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Three NTHU Faculty Members Awarded National Chair Professorship
The Ministry of Education has recently announced the recipients of the 19th National Chair Professorship, amongst which are three faculty members of NTHU: Chiang Ann-shyn, Dean of the College of Life Science; Sung Hsing-wen, Professor and Director of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering; and Chi Yun, Professor of the Department of Chemistry.
 
Prof. Chiang obtained his doctorate in entomology at Rutgers University, USA. After completing his post-doctoral studies in 1992 he joined NTHU’s College of Life Sciences. At that time most researchers in his field were probing into the secrets of genetic sequences, but Chiang decided to focus on the transparency of biological tissues. In 1997 he developed FocusClear, the first water-soluble clearing agent for enhancing the transparency of cross-linking, agent-fixed, biological specimens. Making use of the interdisciplinary and collaborative research environment at NTHU, Chiang applied his tissue transparency technology to produce 3D photographs of the nervous system of fruit flies. In early 2011 he created a brain image database and made it available to other researchers worldwide.
 
With this brain image database, Chiang found that: ( 1 ) the brain neurons of the fruit fly use position to distinguish nerve signals; ( 2 ) the brain of the fruit fly responds to odor concentration by changing neural pathways; and ( 3 ) the fruit fly’s memory storage is limited to a small number of cells. This groundbreaking vertical integration model covering genetics, cells, neural networks, and behavior is expected to be of great benefit to future researchers in neuroanatomy. It was only in 2013 that large-scale research on neurological structures began in Europe, demonstrating the prescient nature of Dr. Chiang 's work.
 
In addition to his brain research, Dr. Chiang is also committed to expanding research methods used in the medical field and promoting high school education in brain science. Commenting on the award, Prof. Chiang thanked his students, colleagues who helped him in cracking the mysteries of the brain.
 
Prof. Sung earned his doctorate from the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1988 and then completed his postdoctoral research at the Biomedical Engineering Research Center at the same school. Prof. Sung’s research focuses on the blood hydrodynamics of the cardiovascular system. In 1990 Sung began working at the cardiovascular department of the Baxter Healthcare Corporation in the United States, where he focused on the development of artificial heart valves and artificial blood vessels. In 1993 Sung returned to Taiwan and joined the Department of Chemical Engineering at National Central University. In August 2000 he moved to NTHU’s Department of Chemical Engineering, and since 2012 has served as Director of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering.
 
Prof. Sung specializes in biomaterials, nanomedicine, pharmaceutical delivery systems, and tissue engineering. In recent years, Sung’s most important accomplishment has been the development of a platform technology using multifunctional nanoparticles that can assist in absorption enhancement and protease inhibition, for oral delivery of therapeutic proteins and polysaccharides. Currently, such large-molecule drugs can only be administered by injection, so the successful development of this technology stands to be of much benefit to patients. A related paper which was published in Biomacromolecules in 2007 has received worldwide attention and international media coverage, including ACS News, Discovery News, Fox News, the BBC, the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Great Britain; and Focus Magazine in Germany. As for future research, Sung is planning to focus on the development of a platform technology for oral protein drug delivery, which can be used in the development of an oral multifunctional nanoparticle system to replace injections of insulin, thereby improving the quality of life of diabetics. In addition, Sung is also working on applying his previous research findings to conductive polymer material, the results of which could be used to reestablish the heart rhythm of myocardial infarction patients.
 
Prof. Chi graduated from NTHU in 1978, and in 1986 received his doctorate from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After completing a year of postdoctoral training at MIT, he joined NTHU as an Associate Professor in 1987. This is actually the second time Prof. Chi has been awarded the National Chair Professorship.
 
Chi’s research includes four areas, namely: (1) metal cluster chemistry, especially the catalytic reaction mechanism of single carbon molecules on a metal surface; (2) metal organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD), which was used in the development of the precursors of high-volatility metals and has played a key role in the semiconductor industry; (3) organic light-emitting diode (OLED) phosphorescent material, which has been used in the development of a number of new high-efficiency, full-color OLED components; and (4) dye-sensitized solar cells (DSC), used in the development of a variety of highly efficient dye-sensitized ruthenium metals and a number of DSCs with a photoelectric conversion efficiency of over ten percent.
 
Prof. Chi has published more than 300 research papers, which have been cited over 8,400 times (over 11,000 times if including self-citations). Furthermore, three of his papers have been cited over 500 times, and 22 have been cited over 100 times; his h-index is 54. The MOCVD, OLED, and DSC technologies developed by Chi have been patented in Taiwan and abroad, and 13 of the OLED materials he has developed are already being sold in Taiwan, Canada, and the USA.
 
Professor Chiang Ann-shyn (left).

Professor Chiang Ann-shyn (left).

Professor Sung Hsing-wen.

Professor Sung Hsing-wen.

Professor Chi Yun.

Professor Chi Yun.

 

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