CUHK Professor Rossa Chiu Won APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education
Prof. Rossa Chiu Wai-kwun of the Department of Chemical Pathology at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) was awarded the 2012 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education (ASPIRE Prize) for her research and development of non-invasive prenatal diagnostic approaches, as well as her effort to promote cross-border scientific and technological cooperation in health innovations. The prize awards only one young scientist each year among nominations submitted by APEC member economies. Professor Chiu received the award at the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week held in Vladivostok, Russia.
Professor Chiu remarked, ‘It is a great honour to represent Hong Kong and be selected for the prize among the list of accomplished scientists nominated by the APEC economies. Attending the APEC meeting was a humbling experience and I was glad to learn that APEC Leaders recognize the educational and economic values of innovation and research.’
Professor Chiu’s research focuses on the clinical applications of non-invasive prenatal diagnosis, including analyzing fetal DNA in maternal plasma for prenatal diagnosis of diseases. Professor Chiu performed large scale clinical studies to validate the non-invasive DNA testing for Down syndrome detection which achieved 99% accuracy. The clinical use of the testing is now routine in parts of Asia, including Hong Kong, in the U.S. and in parts of Europe. Her research involved collaborations with scientists from around the world including those from APEC economies, namely China, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the U.S.. Such collaborations enabled the rapid dissemination and application of the fruits of the research with translation into tangible benefits for citizens across the region.
The ASPIRE Prize made its debut in 2011 as an initiative to recognize young scientists aged below 40 in the APEC region who have achieved excellence in scientific research on a selected theme, as evidenced by scholarly publication and cooperation with scientists from other APEC economies. The selected theme this year was ‘health innovation’ which is deemed crucial for productivity and economic growth for the region.