Sensors inspired by blind cave fish, energy-generating wastewater
treatment plants, rapid evaluation of the efficacy of cancer drug regimens, functional
genomics merged with artificial intelligence – these were some of the
innovations by the top 10 young Innovators under the age of 35 in Asia
recognised by the MIT Technology
Review on November 21.
The list recognises the development of new technology or the
creative application of existing technologies to solve global problems in
industries such as biomedicine, computing, communications, energy, materials,
web, and transportation.
This year, the researchers and entrepreneurs come from
Singapore, Australia and Taiwan. The 10 selected innovators will present a
three-minute elevator pitch at EmTech Asia and will automatically become finalists
for the global Innovators Under 35 list. Past honorees of the global list
include Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the cofounders of Google; Mark Zuckerberg,
the cofounder of Facebook; Jonathan Ive, the chief designer of Apple; and
Daniel Ek, co-founder of Spotify.
SGInnovate (a private-limited company wholly owned by the
Singapore Government), which seeks to develop the startup ecosystem in
Singapore, will host the ‘Innovators Under 35’ (IU35) segment.
Steve Leonard, Founding Chief Executive Officer of
SGInnovate, said, “We are thrilled to be supporting IU35 for the
second consecutive year. At SGInnovate, we strongly believe that ‘deep-tech’
startups will be critical players in tackling global challenges in new ways.
These young scientists are working in areas such as energy, transportation,
artificial intelligence, and biomedicine. All of these are vital to the future
of humanity. We want to encourage and help these amazing men and women to have
the courage and confidence to bring their research work to the market – where
millions of lives could potentially be transformed.”
Now in its fifth edition, the “Innovators Under 35 Asia”
program received a total of 132 nominations from talented researchers,
inventors and entrepreneurs from countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand,
Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand, for
consideration for the 2018 list.
Ajay Prakash Kottapalli (Singapore),
is currently a Project Investigator (PI) for research projects funded by the Singapore MIT Alliance for Research and
Technology (SMART) Innovation Center and the CENSAM (Center for
Environmental Sensing and Modeling) Research Initiative. In 2016, Ajay founded
a startup company called Sensornomics Pte Ltd which envisions to create new
standards of care in biomedical devices.
He is working on the development of ultra-sensitive, nature-inspired
miniaturised sensors that can be used for biomedical flow sensing and are cheap
enough to produce and use on a large scale.
Blind cave fish have an uncanny ability to swim adeptly at
high speeds without colliding with obstacles and finding food even faster than
the eyed fish. They do so through flow sensors on their body which can measure
minute disturbances. After understanding the biology of the sensors, he was
able to produce sensors as cheap as 20 cents and which could measure flow
velocities as low as 1 ml/sec. These can be useful for intravenous infusion.
He is also working on sensors inspired by whiskers of
harbour seals, which are used to track fishes underwater and also, by the hair
cells in the cochlea, an organ in the ears of mammals. All these sensors could
have a wide range of applications in the biomedical area and others as well.
For instance, they could be used on underwater vehicles to measure flows around
the vehicle and for object detection and object avoidance.
Anjali Jaiprakash (Australia) Queensland University of
Dr. Anjali Jaiprakash is working Light field retinal
diagnostic system to decrease preventable blindness globally.
She is an Advance QLD research fellow at the Australian
Centre for Robotic Vision and Queensland University of Technology. She is a
Robobiologist with a PhD in Applied Science and a Master’s degree in
Biotechnology and Business. Anjali is developing medical devices that translate
robotic vision into affordable systems that can be used to improve healthcare
outcomes, through a transdisciplinary approach, that encompasses medicine,
engineering and design.
This includes a light field retinal diagnostic system to
replace the expensive and complex cameras currently used to detect
abnormalities such as glaucoma or macular degeneration and decrease preventable
Khoo Bee Luan (Singapore), SMART
Dr. Khoo Bee Luan is a biomedical scientist focused on
innovating microfluidic devices for clinical utility. She leads a research team
under the Young Investigator grant award by the National Medical Research
which is designing microfluidic models to deliver real-time therapeutic
read-outs with direct translational relevance for cancer.
