Faces of A*STAR

Our Highly Cited Researchers of 2019

We speak with ten A*STAR researchers who were recognised as among the world’s most influential scientific minds in 2019.

Dr Florent Ginhoux, A*STAR’s Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN)

Dr Florent Ginhoux, A*STAR’s Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN)

“My work at A*STAR focuses on immunology, particularly on the roles of dendritic cells (DCs) and macrophages in immunity. A better understanding of these cells can contribute to potential intervention strategies to design better vaccines and more effective treatment for autoimmune diseases.

The recognition as a highly-cited researcher since 2016, gives me great satisfaction because it is recognition for the hard work my lab has done. It is a measure of success for basic research, which is important for me and my team - to know that we are doing impactful and meaningful work.

I have the opportunity at A*STAR to partner with academic institutions such as NUS, NTU and SingHealth and industry players such as Galderma and Merck MSD, which helps to widen my exposure to the wider scientific community and potentially translate my research into clinical use.

My other passions outside of work involves spending time with my family, my kids, travelling and jogging.”

Dr Loh Xian Jun, A*STAR’s Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE)

Dr Loh Xian Jun, A*STAR’s Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE)

“As human ages, vitreous, a gel-like substance in our eyes, becomes less effective leading to potential retinal detachment. In such cases, patients undergo a surgery to replace the vitreous. However, the current replacement material may result in several side effects including poor vision and additional surgeries to remove these substitutes.

My work in A*STAR focuses on the development of a new biodegradable thermogel, which will transform such retinal detachment surgeries. This thermogel has similar characteristics to our eyes’ natural vitreous. It could serve as a long-term substitute to vitreous, and helps to improve post-surgery comfort and reduces future complications for patients.

I am honoured to be accorded this accolade for the cross-field citation of my work. I believe that true impact is achieved by bringing researchers from multiple disciplines to work together. I am glad that my work found applications not only in business, in which I started a A*STAR’s spin-off company called Vitreogel Innovations, but also in healthcare. Teamwork is also critical. The credit goes to my team members who have brought about this meaningful research.

I’m looking forward to the next challenge and championing new areas including sustainability, waste plastics problem and new polymers.”

Dr Liu Zhuangjian, A*STAR’s Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC)

Dr Liu Zhuangjian, A*STAR’s Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC)

“I am honoured to be recognised as a highly cited researcher, and it would not be possible without the team’s effort.

Using numerical simulations in our research on materials and micro-structure systems, we developed new approaches to design flexible electronics devices which have excellent mechanical flexibility and make them attractive as wearable devices.

We are collaborating with public hospitals and local universities to produce stretchable devices for health monitoring. This next-generation flexible and wearable electronics also offer a wide variety of applications ranging from energy harvesting devices to smart prosthetics and human–machine interfaces.

Together with my colleagues at A*STAR and beyond, we combine mechanics with innovative engineering to design devices with more functional capabilities to improve lives.

Outside work, I spend quality time with my family and friends, swim and read.”

Prof Laurent Rénia, A*STAR’s Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN)

Prof Laurent Rénia, A*STAR’s Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN)

“In my research career, I am often motivated by the particular and unique feeling of discovering something new.

I love the beauty of science, and am inspired by the mystery of nature.

Having been at SIgN for 12 years, my team and I constantly strive to decipher how the human body fight infectious diseases with the aim to save lives.

Besides being a researcher at heart, I also make it a point to impart knowledge to the next generation of science enthusiasts, holding adjunct professor positions at the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, and University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

In my spare time, I enjoy running, traveling, literature and cinema.”

Dr Zhang Yong Wei, A*STAR’s Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC)

Dr Zhang Yong Wei, A*STAR’s Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC)

"I am truly humbled and motivated to receive this recognition as a highly-cited researcher for the second consecutive year.

The work I do at A*STAR is multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary in nature, and aims to reveal new insights and understandings across fields such as materials, mechanics, physics, chemistry and biology.

A*STAR provides me the opportunity to partner with local and international ecosystem players such as NUS, Nanjing University, China, Northwestern University and Rice University, USA, and my colleagues from other A*STAR research institutes, including IMRE and SIMTech.

My primary projects focus on exploring 2D materials for energy and electronics applications, improving current additive manufacturing processes, and leveraging machine learning to guide design of high entropy alloys.

My research serves as stepping stones for mankind to advance science and develop new technologies, and I derive great satisfaction from addressing real-world problems such as the continuation of Moore’s law, the need for new materials, and the need for green energy."

Dr Zhang Lili, A*STAR’s Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences (ICES)

Dr Shao Huilin

“My cross-field research work at A*STAR ranges from energy storage, to biomass utilisation and carbon/solid waste upcycling.

The research I do plays a part in building a cleaner and healthier planet.

I worked with local startup A&T Inno via A*STAR’s T-Up programme to recycle waste from incinerated tyres into ‘carbon black’, which has been tested by a major Japanese car manufacturer and has the potential to produce new tyres.

The recognition as a highly-cited researcher gives me great job satisfaction and motivation to continue striving for research outcomes that benefits our society and the economy.

Outside of work, besides yoga and gardening, I also dedicate my time at a non-profit organisation that helps protect the environment and animals.”


Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)

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