Plenary Speaker

Assoc. Prof. TONG Yen Wah
National University of Singapore, Singapore

Associate Professor Tong Yen Wah joined the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2001 after graduating from the University of Toronto with a PhD in Chemical Engineering. His expertise is in biomaterials research for tissue engineering and in bioenergy from food wastes and biomass wastes, with over 130 publications and 6000 citations. His recent works in food wastes management has been successfully commercialized with distributed anaerobic digesters that can be effectively used in cities through a spin-off company from NUS. Dr Tong is currently the co-Programme Director for a NRF CREATE programme with Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) on “Energy and Environmental Sustainability Solutions for Megacities”, E2S2-CREATE, a collaborative research programme between NUS and SJTU funded by the Singapore National Research Foundation for S$89 million on studying coupled problems in megacities related to energy, environment, health and waste.
Research Focus of Laboratory
One of the major focus for our laboratory in the last 10 years have been in anaerobic digestion of food wastes, where we developed multi-stage bioreactors that can enhance organic waste treatment together with detailed metagenomics and bacterial community studies that have given a good indication of which species predominate in the different digestion stages. Specifically, we have studied the application of engineering fundamentals to environmental sustainability through environmental biotechnology in our microbial bioreactors for waste treatment. In this field of bioengineering, we have used advanced sequencing technologies combined with data analytics to refine and identify the interactions between the species and genera, building knowledge of the microbiome that can help to improve the efficiency of AD for different organic wastes. While this might seem quite disparate from gastro-intestinal digestion at first glance, there is a strong scientific and biological linkage between the way we digest the food that we eat with the digestion of food wastes in bioreactors. Therefore, we aim to couple the knowledge in nutrition and human health with environmental biotechnology, making use of AD systems to mimic the gastrointestinal tracts in humans and animals.