One of the devices she is working on is the Circulating
Tumour Cell (CTC) Cluster Assay. This assay capitalises on the utility of the liquid
biopsy, which is simply a blood sample from the cancer patient. Liquid biopsies
are relatively non-invasive as compared to current diagnostic procedures like
tumour biopsy, or tissue aspiration.
The blood sample is processed for a short-term culture to
derive a phenotype that can help find out if the patient is responding to
treatment or not. This can help in the evaluation of treatments, as well as
drugs, new and old. If the patient is not responding to the drug regime, the
clinician can step in and alter the treatment to suit the patient better,
thereby contributing to the development of personalised medicine.
She has also developed microfluidic biochips for isolation
of primary cancer cells, diseased blood cells or malaria-infected cells with
relevance to early disease detection. For example in cancer, CTC counts could
be provided simply after a few hours of processing through the micro-fluidic
Jiashi Feng (Singapore), National University of Singapore
Dr. Jiashi Feng, currently an Assistant Professor with
Department of ECE at the National University of Singapore (NUS) is enabling
computers to grow learning ability with dynamic neural networks. His current
research interest focusses on AI, machine learning and computer vision. He has
published over 100 research papers in machine learning, deep learning, object
recognition and big data analysis.
Wesley Zheng Guangyuan (Singapore), IMRE, A*STAR
Dr. Zheng is a Scientist at A*STAR’s (Agency for Science,
Technology and Research) Institute for Materials Research and Engineering
(IMRE) and an Adjunct Assistant Professor in NUS.
His research work focused on developing high capacity
electrodes for the next-generation lithium batteries, with automotive, aerial
and renewable storage applications. The new battery technology can theoretically
have 5 times the energy compared to the common lithium ion batteries used
currently. The current prototype cells achieve
about 1.5 to 2 times.
Dr. Zheng also co-founded a venture-backed startup
(volans-i) to develop high-payload, long-range delivery drone.
Chun-Hao Huang (Taiwan), CLINICAI Inc
Dr. Huang is merging functional genomics and artificial
intelligence for disease detection and treatment.
Dr. Huang is a Cancer Biologist, Genetic Engineer and AI
Entrepreneur. He pioneered the establishment of fast and flexible genetically
engineered mouse models using gene silencing and editing technologies, and led
the discovery of therapeutic strategies for treating liver cancer and
inflammatory bowel disease.
He also invented methods to identify disease biomarkers that
predict drug responses, and applied machine learning to the study of genes.
Min Hao Wong (Singapore), Massachusetts Institute of
Min Hao Wong is developing unique nanosensor constructs for
smart agriculture application.
He is currently a Chemical Engineering graduate student at
MIT. His PhD research involved the development of unique nanosensor
applications for agriculture. His work has been featured in global media
outlets such as FOX, Forbes, TIME, BBC, and CBS. BostInno named his work as one
of the top 7 inventions to come out of MIT in 2016. Min Hao is also currently actively
running Plantea, a start-up company focused on agricultural nanosensors. He is
also the co-president of the South-East Asia Club, vice president of the MIT
energy club, and a guest lecturer for 10.585 Engineering Nanotechnology.
Qilin Wang (Australia), Griffith University
Dr Qilin Wang is an Australian Research Council (ARC) DECRA
Research Fellow & Lecturer at Griffith University in Australia. Dr. Wang’s
research focuses on innovative biotechnologies for maximising energy
recovery/production from wastewater. As a Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-PI,
he has been awarded 7 competitive grants with a total research funding of ~$AUD
3.6 Million from Australian government, State government, industry and
Dr. Wang explained, “Wastewater treatment plants consume a
lot of energy. But wastewater also contains a lot of energy. The basic idea is
that if we can recover the energy from the wastewater, we can use the recovered
energy for the operation of the wastewater plant. We can even export the excess
energy into the grid. We can convert the wastewater treatment plants from large
energy consumers to energy generators.”
Currently, most of the technologies for generating energy
from wastewater consume a lot of chemicals. Dr. Wang instead uses a chemical which
is present in the wastewater itself.
The wastewater sludge containing a lot of organic material, will
usually go through an anaerobic digester in the treatment plant to produce
biogas but only a small fraction of the wastewater sludge can be used so. After
the sludge is treated using the chemical present in the wastewater, maybe
50-60% of the sludge can be used for producing biogas, compared to say 30%
Dr. Wang has applied for a patent for the technology and he
is also working with a company for its commercialisation.
