Innovators Under 35 Honourees


The 10 outstanding innovators in the region have been chosen. These young innovators are trailblazers in their fields and are leading the next generation of technological breakthroughs. They automatically become candidates and potential finalists for the global Innovators Under 35 list celebrated in the fall of 2017 in Boston. MIT Technology Review will showcase the global winners in the September/October issue and online. The 10 honourees will each present a three-minute elevator pitch at EmTech Asia on 14-15 February 2017.

  • Zhi Wei Seh

    Research Scientist, Institute of Materials Research and Engineering

    Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)

    Designing Advanced Materials for Clean Energy Storage and Conversion

    Creating a sustainable energy future while protecting our environment is one of the most crucial challenges facing humanity today. To decarbonize our energy landscape, we need to move towards renewable (but intermittent) energy sources such as solar and wind power. My work focuses on the development of new materials for the storage and conversion of clean energy. In this talk, I will discuss the design of novel nanostructures for lithium-sulfur batteries, including core-shell, yolk-shell, 2D layered morphologies, etc. Such batteries have 5 times the energy density of lithium-ion batteries today, making them a very promising technology for the future.


    About Zhi Wei Seh

    Dr. Zhi Wei Seh is a Scientist at the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering, Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). He received his BS and PhD degrees in Materials Science and Engineering from Cornell University and Stanford University, respectively. He then joined the Department of Chemical Engineering at Stanford University as a postdoctoral scholar. Dr. Seh has published more than 30 peer-reviewed papers in top journals including Science, Nature Communications and Nature Energy, and his work has been highlighted by the US Department of Energy and various news agencies.

  • Angela Wu

    Assistant Professor, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST)

    Founding Member, Agenovir Corporation

    Reading and writing the human genome

    Easily reading and writing information to a computer is the basis of many modern technologies; I work on ways to read and write genetic information from human cells. First, I’m creating technologies that read genetic information from individual cells in our body, allowing us to create accurate maps of all cell types and their functions - a Cell Atlas of the human body. Second, I’m engineering technology to write and re-write our DNA, so that diseases such as cervical cancer, which is caused by viruses writing their genetic information into our DNA, can be cured by cutting out the viral DNA.


    About Angela Wu

    Angela obtained her BS in Bioengineering from UC Berkeley, and her MS and PhD in Bioengineering from Stanford University. At Stanford, she was awarded the Bio-X Bowes Scholarship for interdisciplinary research, and the prestigious Siebel Scholarship for top Bioengineering graduates. In 2015 she co-founded Agenovir, a therapeutics company with the mission of treating diseases associated with viral persistence. She is now Assistant Professor, jointly appointed in the Divisions of Life Sciences and of Biomedical Engineering, at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Angela is passionate about novel technology research, and translating that research into the clinic via entrepreneurship.

  • Dhesi Raja

    Chief Scientist and Cofounder

    Artificial Intelligence in Medical Epidemiology (AIME)

    Artificial Intelligence in Medicine

    AIME Inc is an epidemiology driven company that utilises machine learning capabilites to solve humanity grand challenges in healthcare. Existing work related to dengue & zika control is limited to passive and reactive. AIME’s plan is to reduce both the burden of the disease and the economic impact these diseases impose by introducing an artificial intelligent platform. We incorporated enormous amount of epidemiology data, weather data, geographical data & machine learning capabilities to predict, geolocate & determine future outbreaks. Currently our platform AIME is able to predict deadly outbreaks up to 3 month in advance with an accuracy of 88.7% in real time.


    About Dhesi Raja

    Dr Dhesi is a Public Health Physician. He won first prize for the Global Impact Competition and was sponsored by Google & ECM Libra to Singularity University in the National Aeronautic & Space Administration (NASA) in Silicon Valley. He then co-founded AIME (Artificial Intelligence in Medical Epidmiology) that has the capability of identifying dengue and zika outbreaks 3 month in advance. This invention was used during the Rio 2016 Olympics. Dr Dhesi also won first prize for the Pistoia Life Science Award in King’s College London, Top 8 Young Health Innovators by Harvard University and Top 10 exceptional scientist by the United Nations.

