WOMEN IN STEM – Innovating A Point-Of-Care Test To Solving Covid-19 Test Delay

By Miracle Nwankwo

There is a growing list of women who are becoming more aware of what it means to be an amazon in a world in dire need of survival. Jackie Y. Ying is an impressive personality, an addition to the list of Muslim women doing and achieving great things on the planet.

Prof. Ying is a woman you should definitely know, especially in an unprecedented time where the whole world is at a standstill following the onslaught and spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

She is the current Executive Director of the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) in Singapore. Prof. Ying has been recognized with a number of research awards but most importantly she and her team have just come up with a rapid test that can tell if a person has COVID-19 in less than ten minutes.

For future consumption of this article, the COVID-19 is the abbreviated form of the novel coronavirus disease, discovered in late December 2019, in a city called Wuhan in China. Following several reports of acute respiratory syndrome in Wuhan city, the Chinese scientist moved to research about the cause of the epidemic. Just when the disease was about to be tagged Wuhan virus, it soon spread rapidly into other parts of China causing the death of many.

In early 2020, due to movement of infected persons who were unaware of the infection since the early stage of the virus is unnoticeable, coronavirus became a pandemic ravaging most part of Asia, moving into Europe, Australia, Africa, and the Americas.

While the COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly evolving, and outbreak investigations are being carried out by various international health bodies, however, individualistic efforts have been on the rise both from men and women (most especially) to help eradicate the world of the deadly disease.

Therefore, in a time like this we will not resist to praise the effort of Prof. Ying who amongst other researchers in the world is working to innovate a point-of-care test that can help detect COVID-19 easily and on time.

In efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, the World Health Organisation has emphasized on the need to ‘test, test, test’ as way to contain the spread. This has cause a lot of researchers to swing into intense research for the discovery of better ways to develop rapid and accurate diagnosis that can be done without the use of expensive machines which has been the challenge.

Prof. Ying and her team came up with this fast test care after they were challenged by Frederick Chew, Chief Executive of A*Star, a science, technology and research agency in Singapore, who told them to come up with a rapid test for COVID-19. The test when approved will be used for fast-checking COVID-19 and help contain the virus.

About Professor Ying

Prof. Ying is a Taiwanese born in the year 1966 in Taipei the capital city of her home country. She was raised in Singapore and New York. She attended Raffles Girls’ School, in Singapore and at the age of fifteen she and her family to New York.

There in New York, she studied Chemical Engineering from The Cooper Union and graduated with B.E. summa cum laude (indication of the level of distinction with which an academic degree was earned, meaning ‘with highest honor’) in 1987. Jackie furthered her education in Princeton University, a private Ivy League research university in New Jersey, where she received her Master’s degree in chemical engineering in 1988 and her PhD in 1991.

She became a full professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in 2001, she was one of the MIT’s youngest full professors at the time.

She currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Society for Biological Engineering, on the Scientific Advisory Boards of Molecular Frontiers and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology Catalysis Center.

She is also an Honorary Professor at the King Saud University (Saudi Arabia), Jilin University (China), Sichuan University (China) and Nanyang Technological University (Singapore).

Furthermore, she is the Editor-in-Chief of Nano Today, an international peer-reviewed academic journal dedicated to nanoscience and technology, and has 340 publications in leading journals.

Prof. Ying has over 150 primary patents issued or pending, many which have been successfully licensed for commercialization by multinational companies and start-ups. One of the spin-off companies that she co- founded, SmartCells, Inc., has developed a technology platform that is capable of auto-regulating the release of insulin depending on the blood glucose levels.

Prof. Ying is a special woman with a brilliant capacity and a role model for every woman. She clearly dispels the fear of the STEM field, showing the impact of women in world.

Source: Amazons Watch Magazine

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