5N1 viruses.

Dr. Ng is currently focuses on infectious diseases, especially on vector-borne diseases. Particularly, she concentrates on preventive and therapeutic vaccines, diagnostics, therapeutic antibodies, and other products.  She is poised to help in developing a framework that will deliver broad-range capability for disease preparedness, both epidemic and highly endemic in the tropical region like Asia.

Ceasar Saloma

Dr. Lisa Ng Fong Poh

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 is chaired by Philippine National Scientist Bienvenido Juliano, 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).