  • Simon Gross

    ARC DECRA Research Fellow

    Department of Physics and Astronomy

    Macquarie University

    3D Printing of Photonics - Harnessing the Third Dimension

    Everyone should benefit from the unlimited knowledge the Internet has to offer. However, a capacity crunch is imminent. Global data demand will soon be reaching the fundamental capacity limit of our fibre optic communication networks. Integrated photonic circuits, the optical equivalent of integrated electronic circuits, are the backbone of the Internet. However, they are limited to two dimensions and require sophisticated fabrication tools. The use of a novel laser based process, similar to 3D printing, enables photonic circuits to access the third dimension with the push of a button. For the first time, these 3D circuits unlock access to the many degrees of freedom of a photon for scaling the fibre optic transmission capacity and avoiding the capacity crunch.


    About Simon Gross

    Simon Gross' research lies at the intersection of different disciplines such as integrated optics, microfabrication, laser physics, material science and applications such as astronomy and optical communication. Simon Gross received his M.Sc. degree in Microelectronics from the Vienna University of Technology, Austria, and a PhD degree in Physics from Macquarie University, Australia. He currently holds an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellowship at the MQ Photonics Research Centre and Centre for Ultrahigh Bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS) at Macquarie University. He is also a co-founder of Modular Photonics. A start-up that is providing 3D photonic circuits for the next generation of ultrahigh bandwidth optical communication networks.

  • Yong Lin Kong

    Postdoctoral Associate

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

    3D Printing of Nanomaterials-based Functional Electronics

    In general, my research aims to overcome planarity constraint of conventional microfabrication techniques to enable the creation of novel functional devices. Overcoming this barrier has significant potential applications that enable the incorporation of functionalities, such as advanced optical, computation or sensing capabilities, to an otherwise passive three dimensional biological and mechanical systems. Microextrusion-based 3D printing is an additive manufacturing technique that represents an alternative approach which offers freeform fabrication capabilities. In this presentation, I will describe the synergistic integration of active nanoelectronic components with the versatility of 3D printing which enables the three-dimensional freeform fabrication of active electronics.


    About Yong Lin Kong

    Yong Lin Kong is a postdoctoral associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His current research is focused on the fabrication of biomedical devices and the printing of nanomaterial-based functional devices. He received a B.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering with First Class Honors from The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (2010), a M.A. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (2012) and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science from Princeton University (2016). He is a recipient of the Materials Research Society Graduate Student Award, Guggenheim Second Year Fellowship, Sayre Award for Academic Excellence, and the HKUST Academic Achievement Medal.

  • Gang Wang

    Associate Professor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering

    Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

    Developing brain-inspired deep neural networks for artificial intelligence

    Human brains are powerful at interpreting speech and visual signals. Can we get inspiration from human brains to build highly capable computational neural networks to achieve similar performance? The answer is yes. In this talk, I will introduce our research progress on developing brain-inspired deep learning algorithms, which have similar and interesting mechanism such as long-term memory engagement, adaptive information flow regulation, and selective attention, etc. Our simulation results on realistic image data show that such brain-inspired mechanism largely advances the state-of-the-art performance.


    About Gang Wang

    Wang Gang is a tenured Associate Professor with the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. He is an associate director of the ROSE lab at NTU. He had a joint appointment at the Advanced Digital Science Center (operated by UIUC) as a research scientist from 2010 to 2014. He received his PhD degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research interests include artificial intelligence, deep learning, and computer vision. He is a recipient of the Harriett & Robert Perry Fellowship, CS/AI award, best paper awards from PREMIA and top 10 percent paper awards from MMSP. He supervised a team to achieve top 5 in the ImageNet challenge on scene classification in 2015 and 2016 respectively. His technologies have been used by more than 5 international companies.

  • John Ho

    Assistant Professor

    Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

    National University of Singapore (NUS)

    Wireless Technologies for Bioelectronic Therapies

    Since the first pacemaker was implanted in 1958, bioelectronic devices have benefited millions of patients, restoring hearing, reducing pain, and alleviating depression. Surprisingly, devices have remained about the same size, largely because of the bulkiness of the battery. Scientists now envision that tiny sensors and stimulators might be used to help treat intractable diseases like cancer and diabetes. My work seeks to make this vision a reality through new wireless technologies. By enabling smaller and deeper bioelectronic devices, these technologies could bring closer the day where doctors will, instead of a pill, prescribe a tiny, wireless device.


