Dr Edmond Ma, Associate Professor of the Department of Chemistry of HKBU, and his research team won the 2017 Third-class Science and Technology Award of China Association for Instrumental Analysis (CAIA award), for their exceptional research project entitled “Phosphorescence label-free G-quadruplex-based sensing platform for detecting analytes in environmental and biological systems”. Dr Ma is the first Hong Kong-born scholar to receive the CAIA award as the project principal manager since it was established 25 years ago.
For the project, the team developed a rapid, label-free and universal oligonucleotide-based luminescence detection method for metal ions, small molecules, proteins and enzyme activities in environmental or biological samples using transition metal complexes. Dr Ma said, “The successful development of this methodology could be highly useful for academic researchers around the world working in the field of analytical and instrumental chemistry. The discovery could lead to the development of a platform for the detection and monitoring of environmental or water contamination.”
Dr Ma is one of the few experienced researchers in Hong Kong who possesses skills from a unique combination of areas—luminescent bio-sensing, transition metal complex synthesis, as well as computer-aided structural design and screening. This unique meld of interdisciplinary fields is a niche research area in Hong Kong and Dr Ma’s team has made significant inroads into this research focus area. The CAIA award cements the reputation of the research group, further establishing them as a leader in these research fields.
The study was conducted in collaboration with Professor Leung Chung-hang, Professor of the Institute of Chinese Medical Sciences of the University of Macau.
The CAIA award, registered and authorised under China’s National Office for Science and Technology Award, recognises scientists and organisations for their significant achievements and contributions to the development of new technologies, methods and applications in the area of instrumental analysis.