Weibo Gao (Singapore), Nanyang Technological University
Dr. Gao was recognised for his exploration of spin photon
interface for the application in quantum network and quantum information
Currently he is a Nanyang assistant professor in NTU. His
research in quantum information and quantum photonics is published in several
world class journals such as Nature, Nature physics, Nature photonics and
Nature communications. Previously he has won the Marie-Curie Fellowship in
European Union, the recipient of National 100 Excellent Doctoral Dissertation
Award in China, and Singapore National Research Foundation fellowship awards.
Yok Hian Chionh (Singapore),
Tychan Pte. Ltd., SMART
Yok Hian Chionh believes that the war against infections can
be won if we proactively create systems that rapidly design cures, respond to,
and treat patients during outbreaks. As a scientist, he discovered fundamental
properties of genetic coding that enabled pathogens to survive hostile
environments. As a drug developer, he helped bring an anti-Zika therapeutic
from bench-to-bedside. He is exploring radically different science-based
regulatory frameworks to expedite regulatory approvals of therapeutics, while
meeting safety and efficacy requirements.
The medical sector is highly regulated and conservative. To bring about a change, you need evidence. If equivalence can be proven among different tests or different products, then it can be effectively communicated that they are one and the same (two pharmaceutical products are bioequivalent if they are pharmaceutically equivalent and their bioavailabilities (rate and extent of availability) after administration in the same dose are similar to such a degree that their effects, with respect to both efficacy and safety, can be expected to be essentially the same.)
Today in drug trials around the world, everything is systematic
with no exceptions. The current regulatory frameworks provide for a systematic
approach to ensure that every single product made is exactly the same for
drugs. For trials, there’s an established sequential process, starting with a
small group, moving on to bigger groups and finally to the market.
Everything is put in place for a reason, most of them
historical. But there are better ways to do things right now. “In the context, of epidemics, outbreaks of
infectious diseases, drug-resistant, in order to save lives (I don’t mean 1 or
2 lives, it is about thousands of lives) we need a new approach. You cannot
wait 5 years or more for a new drug. People need the drugs now. That is what
the radically different approach is. It is really common-sense. You do not want
to do things in a stepwise manner and wait for the results from A, before you
do B, when we can do A and B at the same time,” said Yok Hian Chionh.
Indonesia has agreed on a Joint Action Plan for Management System Synergy National Public Service Complaint (SP4N) – People’s Online Aspiration and Complaint Service (LAPOR!). The action plan provides an operational framework for each agency associated with the project, including the Ministry of State Apparatus Empowerment and Bureaucratic Reform (PANRB), the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Communication and Information (Kominfo), the Presidential Staff Office (KSP), and the Indonesian Ombudsman.
The government intends SP4N and the ‘LAPOR!’ application to be the primary avenue for people throughout Indonesia to express concerns and the foundation for improving the quality of public services.
“The goal of this joint action plan is for the five SP4N-‘LAPOR!’ management agencies to be able to carry out their duties and authorities under their respective roles in the future to achieve the targets that have been set,” Assistant Deputy for Digital Transformation of Public Services of the Ministry of PANRB Yanuar Ahmad explained after signing the SP4N-LAPOR Synergy Joint Action Plan! in Jakarta.
This action plan will serve as a technical guide to realising the targeted goals, the number of reports, the quality of follow-up, and the interoperability of agencies, as further discussed following the Roadmap SP4N-LAPOR!, which has been compiled in PANRB Ministerial Regulation No 46/2020.
This action plan is developed from the agreement and the Memorandum of Understanding on SP4N Synergy Using the LAPOR! Application. This initiative also intends to improve coordination across the ministries and agencies that have agreed in the MoU and PKS to collaborate on the strengthening and execution of SP4N-LAPOR!
Furthermore, this implementation plan increases efficiency and effectiveness in SP4N-‘LAPOR!’ management, particularly at the national structure level, in expediting bureaucratic reform and improving the public service quality. It should be noted that the PANRB Ministry’s six programmes are outlined in the action plan.
