ICNST 2021 Keynote Speakers

Prof. Zikang TANG 汤子康教授
Director of Institute of Applied Physics and Materials Engineering
University of Macau (UM), China 澳门大学

Zikang Tang, currently is Chair Professor and Director of Institute of Applied Physics and Materials Engineering, University of Macau. Before he joined to University of Macau in Jan 2016, he has been working for Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, as professor in the Department of Physics. Prof. Tang is a pioneer in research on wide bandgap semiconductor photo-electronic physics and devices. With outstanding achievements in the field of zinc oxide ultraviolet lasing materials and devices, he won a State Natural Science Award (2nd class) in 2003. In 2000, he developed a unique technique to produce the world’s smallest single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs), with diameter of only 0.4 nm, which has been hailed as a revolutionary epoch-making material. Later, he observed novel one-dimensional superconductivity in these ultra-small SWNTs, causing a stir in the global scientific community. He was among the first group of professors recruited under China’s “Thousand Talent Scheme” and he is recipient of "China Guanghua Engineering Science and Technology Award" (2020). He has published more than 300 papers in prestigious international journals, with citation frequency of over 12100 times. His pioneer research work on zinc oxide ultraviolet laser emission published on Applied Physics Letters is among the top 50 most cited papers in the past 50 years listed in the special 50th Anniversary edition of Applied Physics Letters. His research interest includes Nano structured electronic materials, Carbon nanotubes, graphene and 2D materials, ZnO crystal thin films, wide-gap semiconductors and their photo-electronic devices.

Prof. William C. Tang (FInstP, FAIMBE)
University of California, Irvine, USA

William C. Tang received his BS (1980), MS (1982), and PhD (1990) degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences from the University of California at Berkeley. His seminal thesis and invention of the electrostatic comb drive has been internationally recognized as one of the key building blocks of Micro-electromechanical Systems (MEMS) sensors and actuators, and is the most widely-cited work in the field for over two decades. Since his graduation, Dr. Tang contributed to the automotive industry at Ford Motor Company and space exploration at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Subsequently, he served as the DARPA Program Manager for various MEMS programs, the single largest federal funding source for MEMS at the time. In 2002, he was appointed a Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Electrical Engineering & Computer Science at the University of California, Irvine. Later, he was also jointly appointed with the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and the Materials Science and Engineering Departments. He was the first Associate Dean for Research in the Henry Samueli School of Engineering from 2008 to 2013. His research interests include micro- and nano-scale biomedical engineering, neural engineering, neuropathology and clinical applications. He is a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a Fellow and Chartered Physicist with the Institute of Physics, and a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.
Speech Topic: Probing Neural Science at the Micro and Nano Scales
Abstract: According to the United Nations, there is one in every 6 persons in the world suffering from neurologic disorder. In the United States alone, there were 6.2 million patients living with Alzheimer’s disease in 2020; for example. This figure is projected to increase to 14 million in less than 30 years. Between 2000 and 2017, death from heart disease had gone down by 9%, while death from Alzheimer’s disease had gone up by 145%, killing more seniors than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. At the same time, various treatments for Alzheimer’s disease have not been effective without any known cure. Twenty years have passed between the previous FDA-approved drug for Alzheimer’s disease and the latest accelerated approval of aducanumab on June 7, 2021. One of the main bottlenecks in developing effective and long-lasting treatments in neurological disorders is our yet insufficient understanding of the nervous system and how various disorders impact its physiology. The advent of micro technology is offering tools to probe at the brain at a scale that has never been reached before and provide meaningful augmentation to our current knowledge on how the brain and the rest of the nervous system work. The uses of Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) and nanotechnology both in vivo and in vitro have elucidated the intricate and complex network of neuronal tissues and subregions of different parts of the brain. One example of such advances is the reconstruction of hippocampal subregions in a microfluidic device to study the electrophysiology of neural communications. The hippocampus has been known as the center for memory formation, consolidation, and retrieval. The rich axonal spike dynamics between subregions of the hippocampus reveal both constraints and broad emergent dynamics of hippocampal architecture. In particular, certain aspects of how memories are received, sorted, stored, and retrieved can be probed at with analyzing spikes and spike dynamics from subregions of the hippocampus. Further studies could shed light on how the brain learns and unlearns. Similar studies on the other parts of the brain are vital to understanding how disease states impact the brain and how potential therapeutic strategies can be developed meaningfully.