Seen and heard this week


Seen and heard this week is a weekly column highlighting thought leadership from the NUS community


In a news report in The Straits Times on 26 April, Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum Deputy Head Professor Rudolph Meier and Museum Officer Dr Ang Yuchen spoke about a new online database hosted by the Museum that has collated over 11,200 entries of plants, animals and fungi found in Singapore. Most entries in the database will provide a name and photograph of each species with some accompanied by useful links to other sources, illustrating how flora and fauna interact. Prof Meier and Dr Ang, who manage the Biodiversity of Singapore database, said that the platform will help to generate greater awareness and appreciation of Singapore’s vast biodiversity.

Another report in The Straits Times on 26 April featured an 11-member team from Singapore, Japan, Taiwan and Thailand, led by Professor Patrick Tan from Duke-NUS Medical School (Duke-NUS), who made history as the first Asian team to receive the prestigious American Association for Cancer Research Team Science Award. The team found that many Asian cancers could be linked to specific exposures and environmental agents such as bacteria, viruses and toxins — a link more pronounced than in the West. Prof Tan and team member Professor Teh Bin Tean from Duke-NUS, said they hope their findings will facilitate new methods of cancer prevention and a better understanding of other cancers worldwide. Other Duke-NUS team members included Professor Steven Rozen and Professor Lim Soon Thye who is also Associate Dean at Duke-NUS. 

Assistant Professor Yan Ning from NUS Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering shared his research journey and ambitions in an interview with Asian Scientist Magazine on 27 April. Asst Prof Yan’s work focuses on biomass conversion, nanocatalysis and green chemistry, which are critical processes for the upcycling of food, agricultural and industrial waste. He said that he saw the underestimated potential of crustacean shells as feedstock for value-added applications and decided to venture into pioneering developments in the field. He added that young researchers should dare to think differently and keep pushing boundaries in research.

Read more about the NUS community in the news.