Institutional strengthening: organisation and governance, strengthening the SP4N coordination node (Hub), boosting HR capacity, institutional strengthening: monitoring and evaluation programmes and optimising the use of complaint information, streamlining IT: Integration, and strengthening communication and public involvement are among them. It is hoped that in the future, SP4N-‘LAPOR!’ will be the exclusive outlet for complaints about public services.
Anas also visited multiple regencies to boost local government performance with government apps and digitalisation: Government Agency Performance Accountability System (SAKIP). He reiterates that adopting SPBE will undoubtedly improve efficiency in various areas, including work speed, decision-making, policy formation, and the service process.
According to Minister Anas, the State Civil Apparatus (ASN) must be ready to adapt to the digital environment. Minister Anas stressed that digitalisation is the only way to improve governance and impact society. Citing President Joko Widodo, Anas emphasises that bureaucracy is not a pile of paper; it must be dynamic and have an impact. The actual work of bureaucrats must be quantifiable.
He urged the health sector to implement similar digitalisation initiatives to reduce the number of stunted children in Indonesia. According to President Joko Widodo’s directions, the frequency of stunting is expected to fall to 14 per cent in 2024, down from 21.6 per cent in 2022. It is likely to fall to 17.8 per cent in 2023 and 14 per cent in 2024.
Minister Anas also stated that the stunting reduction initiative is being hastened by adopting the Electronic-Based Government System, a digital plan (SPBE). SPBE is a government administration that provides services to government agencies, state civil servants (ASN), business people, communities, and other parties through information and communication technology. Currently, the districts/cities with the highest frequency of stunting have been mapped, and their SPBE maturity level has been connected to them.
He has also invited local government public malls (MPPs) to combine with digital services on several occasions (MPP Digital). He said that one of MPP Digital’s benefits is single-sign-on for all lines of public services. As a result, citizens can access resources across all services with a single user account.
South Australia has solidified its reputation as a world-class hub for the photonics industry, which is experiencing significant growth globally. This growth is being driven by the increasing demand for photonics technologies, including areas such as communication, healthcare, and energy.
The state of South Australia has a strong presence in the photonics industry, with many businesses operating in this field and contributing to the local economy. In the next five years, these businesses are expected to experience significant growth in revenue, reflecting the growing demand for photonics technologies and products. The success of the photonics industry in South Australia showcases the state’s commitment to innovation and its position as a leader in this field.
The report titled “Lighting a New Path: Global Opportunities for the Photonics Industry in South Australia” was commissioned by the South Australian Government and released in December 2022. It evaluates the advancements made in the photonics industry in the state over the past six years, since the development of the first photonics roadmap in 2016. The report provides insight into the progress made and serves as a reflection of the efforts and achievements of the South Australian government and the photonics industry.
Photonics is a field of science that deals with the study of light and its properties. Its innovations have found practical applications in a wide range of industries, including defence and space, healthcare and biotechnology, energy and mining, cutting-edge manufacturing, and agriculture.
These applications make use of the unique properties of light to create new technologies and solve complex problems in these industries. Photonics has the potential to significantly impact various aspects of modern life and shape the future.
The report highlights that South Australia has gained a competitive edge by concentrating on the branches of photonics that offer higher returns and lower competition. This focus has allowed the state to establish expertise in rapidly growing areas, such as quantum-related photonics research and development.
By doing so, South Australia has positioned itself at the forefront of these cutting-edge fields and has created unique opportunities for growth and innovation. The report emphasizes the significance of this strategy in fostering a strong and thriving photonics industry in South Australia.
According to the 2016 report, South Australia’s photonics industry was estimated to have an output of AU$ 200 million. However, within just six years, this figure has skyrocketed to AU$ 614 million. This impressive growth is reflected in the increase in the local photonics workforce, which grew from 800 jobs to approximately 1,500 jobs over the same period. These figures demonstrate the substantial progress made by the South Australian photonics industry and its continued expansion and success.
Co-Author Dr Alexis Mendez, the President of MCH Engineering, describes photonics as an enabling technology that has a broad range of applications and impacts a variety of industries. Photonics is a versatile and powerful technology that is used in many different fields, enabling new innovations and solutions to complex problems. According to Dr Mendez, photonics is a key driver of technological advancement and has the potential to transform numerous industries and areas.