    About John Ho

    John S. Ho was born in California. He completed his BEng at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and his MS and PhD from Stanford University, all in electrical engineering. He was a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellow, and his thesis focused on wireless power transfer to small-scale bioelectronic devices. He joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the National University of Singapore as an assistant professor in 2015 where he is working on new wireless technologies for bioelectronic systems.

  • Prateek Saxena

    Dean's Chair Assistant Professor

    School of Computing

    National University of Singapore (NUS)

    Can Computers Withstand "Earthquakes"?

    Computer systems today are often built to tolerate failure that arises in normal or benign operations. When sophisticated attackers carefully target the weak points in software systems, they can breach the security of systems with ease. This begs to question: can we design next-generation computer systems to withstand large-scale, co-ordinated security attacks? Bridges can be designed to withstand earthquakes, so why can't computers? Towards this goal, we will showcase recent examples of research pushing the boundaries of computer defenses. These defenses employ rigorous scientific methods at their core, and some of them have transitioned into practical and popularly used systems.


    About Prateek Saxena

    Prateek Saxena is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at National University of Singapore and a co-founder of Anquan. His research spans broadly in computer security, with a recent focus on web security, binary analysis, and distributed cryptography. His research work on sandboxing and script injection defenses has influenced the design of several architectural elements in web browsers, web applications and public blockchains. He has received several awards including the David J. Sakrison Memorial Award for outstanding doctoral work at UC Berkeley (2012), Dean’s Chair at NUS (2012 - 2018), and AT&T Award for Best Applied Security Research Paper (2010).

  • Sumeet Walia


    Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT)

    Nanoscale electronics based on naturally occurring materials

    Oxides are naturally occurring materials that have tremendous potential for a range of electronic applications given that their properties can be tuned. This research relies on designing ultra-thin layers of these materials to create minuscule energy sources and artificial electronic memory cells. The energy sources are capable of generating intense bursts of energy that can be exploited for a range of applications in the field of healthcare and electronics. The research has also led to the creation of an on-chip memory that mimics the ability of the human brain to store and recall multiple events, which is a precursor for realising a bionic brain.


    About Sumeet Walia

    Dr Sumeet Walia is an emerging leader in the field of nanoelectronics. He specialises in the use of metal oxides for the next-generation of high performance electronic devices and systems. He is based at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia from where he graduated with a PhD in 2013. He has published twenty-seven high impact journal articles, with seven of these featuring on journal covers. His work has featured in over 800 national and international media outlets with one of the discoveries being selected as a Top 100 Innovation of 2016 by Netexplo in partnership with UNESCO. He has won awards such as the Award for Research Impact 2016 as an Early Career Researcher and a Malcolm Moore Industry Award.

  • Dawn Tan

    Assistant Professor

    Engineering Product Development

    Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)

    Breaking the Internet's Limits: Lighting the way through photonics

    A single bit of internet data goes through a complex value chain of electronics and photonics before it is received by its intended recipient. Data originating in electrical form needs to be converted to its optical form, aggressively squeezed into optical fiber, restored and reconverted. We study optical nanostructures for trillion-fold concentration of optical fields well below the diffraction limit, such that unprecedented regimes of light-matter interaction may be harnessed for vast improvements in the transmission, capacity, cost and reliability of internet data - The term "Breaking the Internet" will become a thing of the past.


    About Dawn Tan

    Dawn Tan is an assistant professor at the Singapore University of Technology and Design. She leads the Photonics Devices and Systems Group which explores emerging nonlinear optical phenomena and methods to harness optical nanostructures for telecommunications, datacom, precision sensing and imaging. Dr. Tan received her doctorate in Electrical Engineering (Photonics) at the University of California San Diego where she was a Powell Fellow. She was previously a visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and part of the design team at Californian startup, Luxtera Inc. Dr. Tan and her research have been featured in the Straits Times, USNews, the NSF and various media outlets. She was recently featured as one of Asia’s rising scientists in Asian Scientist Magazine.