Professor Kam Leong Elected to Taiwan’s Academia Sinica

Professor Kam W. Leong has been elected to the prestigious Academia Sinica of Taiwan, founded in 1928 to promote and undertake scholarly research in science, engineering and humanities. The Academician recognition, open to scientists and scholars both domestic and overseas, represents the highest scholarly honor in Taiwan. The Academy counts seven Nobel laureates among its fellows.

Kam W. Leong, Samuel Y. Sheng Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Shih-Fu Chang, senior executive vice dean, the Richard Dicker Professor of Telecommunications, and professor of electrical engineering and of computer science, and were both recognized for their contributions to the field of engineering. In total, 21 new fellows were announced at the academy’s biennial Convocation of Academicians held in early July.  Only five researchers were honored in the Division of Engineering Sciences. Columbia Engineering also boasts two additional faculty who have previously been inducted as Academicians of Academia Sinica, Prof. Van C. Mow of Biomedical Engineering and Prof. Wen Wang of Electrical Engineering

“Thisis a wonderful recognition of the many achievements of these two outstanding researchers who are both leading scholars in their respective fields,” said Mary Boyce, Dean of Columbia Engineering. “And to see Columbia faculty prominently recognized as two of the five new members in the engineering division is a testament to the global impact of the work done here.”

Leong—an expert in biomaterials, nanomedicine, gene editing and tissue engineering—joined the faculty in 2014, and also holds an appointment in the Department of Systems Biology. As head of the Nanotherapeutics & Stem Cell Engineering Lab, his group currently seeks innovative treatments for neurogenerative diseases through direct cellular reprogramming and gene editing. A renowned researcher in nanoscale therapeutics, Leong successfully developed nonviral gene delivery systems for hemophilia and genetic immunization. Currently, he works at the interface of nanotherapeutics and regenerative medicine to develop new treatment strategies for inflammatory diseases and cancer. One of his recent research directions is the development of human cell-based tissue-chips for drug development, disease modeling, and precision medicine.

“I am humbled and honored to be elected to such a distinguished body. Naturally the honor belongs to the collective effort of students, postdoctoral fellows, and collaborators over the years. There is so much more science to be done and I look forward to working with them for years to come,” said Leong.

Leong was previously elected to the National Academy of Engineering (2013) and the National Academy of Inventors (2013). He has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Chinese American Society of Nanotechnology & Nanomedicine, the President’s Fellowship for Distinguished Scientist from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2015 Savio L-Y. Woo Distinguished Lectureship from the World Association for Chinese Biomedical Engineers, and the Distinguished Scientist Award from the International Journal of Nanomedicine, among many other honors.

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