Over the past six years, there has been a marked expansion in the ecosystem for optics and photonics in South Australia. This growth can be attributed to various factors, such as increased investment, the development of new technologies, and the growth of the local photonics industry.
As a result, the state has seen a significant increase in the number of businesses operating in this field, the growth of the local workforce, and the expansion of photonics-related research and development. These developments have created a supportive environment for the growth of the photonics industry in South Australia and have positioned the state as a leader in this field. The growth of the optics and photonics ecosystem has significant implications for the local economy and is poised to drive further innovation and progress in the years to come.
Dr Mendez stated that the team noted the development of new programs, facilities, and funds that have collectively improved the hi-tech infrastructure for SA entrepreneurs. This has led to the rapid growth of new commercial activity, particularly in the defence sector, while already established SA photonics-based businesses are beginning to re-engineer products and move into new markets.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-Madras) to collaborate on extended reality (XR) applications and other technologies for the Indian Human Spaceflight Programme.
According to a statement by IIT-Madras, the Institute will develop a training module for an Indian Spaceflight Programme using augmented reality/virtual reality/mixed reality (AR/VR/MR). Using the technologies created at IIT-Madras’ newly-established eXperiential Technology Innovation Centre (XTIC), the ISRO will promote research and development in the field of extended reality.
This XTIC is India’s first research and product innovation centre for XR and haptics technology, a transdisciplinary centre encompassing several fields of engineering, medicine, psychology, and arts. As XR is highly interdisciplinary, innovations in this field need a confluence of minds from different fields, the statement said.
While most of the research labs around the world are focusing on either software or hardware components of XR, the centre in IIT-Madras will focus on the fundamentals of XR- human factors, particularly perception and illusion, pioneering a new field of perceptual engineering and perceptual algebra.
ISRO developed the Indian Human Spaceflight Programme in 2007 to create the technology needed to launch crewed orbital spacecraft into low Earth orbit. M. Manivannan, Principle Investigator at XTIC-IIT Madras, stated that XR technologies have the potential to add value in many aspects of the human spaceflight programme specifically in shortening the design cycle and simulating the space environment. The team will start with developing models of physiological systems as well as design optimisation studies.
Apart from developing XR technologies for the human spaceflight programme, the XTIC will also carry out technology training for concerned Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC) engineers and help establish an XR/VR laboratory at HSFC. The statement outlined the key objectives of the collaboration:
- Modelling and simulating human physiology as well as space systems
- Outreach activities
- Visualisation and optimisation of design architecture
- Training ISRO scientists to develop their own XR systems
Furthermore, the XTIC has established a consortium of start-ups and industries in the field of XR and haptics in India called Cave. The ecosystem led by XTIC will be utilised for several applications ranging from outreach and education of the human spaceflight programme to digital twins.
In 2022, the global extended reality market size was valued at US$ 35 billion. It is expected to reach around US$ 345 billion by 2030. Countries around the world are making significant strides in the field. For instance, researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have created the HaptGlove, a lightweight, untethered haptic glove for virtual environments. It provides a more realistic and authentic sense of touch and movement when interacting with virtual objects, enhancing the overall immersive experience in VR.
As OpenGov Asia reported, HaptGlove uses proprietary software developed by the NUS research team to achieve a visual-haptic delay of fewer than 20 milliseconds. This is faster than conventional haptic gloves and provides a near-real-time user experience. The latest prototype is also more comfortable to wear, weighing only 250 grams, much lighter than commercially available haptic gloves that weigh over 450 grams.
It enables users to interact with the virtual world in a more natural and realistic way, providing an unobtrusive and immersive experience in virtual reality. It features five pairs of haptic feedback modules, one for each finger, which are controlled wirelessly to sense the virtual object in terms of shape, size, and stiffness.
Thailand has begun discussions to develop a framework for its Digital ID initiative. The framework is required to tackle the private and public sector organisations’ difficulty in providing single Digital ID access without requiring multiple identity verification.
Digital ID (Digital ID), also known as digital identity verification and validation, is a tool that tells and confirms citizens’ identities without being forged. The citizen can acquire all online services with a single Digital ID, eliminating the need to register for duplicate identification verification. The programme attempts to make internet transactions more secure and dependable.
