Nobel Laureates and other top researchers in Singapore to encourage R&D that spans scientific disciplines

Experts from around the world, including two Nobel Laureates, converge at A*STAR IMRE’s M3 @ Singapore 2012 conference to present cross-disciplinary innovations for applications ranging from energy to sensors.

Molecular materials research is not just one science but an intersection of a number of scientific disciplines. It is this cross-disciplinary R&D or ‘blurring’ of the scientific borders that is fuelling some of today’s greatest innovations – from artificial cell membranes that speed up drug discovery to ultra-high-density memory devices and super strong but lightweight composite materials. Some 120 top international scientists including Nobel Laureates, Prof Ada Yonath and Prof Kurt Wuthrich are in Singapore to talk about cross-disciplinary science at the 2nd Molecular Materials Meeting (M3) @ Singapore 2012 organised by A*STAR’s Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE).

“Molecular materials research is the marriage of traditional materials engineering and modern molecular science, and is a way to inject new designs and innovations in materials for novel technological applications,” said Prof Andy Hor, IMRE’s Executive Director quoting the example of IMRE’s artificial cell membrane technology which integrates materials and biology know-how to synthesize polymer-based cell membranes. Live natural cell membranes used in drug discovery R&D requires time to be cultured or grown, are hard to maintain in a laboratory, and require specialists to handle the specimens. On the other hand, the synthetic polymer cell membranes help speed up the drug discovery process as they are simpler to make, easier to handle and mimic the functions of natural cell membranes.

“Cross-disciplinary is the key for the exponential growth of new scientific innovations. An example for merging-disciplines research leading to advanced materials, including improved medications, is X-ray crystallography. This method generates information vital for the design of new compounds with desired properties by shaping our notion on chemical and life processes at the molecular level by exploiting physical methods and advanced mathematics,” explained Prof Ada Yonath who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2009.

Molecular materials science cuts across fields like chemistry, materials science, physics, biology, medicine and engineering. For example, by combining chemistry and physics know-how, molecular materials research is used to examine the structure, alignment of molecules and crystallinity of common materials, and alters them to produce new materials with unique properties.

The speakers will cover research topics centered on Materials Synthesis, Assembly & Device Fabrication, Energy & Sustainable Materials, Optical & Electronic Materials, and Materials for Imaging & Sensing. Companies such as Mitsui Chemicals, 3M and Aixtron and those involved in the molecular materials value chain are also participating in the conference as speakers and exhibitors. Participants will have the opportunity to interact/meet with these experts to gain insights into this new and exciting area of research.

The 2nd M3 @ Singapore 2012 will be held from 9 - 11 January 2012 at Level 4, Matrix Building at Biopolis, Singapore.


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Mr Eugene Low
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Singapore 117602
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About the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE)

The Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) is a research institute of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). The Institute has capabilities in materials analysis & characterisation, design & growth, patterning & fabrication, and synthesis & integration. We house a range of state-of-the-art equipment for materials research including development, processing and characterisation. IMRE conducts a wide range of research, which includes novel materials for organic solar cells, photovoltaics, printed electronics, catalysis, bio-mimetics, microfluidics, quantum dots, heterostructures, sustainable materials, atom technology, etc. We collaborate actively with other research institutes, universities, public bodies, and a wide spectrum of industrial companies, both globally and locally.

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

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is the lead agency for fostering world-class scientific research and talent for a vibrant knowledge-based and innovation-driven Singapore. A*STAR oversees 14 biomedical sciences and physical sciences and engineering research institutes, and six consortia & centres, located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis as well as their immediate vicinity. A*STAR supports Singapore's key economic clusters by providing intellectual, human and industrial capital to its partners in industry. It also supports extramural research in the universities, hospitals, research centres, and with other local and international partners.

About the 2nd Molecular Materials Meeting (M3) @ Singapore 2012

Organised by Singapore A*STAR’s Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), in partnership with other A*STAR institutes, research organisations and industries, the event, themed around molecular materials, welcomes leading researchers in chemistry, materials science, physics, biology, medicine, engineering etc. with the intention of developing cross-disciplinary and collaborative research ideas on the following themes: Materials Synthesis, Assembly & Device Fabrication; Energy & Sustainable Materials; Optical & Electronic Materials; Materials for Imaging & Sensing. For more information and the conference programme, please visit IMRE’s website.

Published: 06 Jan 2012

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