CUHK Professor Dennis Lo Won Ernesto Illy Trieste Science Prize for Contributing to Human Health in Developing Countries
Prof. Dennis Lo Yuk-ming, Li Ka Shing Professor of Medicine and Chairman of the Department of Chemical Pathology at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has won the 2012 Ernesto Illy Trieste Science Prize for his work on non-invasive prenatal diagnosis. Professor Lo received the prize from China’s President Hu Jintao at the 12th General Conference of the World Academy of Sciences for the Advancement of Science in Developing Countries (TWAS) and 23rd General Meeting hosted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences held in Tianjin. Professor Lo is the first Hong Kong scholar ever to receive the honour.
Professor Lo remarked, ‘I am very glad to be granted this great honour. It is a humbling experience to be following the footsteps of eminent scientists who had previously won this prize. I wish to thank my dedicated teammates who have worked with me over the last 15 years in turning the dream of non-invasive prenatal diagnosis to a reality.’
Professor Lo’s discovery of high concentrations of foetal DNA in the plasma of the pregnant women and his revolutionary research in non-invasive prenatal diagnosis has far-reaching impact to the global scientific community. He and his team have shown that this technology can accurately and non-invasively detect fetal Down syndrome. As a result, since 2011, diagnostic services for Down syndrome based on this technology have been available in the U.S.A., Europe, Hong Kong and other Chinese cities. This technology will bring positive health care benefits to both developed and developing countries, reducing the risk and emotional stress of prenatal diagnosis.
Ernesto Illy Trieste Science Prize
The Ernesto Illy Trieste Science Prize, instituted by TWAS and illycaffè and now in its eighth year, is designed to reward scientists living and working in developing countries whose research has had a significant impact on sustainable development. In previous years, the prize has been awarded for research on climate change, renewable energy, and materials science. This year’s prize is awarded in the area of human health.
TWAS, the World Academy of Sciences for the Advancement of Science in Developing Countries (formerly known as the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World)
Founded in Trieste, Italy, in 1983, TWAS is the world’s foremost academy for scientists from the developing world. It sponsors a large number of research and training programmes for its members. It currently consists of more than 1,030 eminent scientists, more than 80 percent of whom live and work in the developing world.