Thus, the Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) sets the stage for the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society to invite six agencies to discuss the future of Thai Digital ID. The discussion on the ‘Framework for Driving Thailand’s Digital Identity Verification and Authentication Phase 1 2022 – 2024’ will clarify Thai Digital ID direction for all industries.
Revenue Department, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Digital Government Development Agency (Public Organization) (Por Por.) and Office of the Broadcasting Commission The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC Office) and National Digital ID Co., Ltd. (NDID) met to review and update the country’s future Digital ID direction under the function of each agency, as well as to have a common understanding of the programme.
Sanchai Techanimitwat, an information technology and information systems expert at the Department of Provincial Administration highlights the importance of completing Digital ID by 2023. The Department of Provincial Administration must expedite the readiness of Digital ID for online transactions using the D.DOPA application service.
The online transaction digital ID must be integrated with a digital face verification and authentication system or FVS (Face Verification Service) to improve authentication and verification quality. As a result, users no longer need to travel to the district office to dip-chip their ID card to receive Digital ID authentication. Instead, users can request or change information stored in the Department of Provincial Administration’s database, referred to as “self-service”, via the D.DOPA app. The Thai government will expand the use of Digital IDs to foreigners in the next phase.
D.DOPA can be used for various digital civil registration services, such as house registration. Copies and issues certifications for new home construction information. The government planned to expand the programme to include more than 31 other services, including potential for private service providers.
The Revenue Department will link Digital ID with the ‘Paotang’ online tax filing app. According to Chancharoen Thepsutha, Director of the Revenue Department’s Electronic Tax Administration Division, Digital ID will enable taxpayers to authenticate and validate the identity of various services they have familiar with. For instance, E-FILING service (e-filing), online tax payment, filing history, and tax submission. Following that, the agency is planning to expand the online tax filing service via the wallet app. In addition, it will also include ‘Online VAT registration’ for e-commerce businesses.
Digital ID facilitates online transactions. Increase online transaction security since users know who owns the transaction. It is crucial, particularly in banking and the capital market industry. Assistant Secretary-General for Digital Technology, Wiboon Pattarapibul, citing the Securities and Exchange Commission, states all transactions in the capital market industry today are legally binding. Digital ID is required to make investor transactions more convenient, trustworthy, and fast. Furthermore, ETDA’s requirements have been refined to be more appropriate for the government setting.
Chaichana Mitrphan, Director of ETDA, believes accelerating Thai people’s usage of digital IDs is essential. This is a critical challenge for ETDA in convincing consumers that their Digital IDs are secure. Another barrier is simplifying the registration process to improve citizen engagement.
Temasek Polytechnic and Neo4j, a leading graph database provider, have partnered to help the industry and students in Singapore stay ahead in the fast-changing world of technology. The collaboration aims to provide industry professionals and students with the necessary skills and knowledge to meet the demands of the digital age and remain relevant in their respective fields.
The partnership was formalised on 1 February 2023 through signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), designed to provide students at Temasek Polytechnic with hands-on experience using cutting-edge technologies and help the local industry stay ahead of the curve in an increasingly digital world.
“The reason we started this programme is really to fulfil the smart nation objectives. Moreover, we are seeing a big demand for graph technology in the industry. To ensure that the best skill sets are available locally and coming from an open-source mindset, collaboration is key,” explains Eng Pin Kwang, Director School of Informatics & IT of Temasek Polytechnic.
The partnership was officially launched in the presence of Mohit Sagar, CEO of OpenGov Asia, who highlighted the importance of staying ahead in the technology space and keeping up with the latest advancements.
He said, “The world of technology is constantly evolving, and it’s essential for individuals and organisations to upgrade their skills to remain relevant continuously. The partnership between Temasek Polytechnic and Neo4j is a step in the right direction, providing students and industry professionals with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed in the digital age.”
“While graph database technology as part of a curriculum has been implemented in Malaysia and Indonesia, this will be a first in Singapore,” said Daniel Ng, VP of Marketing, Neo4j.
In a previous OpenGov exclusive interview with Mohit Sagar, CEO & Editor-in-Chief of OpenGov Asia, Kesavan Nair, Neo4j’s VP of Global Cloud and Strategic Sales, explained the idea and workings of graph database technology.
