A Rising Scientist

Lo Yeung (Medicine)
The 6th Hong Kong University Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition – Grand Prize (Innovation) & First Prize (Life Sciences)

Lo Yeung is an award-winning scientist who successfully put his PhD research idea into practice. His project of “Highly sensitive, adaptable synthetic antibody-based biosensor for infectious diseases” is awarded the First Prize (Life Science) and Grand Prize (Innovation) in The 6th Hong Kong University Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition. Yeung described that the competition was not only a recognition of their hard work. The feedback from the judges also gave them more insights to refine their invention.

“It’s a DNA diagnostic tool to screen for infectious diseases such as malaria and COVID-19. The questions asked by the judges in the contest helped me to think about the further development of the tool,” said Yeung. Unlike PhD research, the contest simulated the industrial practice of the biotech world. Yeung and his partner had to go through numerous times of testing to get the product ready for launch.


Speaking of the biggest challenge in the contest, Yeung didn’t say much about the pandemic situation. Instead, his obstacles were more of his shortcoming than other external factors. The creation process involved a lot of cross-disciplinary research. Knowledge-wise, as he pointed out, electrical chemistry was a completely new field for him. Since he had no experience in this field, it took a lot of hard work to learn from scratch. Eventually, he picked up a new technique and successfully improved the sensitivity of the diagnostic tool.

Yeung believes that “persistence, endurance and willingness to learn” are the key qualities for him to succeed as a scientist. Even though he and his partner experienced a lot of failures during experiments, he never thought of giving up on his creation. Instead, he treated every failure as an opportunity to grow and learn.

Perhaps, the driving force behind Yeung’s perseverance was the positive impact generated by the diagnostic tool in the long run. Apart from screening COVID-19, the diagnostic device can also detect cancer and other chronic diseases. After joining this competition, Yeung realised that he could actually find different avenues to channel his invention into a larger user-base. Upon completing his PhD programme, Yeung will join a startup in Science Park, and he is bringing along his vision to the company. He hopes that his device will make a difference to the world, benefiting more people in the future.

More about Yeung:
Who are the unsung heroes behind the success of the 24th Recognition Ceremony Awardees? Watch the heartfelt thank you messages from Yeung.

 

Written by:
Tracy Wong
Year 1, Faculty of Arts

Video recorded by:
Li Yu Hong
Year 4, Faculty of Business and Economics (HKU Business School)

March 2021