UM’s first ‘Macao Fellow’ appointed visiting scholar at Harvard and to receive Predoctoral Achievement Award

Dr Lei Ka-Meng, a lecturer under the ‘Macao Fellow’ programme at the University of Macau, will be a visiting scholar at the Harvard University for a two-year term starting in mid-2017. During his stay, Dr Lei will explore a parallel nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) platform combining advanced microfluidic, magnetic-sensing and integrated circuits technologies, with the aim of substantially reducing the cost and time of NMR experiments. 

Dr Lei was born and raised in Macao. He received his bachelor’s degree in electrical and electronics engineering from UM in 2012, and he was among the first cohort to graduate from UM’s Honours College. He began to be involved in challenging research projects of the State-Key Laboratory of Analog and Mixed-Signal VLSI in his third year of undergraduate studies. One of his research works led to a paper published in an SCI journal; another paper was presented at the Asia Symposium on Quality Electronic Design 2013, and was one of the three papers out of 57 to receive the Best Paper Award. Because of his outstanding research capability, after receiving his bachelor’s degree he was directly admitted for PhD studies at UM, under the co-supervision of Prof Mak Pui In, Dr Law Man Kay, and Prof Rui Martins.

For his PhD research, Dr Lei worked on a new multi-disciplinary direction - CMOS nuclear magnetic resonance system for point-of-care diagnosis, which makes possible intelligent detection of biological targets on a handheld platform. The two prototypes he developed were reported in the most prestigious journals and conferences in the field. In October 2015, he made an oral presentation at the International Conference on Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences, which has an acceptance rate of 9% for oral presentations. At the Asian Solid-State Circuits Conference of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), held in November of the same year, he presented a paper, demonstrated his work for the Student Design Contest, and received the Distinguished Design Award. Subsequently, he was invited to submit his work to a special issue of the IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits (JSSC). In February 2016, he presented his work developed in collaboration with the University of Pavia, Italy, at the IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) and received the ISSCC Silkroad Award, which is given to outstanding students from Asia, Australia, and the Pacific region. In addition, this work was selected for live demonstration during the conference. It was the first time a work from Macao, Hong Kong, and mainland China had been selected for live demonstration at ISSCC. The related paper was selected as one of the ISSCC Technical Highlights of the conference. Because of the excellent performance of his work at the conference, he was invited to submit a full-length paper to a special issue of the JSSC. It is scheduled to be published in January 2017. 

In February 2017, Dr Lei will receive the prestigious Predoctoral Achievement Award from the IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society, which is awarded to an elite group of outstanding graduate students in the area of solid-state circuits. His PhD thesis will be expanded into a research book to be published by the Springer, the world’s largest science publisher, in 2017. Our pride is founded on the fact that such extraordinary student accomplishments are rare, perhaps unheard-of, even among prestigious universities of the world.