Graph Database Technology is specifically built and optimised for discovering patterns and hidden linkages in massively interconnected datasets. Because it mirrors how the human brain thinks and maps associations utilising neurons (nodes) and synapses, graph database technology is effective because it discovers and displays relationships in the data.
A graph database effectively stores and queries data sets in a node-and-relationships model. As a result, graph technology performs very well where there needs to be background information on path length or shape by discovering neighbouring data effectively using graph storage and infrastructure.
Ryan Lim Beng Kee, Assistant Director of Capability & Industry Development, School of Informatics & IT, explained that they had formulated a three-year diploma programme to serve students’ best interests. The programme is not a one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter course but can be tweaked to suit individual learners’ pathways.
Cybersecurity, data analytics and graph technology are the most current high-demand talent in the market. More crucial, however, is to have cross-functional skills. Cross-cutting IT skills are more attractive to the market. “For example, a data scientist may not find a job specifically for the ‘data scientist’ role. But with a broader knowledge of data science in banking, pharmaceutical and/or gaming, the chances of them landing a role increases significantly,” said Nik Vora VP, APJ at Neo4j.
In addition to benefiting students, the partnership will also have a positive impact on the industry in Singapore. Neo4j’s technology will help companies and organisations to manage their data more efficiently, leading to better decision-making and increased productivity. The partnership will provide a platform for industry professionals to collaborate and share their knowledge, helping to create a more dynamic and innovative environment.
The partnership between Temasek Polytechnic and Neo4j is a testament to the importance of staying ahead in the technology space and the need to upgrade one’s skills continuously. It provides students and industry professionals with the tools and knowledge needed to succeed in a rapidly changing world and sets an example for other organisations.
“Today, there is an acute shortage (of certain technological skills), and I’m working on this collaboration to provide Singapore skills talent that knows how to apply the technology. So that’s why the building of skills in terms of having an objective of technology adoption is a key proponent critical,” Eng Pin Kwang concluded.
In conclusion, the partnership between Temasek Polytechnic and Neo4j is a positive step towards equipping individuals and organisations with the necessary skills and knowledge to remain relevant in a rapidly changing world of technology. With its cutting-edge technology and commitment to innovation, Neo4j is poised to play a vital role in shaping the future of data management and analysis in Singapore and beyond.
The Philippines introduced the National Privacy Commission (NPC) Registration System (NPCRS), which included simple tracking of enrolment requests/approval, a secure gateway for the monitoring unit to access registration data, and real-time insight into the validation of mandatory documents.
It will also enable accurate data collection from sectors and subsectors, reliable verification of active or inactive registration, retrieval of contact information for their data protection officer (DPO), and easy production of documents such as a registration certificate or analytical reports on registered entities.
“The registration system was designed and created with privacy, security, and operations in mind” (DevSecOps). Before making changes involving personal data processing and the system went live, Privacy Impact Assessments were performed throughout the planning,” Rainier Anthony Milanes, chief of the NPC’s Compliance and Monitoring Division, declared.
By facilitating online registration of data processing systems, the NPCS is considered to make compliance with the Data Privacy Act of 2012 easier for both government and private entities. He reiterated that the circular addresses problems when implementing previous circulars on common or numerous DPOs.
“It also contains new laws, such as the necessity to show the NPC mark of registration, which will offer data subjects the necessary assurance that companies processing their data have fulfilled the first level of DPA compliance,” Milanes explained.
It is being created concurrently with the completion of NPC Circular No. 2022-04, dated December 5, 2022, and headed registration of personal data processing systems, notification on automated decision-making or profiling, designation of DPO, and the NPC seal of registration. The circular went into effect on January 11.
Section 5 of the circular requires PICs or PIPs that employ 250 or more people, process sensitive personal information of 1,000 or more people, or process data that may likely jeopardise data subjects’ liberties to register all their data processing systems.
According to NPC Commissioner John Henry Naga, the NPCRS and the implementation of the Data Breach Notification Management System in April 2022 are part of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s marching order of digitalising government services.
