Renowned cancer researcher Professor Ashok Venkitaraman is set to helm the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore (CSI Singapore) at NUS, taking over from Founding Director Professor Daniel G Tenen in November 2020. Prof Venkitaraman will become a Distinguished Professor at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and take up appointments as Senior Principal Investigator and Senior Adviser at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).
Prof Venkitaraman will begin his appointments after a period of transition from his current responsibilities as the Ursula Zoellner Professor of Cancer Research and Director of the Medical Research Council Centre Unit at the University of Cambridge.
“NUS has become an important hub for academic and industrial collaborations that already span the globe. There is great potential to forge new links that build upon my deep-rooted connections with colleagues in the University of Cambridge and elsewhere,” he said.
“Cancer remains a major cause of illness and death across Asia and worldwide. But the tide is turning, and rapid advances in scientific understanding driven by fundamental research promise to fuel the innovation that will reduce the burden of illness and death from this dreaded disease. CSI Singapore aspires to remain at the forefront of this vital research,” he added.
Prof Venkitaraman is widely recognised for his contributions to understanding the genetics and biology of cancer. His research has contributed fundamentally to the understanding of how cancer is suppressed by genes that maintain the integrity of DNA in the human genome. His laboratory first discovered that mutations in the breast and ovarian cancer gene BRCA2 provoke genome instability, leading to carcinogenesis.
The Director-Designate now seeks to achieve a deeper understanding of the steps that underlie carcinogenesis, in order to find new strategies to intercept cancer development well before the disease reaches an advanced and hard-to-treat stage.
“We are pleased to welcome Prof Venkitaraman to NUS. We are confident his skills and experience will push boundaries in research and entrepreneurship in biomedical sciences and take CSI Singapore to new heights. I would also like to express our appreciation to Prof Tenen for his strong leadership in developing CSI Singapore into a world-class cancer research institution,” said Professor Ho Teck Hua, NUS Senior Deputy President and Provost.
CSI Singapore has achieved recognition through numerous awards and honours conferred on its scientists and students under Prof Tenen’s leadership over the last decade. The impact, breadth and quality of the Institute’s research is also evident in its publications in high impact scientific journals.
See press release.