NUS to establish mentorship programme in honour of the late Dr Sydney Brenner

The National University of Singapore (NUS) will establish the Brenner Fellowship in honour of the late Dr Sydney Brenner, a world-renowned scientist and Nobel laureate who had left a profound legacy in the field of molecular biology. This mentorship programme aims to nurture and support talented Singapore-based undergraduates who are keen to pursue research in biomedical sciences, by providing opportunities for them to travel overseas to work in the laboratories of leading scientists who will serve as their mentors.


Dr Brenner at the Sydney Brenner Symposium in 2015 which was jointly organised by NUS

Supported by a network of mentors around the world who had been influenced by Dr Brenner, the Brenner Fellowship serves to continue Dr Brenner’s efforts in advancing the development of young researchers and their pursuit of scientific progress. 

This announcement was made by Mr Heng Swee Keat, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Finance, and Chairman of the National Research Foundation Singapore, who was the Guest-of-Honour at the inaugural NUHS Innovation Summit.

Said NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye, “The late Dr Sydney Brenner was a global pioneer in the field of molecular biology. He was also an NUS faculty member who was tremendously generous with sharing his rich experience and wise advice with the University. Dr Brenner was instrumental in shaping Singapore’s research and development landscape, and placing Singapore on the global map for biomedical sciences. During his lifetime, he inspired a whole generation of scientists who continue to build on his outstanding work. NUS is honoured to establish the Brenner Fellowship as a tribute to his legacy, and to carry forward his ideals of nurturing great scientific talents for the betterment of society.” 

Molecular Biology Giant

Dr Brenner was renowned for shaping modern biology and understanding of the genetic code for over six decades. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2002 for his work in molecular biology.

Widely regarded as the father of biomedical sciences in Singapore, Dr Brenner was pivotal to the establishment of Singapore’s first life sciences research institute in 1985, the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, which was officially opened at NUS in 1987. 

Dr Brenner, who was adjunct professor at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, was conferred the NUS Honorary Doctor of Letters in 1995 for his contributions to Singapore. 

Among the other accolades he received for his dedication and commitment to Singapore were the Distinguished Friends of Singapore award in 2000, Honorary Citizen in 2003 and the National Science and Technology Medal in 2006.

Dr Brenner passed away on 5 April 2019 at the age of 92.