Two members of the institute, Professor John Wong Eu-Li, CSI Governing Board Member, and Dr Melissa Fullwood, Principal Investigator at CSI, have been conferred top honours at the 2014 President’s Science and Technology Awards (PTSA) ceremony held at the Istana on 4 November. The winners were presented with their awards by President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Mr S Iswaran, Minster at Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs, Trade and Industry, respectively. Professor John Wong Eu-Li, who is also Chief Executive of the National University Health System (NUHS) and NUS Senior Vice President (Health Affairs), was presented with the prestigious President’s Science and Technology Medal. The PTSA are the highest scientific honours in Singapore recognising exceptional individuals for their achievements in science and technology, as well as contributions to the country’s R&D. At the PTSA ceremony, the Young Scientist Awards (YSA), organised by the Singapore National Academy of Science and supported by Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), was also presented to Dr Melissa Fullwood. The YSA recognises young researchers active in R&D and have demonstrated great potential to become world-class scientists in their fields of expertise.
Leading the way in Singapore’s healthcare and biomedical landscape
Prof John Wong is one of the nation’s pioneers in developing Singapore’s biomedical landscape, playing a pivotal role in shaping policies, recruiting top scientists and working with governmental economic agencies to attract pharmaceutical companies to Singapore. Among his sustained contributions over the years, Prof Wong’s achievements include the establishment of the Cancer Therapeutics Research Group, which brings together academic centres from Singapore, Australia and across Asia to develop better treatments for cancer which predominantly affect Asian populations. He has also helped establish and lead the NUHS, merging research, clinical care and education to advance the quality of healthcare in the country. These collective efforts have helped propel Singapore as one of the international leaders in healthcare. Besides hosting the first regional meeting of the World Health Summit in 2013, Singapore was also invited as the first non-G8 member of the M8 Alliance of Academic Health System.
A bright future for the next generation of scientific leadership
Dr Melissa Fullwood was recognised for her work on the 3-dimensional genomic organisation, or chromatin interactions, in cancer. Her current investigation of detailed epigenomic profiles allows for new insights into possible cancer-associated biomarkers and therapies. This work is expected to have translational applications in terms of annotations for personal and clinical sequencing and development of clinical biomarkers. Dr Fullwood has published in top scientific journals such as Nature and her work has been cited more than 1,500 times. She holds several patents and is a recipient of several awards, including the prestigious National Research Foundation (NRF) Fellowship in 2013.