Dr Sally Ng Nga-Lee

1999 Scholar

Dr Sally Ng Nga-Lee

1999 Scholar

Sally is one of the few Chinese female academia in the United States. She works at the prestigious Georgia Institute of Technology in the Schools of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and Earth & Atmospheric Sciences. She also serves as a Director of the Environmental Division for the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).

Sally’s research focuses on particulate matter —a culprit of air pollution. In particular, she studies the interaction between anthropogenic and organic emissions, as well as the continuous changes in the chemical properties of aerosols after they enter the atmosphere. Sally’s academic achievements have earned her many honours, most notably the Kenneth T. Whitby Award from the American Association for Aerosol Research. She was one of the most cited earth science scholars in 2017.

“The Jockey Club Scholarship made it financially viable for me to go to the United States as an exchange student when I was studying for my undergraduate degree at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. I was in Minnesota and realised the air there was a lot fresher than in Hong Kong. That, together with my undergraduate research experience, helped me develop a passion for particulate matter studies.”

Microscopic particles of particulate matter can enter the human body through the respiratory system, causing various illnesses. Some particles also reflect or absorb solar energy, contributing to climate change. A deeper understanding of particulate matter can therefore help tackle climate change and improve human health.

“It has been 20 years since I received my Jockey Club Scholarship,” Sally recalls. “Air pollution remains a serious problem in Hong Kong. With the knowledge I’ve accumulated over the years, I hope to collaborate with other scholars in finding a solution for Hong Kong. By studying the chemical mechanism behind the formulation of particulate matter, we can learn more about air pollution’s impact on public health and better evaluate the effectiveness of different policies in improving air quality.”