PolyU wins two global innovation awards at TechConnect 2019

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) won two "Global Innovation Awards" at TechConnect World Innovation Conference and Expo 2019 (TechConnect) staged in the United States.

It is the third year in a row that PolyU research teams snatched the awards in the world's largest multi-sector event for fostering development and commercialisation of innovations.

The two PolyU winning innovations are:

"New Antibiotic Drug Candidates" invented by Dr Cong MA, Assistant Professor, Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology, PolyU, and Dr Xiao YANG, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Using computer-aided approaches in drug discovery, the interdisciplinary research team discovered small molecules with high potential to be developed into novel antimicrobial agents fighting against the superbugs. Based on a new target, new chemical structure and new mechanism different from the existing antibiotics, these compounds demonstrated great effect of inhibiting bacterial growth, yet with no toxicity to human cells. They are now approaching the pre-clinical development stage. New antimicrobial resistance mechanisms are emerging and spreading globally, threatening human health. These novel drug candidates could potentially be strong complements to the current antibiotics for treating infectious diseases.
"Seeded Sonochemical Coatings" by Dr Nuruzzaman NOOR, Research Assistant Professor, Institute of Textiles and Clothing, PolyU

Currently known techniques for coating/incorporating inorganic metal oxide layers on fabrics require high temperature, low pressure and specialised gaseous environments. Output materials also often face leaching issues, which degrade the original function (e.g. UV protection etc.).The innovative seeded-sonochemical deposition method, however, utilises the small seeding layers to direct a more durable overcoating for inorganic metal oxide layer. Processed in room temperature environment, pure products can be developed at high quality in a cheaper, faster and more efficient manner. The research findings can be applied to different areas such as functional clothing and glazing.
Ir Prof. Alex WAI, Vice President (Research Development) of PolyU, said, "These awards not only recognise the efforts of our researchers in conducting impactful research, but also affirms PolyU's endeavours in developing and translating our technologies into practical applications with intrinsic value for the benefit of the global community."

There are over 600 submissions at TechConnect each year, from global top tier universities and national laboratories such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sandia National Laboratories, Argonne National Laboratory and EPFL-LPAC etc. The Innovation Awards go to the top 15% technologies submitted. This year, 30 global awards were presented for non-US-federal-funded innovations across the world, while another 59 national awards were granted to innovations with US federal funding.

The PolyU delegation showcased 21 technologies this year, two of them received global innovation awards at the event held in Boston on 17-19 June. Besides attending various exchange sessions, the delegation also explored product development and co-operation opportunities with industry end-users, multi-national companies and academic institutions for applying the innovations for the benefits of the world.

Over the years, the TechConnect World Innovation Conference and Expo has connected top applied research and early-stage innovations from universities, laboratories, and start-ups with industry end-users and prospectors. More details are available from the official website of the event: https://www.techconnectworld.com/World2019/

Published: 20 Jun 2019

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