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New Hong Kong University of Science and Technology undergraduate program in bioengineering will expose students to an exciting world of discovery using diverse cutting-edge technologies

The School of Engineering of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) recently announced that it will be launching a new undergraduate program in Bioengineering that offers students the opportunity to conduct their research in leading overseas universities. The program will simultaneously create and nurture leaders in biomedical technology and big data in support of the Hong Kong government’s focused effort to spearhead the development of these fields.

HKUST’s bioengineering program aims to educate the next generation of bioengineers. Drawing upon the university’s strength in science and engineering, the program is conceived to prepare students for career opportunities in local and regional industries in pharmaceuticals and biomedical devices, biosensors, healthcare analytics, biotechnology and healthcare products, and to help stimulate and nurture innovative minds to tackle challenging bioengineering research initiatives in a very competitive global environment.

Prof Ying Chau, Associate Professor and Undergraduate Program Coordinator in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, stated that The Bioengineering Program has adopted a molecular-level perspective to tackle healthcare issues.”

The proposed bioengineering program is well-aligned with the mission and vision of HKUST. That is, to advance learning and knowledge through teaching and research in science, technology, and engineering, and to assist in the economic and social development of Hong Kong and China. In fact, a bioengineering UG program had been in the works since as early as 2007 and was originally proposed in the Academic Development Plan of HKUST for the 2009-2012 triennium. With the current socio-economic and technological trends locally and globally, HKUST has deemed the time ripe to launch the program.

The Bioengineering Program will be developed and taught by a number of rising stars in bioengineering research who are at the forefront of innovation and research. Its objectives can be summarized broadly as follows:

i.     To provide a holistic learning experience for students to ensure that they graduate with a good balance of engineering knowledge and professional skills, a desire to pursue lifelong learning, and a commitment to solving societal problems; and

ii.    To enable graduates to be successful in their chosen career path, whether in the practice of bioengineering, in advanced studies in related fields, or in other professions that demand a strong engineering training.

Prof Ying Chau said, “We take tremendous pride in offering this Bioengineering Program, as we are putting students on the cutting edge of engineering research, and preparing them for significant contributions to mankind.”

Prof Angela Wu, Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, is designing microfluidic devices that can capture and manipulate cells for different purposes including single-cell genomic analysis. While each microfluidic device can be used to investigate cells from a variety of organisms including bacteria, animals, and plants, one of Prof Wu’s main research focuses is studying tumour initiation in human beings, with the goal of understanding and preventing cancer.

Prof Terence Wong, Assistant Professor in the same Department, is developing a novel microscope that can determine whether any cancer cells remain in a cancer patient after an initial resection within minutes. This is a tremendous improvement on the current pathological procedures, which typically take as much as a week, resulting in some cases in the need of performing a second surgery to remove the remaining cancer cells.

Both Prof Wu and Prof Wong are making a significant difference to human health.

The Bioengineering Program will be launched in the Fall Semester in 2018. Students have to register for the HKUST Engineering program (JUPAS catalog no.: JS5200) within the JUPAS program choices modification period (July 12-14) in order to get into the major.

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