The Philippines, on the other hand, expanded e-commerce regulation with the proposed Internet Transactions Act and planned to establish an electronic commerce (e-commerce) agency. Its objective is to regulate all business-to-business and business-to-consumer commercial transactions conducted over the internet, including those involving internet retail, online travel services, digital media providers, ride-hailing services, and digital financial services. The House of Representatives approved the bill’s final reading.
The role of the e-commerce bureau is to protect consumers and merchants who conduct internet transactions. The bureau will also represent the “central authority” regulating online trade and will function as a virtual one-stop shop for customer complaints about internet transactions. During the plenary session, the plan was advanced, with 245 members voting in favour of House Bill 4. There were no votes against the bill or abstentions.
As data value has expanded recently, several countries have updated their data protection bill. China has taken steps to design regulations that would promote the effective use and circulation of public, personal, and corporate data while adhering to rules and strengthening governance over data resources. It has also emphasised the significance of having a system that assures the secure and legal data flow over the border.
According to a National Development and Reform Commission official, the new laws are intended to encourage the lawful and efficient use of data to stimulate the real economy and allow people to share the benefits of the digital economy’s growth. According to the official, the proposed laws will enable the country to respond to the global technological revolution and industrial transformation while increasing its international competitiveness.
A research team led by Professor Chan Ting-fung, Associate Professor from the School of Life Sciences at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), has developed a new computational method called LAFITE (Low-abundance Aware Full-length Isoform clusTEr).
The technology has been successful in identifying thousands of low-abundance full-length RNA transcripts in lung adenocarcinoma cell lines that were previously unknown using existing technologies. This is a breakthrough in the field of lung cancer research and has the potential to lead to new treatments and a better understanding of the disease.
About low-abundance RNA transcripts
In an organism, different tissues have the same genome but their transcriptomes, the composition of expressed RNA transcripts, vary significantly. Previous research found that the majority of expressed transcripts are present at low levels, referred to as “low abundance”, but they play crucial roles in regulating various biological processes such as metabolism and cancer progression.
Restrictions of current RNA sequencing technologies
RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) is widely used in biology and clinical studies but has limitations in identifying low-expression or full-length transcripts. RNA-seq fragments and amplifies RNA molecules to improve detection of high-copy, short-length transcripts, but low-copy, low-expression full-length transcripts are challenging to identify.
Higher eukaryotes, including humans, can produce multiple transcript isoforms from the same gene through RNA splicing. However, RNA-seq cannot clearly identify individual transcript isoforms. As a result, current transcriptome research mainly focuses on gene levels and not transcript levels, leading to the overlook of many low-expression transcripts.
The Oxford Nanopore Technologies third-generation sequencing technique can capture native RNA transcripts and has improved ability to identify low-abundance, full-length transcript isoforms. However, the Nanopore DRS data used in this approach has significant noise and intrinsic errors, reducing its accuracy.
To address these limitations, Professor Chan Ting-fung and his team developed LAFITE, a new computational method specifically designed to process Nanopore DRS data and identify full-length isoforms. LAFITE surpasses all existing methods with its higher sensitivity in detecting low-abundance RNA transcripts.
Lung adenocarcinoma is the leading cause of cancer death in Hong Kong and has a lower five-year survival rate compared to other major cancers globally, according to the National Cancer Institute. While the causes of lung adenocarcinoma are complex, many studies have shown that changes in transcriptomes play a significant role in its progression.
The research team used LAFITE to analyze Nanopore DRS data from four lung adenocarcinoma cell lines. They successfully identified a new low-abundance RNA transcript isoform from the cancer gene AKT1 and showed its functional role in lung cancer cell lines, which was linked to patient survival and promoted tumour cell migration in lung adenocarcinoma.
Applicability to other cancers
With LAFITE, the research team discovered thousands of previously missed low-abundance transcripts, creating a complete transcriptome of lung adenocarcinoma. This will be a valuable resource for researchers to understand the mechanism behind the formation, migration, and progression of lung cancer. The team believes that LAFITE can be used for other types of cancer, such as colorectal cancer, and in studies on cancer cell drug resistance for drug development.
According to Professor Chan Ting-fung, a complete characterization of transcript isoforms of individual genes may provide new insight into their biological functions. LAFITE allows researchers to reassess gene function by identifying all expressed transcripts in a comprehensive manner, emphasizing the importance of transcript-level analysis in transcriptomic studies.