Dr Ken Leung, Associate Professor of the Department of Chemistry of Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), was invited to deliver an oral presentation entitled “Controlling the Molecular Motion for Organocatalysis and Drug Delivery”, which won him two Asian Core Program Lectureship Awards at the 12th International Conference of Cutting-Edge Organic Chemistry in Asia held by Shanxi Normal University, Xian, Mainland China in November.
As the winner of the awards, Dr Leung will deliver an array of lectures in Mainland China and Singapore in the coming year. The awards reflect huge credit on Dr Leung’s research output, and demonstrate that his work on organic chemistry is well recognised by the selection committees in the two countries.
Dr Leung’s research combines the concepts of molecular machines and organic catalysts to generate specialty rotaxane dual catalysts with a fluorescence tag. Upon the addition of acid/base, the two catalysts can be reversibly “switched on and off” to synthesise the desired product exclusively from a mixture of starting materials. In another area, Dr Leung combines molecular machines and organic near-spherical dendrimers to look at the collective three-dimensional contraction-extension molecular motion of these nano-sized molecules. These novel hyper-branched macromolecules with mechanical bonds on every branching unit can bind with anti-cancer drugs and trigger an active drug release in acidic environments.