Prestigious award recognises engineering impact

Internationally recognised academic leader and University of Waikato Professor Dr Yifan Chen is the recipient of the prestigious Engineering New Zealand Fellows Award.

Dr Chen has worked in many well-renowned international universities and pioneered the emerging field of computational nanobiosensing, which involves smart tumour targeting using nanorobots.

These nanorobots can search for tumours by learning the biological environment. He has also contributed to the technological, clinical and commercialisation advancement in the area of microwave medical imaging and sensing.

The Engineering New Zealand Fellows Award recognises those who have made an impact on engineering in New Zealand and inspired others in their industry.

Professor Chen says receiving the award and being recognised by a leading engineering body in New Zealand was a great honour.

“Since joining the University of Waikato in 2017, in my role as Associate Dean External Engagement for the Health, Engineering, Computing and Science Division, I have fostered external linkages with top universities and institutes, particularly in China,” he says.

Dr Chen developed a wide range of electromagnetic medical examination technologies for low-cost healthcare, including microwave breast imaging, microwave stroke detection, and microwave cognitive impairment detection in collaboration with medical instrument companies and universities in the UK and China.

Professor Chen has also been elected as a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (FIET) due to his innovation in the area of wireless technologies in medical diagnostics, therapy and information transmission. He is also currently part of several research projects, including one looking at developing hand-held high-resolution medical imaging in conjunction with Lincoln Agritech, the University of Auckland and the Université Nice Sophia Antipolis.

“As well as that project, I’m also looking into a portable low-cost microwave brain scanner for stroke detection and recovery monitoring, and I am writing a book on ‘Computational Nanobiosensing’ for Cambridge University Press, which would be the first book on this emerging area in the market,” says Professor Chen.

The award ceremony and dinner was to be held at the end of March however it was postponed due to COVID-19 and will now be held later in the year.