Three HKU researchers elected Innovators Under 35 for the Asia Pacific Region by MIT Technology Review

Three researchers at the Faculty of Engineering of the University are among the 20 Innovators Under 35 selected for the Asia Pacific Region by MIT Technology Review, a prestigious global news media on important new technologies under the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The 2020 list of regional awardees was announced on December 3. The outstanding young innovators under the age of 35 will be joining the list of Under 35 honourees including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page since the award was launched in 1999 by MIT Technology Review.

The 2020 regional awardees were selected from a pool of 200 exceptional candidates. They are considered to be trailblazers in their fields and leaders of the next generation of technological breakthroughs. Their work includes applications in agriculture, artificial intelligence, biomedicine, construction, energy, new materials, robotics, and water.

Of the 20 awardees, 10 are from Singapore, four from Hong Kong, two from Australia and the rest from Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Taiwan. They will be honoured at the EmTech Asia conference held on 25-26 February 2020 in Singapore.

The three HKU Innovators Under 35 are:
Hao Guo
Postdoc Fellow, Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, HKU
Dr Guo’s research mainly focuses on fundamental mechanism investigation and novel materials development in advanced membrane-based water treatment and seawater desalination for sustainable water production. Targeting disaster relief and less developed regions, Dr GUO and his teammates invented an electricity- and chemical- free membrane filter for rapid water purification under the funding support of the Innovation and Technology Fund from the Hong Kong Government’s Innovation and Technology Commission. This invention won a Gold Medal at the 47th International Exhibition of Inventions Geneva. The technique has been successfully licensed to a Hong Kong based company for further commercialisation.

Dr Ziyan Guo
PhD Researcher, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, HKU
Dr Guo’s research focus on innovating robotic devices for interventions requiring magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) guidance, e.g. stereotactic neurosurgery, and cardiac catheterisation. She developed a world-first intra-operative Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)-guided neurosurgical robot with her team which is capable of navigating bilateral stereotactic tools through both left and right burr holes.

Dr Ping Luo
Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Engineering, HKU
Dr Luo’s research focuses on developing Computer Vision (CV) and AI technologies to understand human behaviors such as faces, emotions, actions and social relationships, in order to advance human/AI paired systems that outperform their singular counterparts. His groundbreaking researches included delving deeply into understanding the foundations of deep learning including autonomous machine learning, normalisation, and optimisation of deep neural networks. He also contributes many popular benchmarks to facilitate AI and computer vision researches for both academia and industry such as CelebA and DeepFashion. CelebA is the most widely used image database for face image generation. DeepFashion is the largest image database for understanding fashion trend by analysing clothing images.

HKU Vice-President (Research) Professor Andy Hor is delighted to see so many young HKU researchers making a significant impact in innovation. He said, “Out of 20 young winning innovators in Asia Pacific, four are from HK, and three of them are from HKU, which demonstrates our dedication, commitment and impact in cultivating research and innovation excellence across different fields, as well as offering sustainable value to our communities and beyond the academic world. These young talents are key to the future of Hong Kong and they are model of our young generation of students. They will help build the future of Hong Kong and hence have our deep appreciation and support, and thus well deserving congratulations!”

Professor Christopher Chao, Dean of Engineering of HKU, also commented, “We are delighted to learn that among the four honourees, three of them are from HKU Engineering. This indeed represents a great encouragement to our young engineers who are being recognised globally. This is also the second consecutive year of our young academics being awarded. It gives strong impetus to the young scientists, not only to our university, but to Hong Kong as a whole. It will definitely motivate fellow scientists and engineers to have more innovative researches in the future.”

The peer-reviewed annual award was established by MIT Technology Review in 1999 to recognise outstanding young innovators under the age of 35. In 2010, regional versions of the award were introduced to cover areas including Latin America, Europe, China, India, the Middle East and Southeast Asia/Oceania.