1. The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) announced today that Dr Edison Liu, Executive Director, Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) will be passing the baton of leadership to Dr Ng Huck Hui, Senior Group Leader at GIS. Dr Ng will be appointed as Acting Executive Director of GIS with effect from 1 January 2012.
2. Dr Edison Liu, who has contributed significantly to shaping the Singapore’s biomedical research landscape, will be moving to new and exciting challenges where he will assume the position of President and Chief Executive Officer at The Jackson Laboratory in the USA. Dr Liu is the pioneer batch of international talent who came to Singapore in 2001 to help kick-start the biomedical sciences (BMS) initiative and build up GIS, genomic research and talent for Singapore. Even as Dr Liu relinquishes his role as Executive Director of GIS, he will continue his research in his lab at GIS for one year as Senior Scientist. This will help ensure a smooth leadership transition at GIS.
3. Dr Ng Huck Hui, one of the young scientists who joined GIS in 2003, has been mentored and groomed by Dr Liu to form the next-generation of scientific leaders as part of succession planning. Dr Ng is renowned in the field of stem cell, where he has spent more than a decade in research on understanding the intricacies of gene regulation and how they relate to cell biology. Dr Ng will be the first, home-grown talent, amongst the second-generation scientific leadership, to be given the opportunity to helm an A*STAR biomedical research institute, when he assumes the position as Acting Executive Director of GIS on 1 January 2012.
Contributions of Dr Edison Liu
4. Dr Edison Liu was recruited as the founding Executive Director of GIS in 2001, tasked with developing genomic research, infrastructure, scientific human capital, and attracting R&D ventures in biomedicine into Singapore. Under his leadership, GIS grew from an initial three staff into a major international research institute comprising 27 laboratory groups and 270 staff, all within a short span of 11 years. Today, GIS is recognised internationally as a leader in functional genomics, computational biology, population genetics and genome-to-systems biology.
5. Said Mr Lim Chuan Poh, Chairman, A*STAR, “I would like to express my deep appreciation to Ed for his invaluable contributions in the 11 years that he has been with A*STAR. As the founding Executive Director of GIS, Ed has played a pivotal role in building up GIS, from scratch, into an international, world-class genome biology research institute. He has also helped put Singapore on the world map as a biomedical research hub. Ed has built up a strong management team at GIS, and left behind a legacy of many outstanding young scientific leaders, like Huck Hui, who will begin to form the core of the next generation of leaders for A*STAR’s biomedical research institutes. While we are sad to see Ed go, I wish him all the best in his new appointment at Jackson Laboratory, where I am sure he will continue to distinguish himself. At the same time, we look forward to working with him to build new links between Jackson Laboratory and A*STAR.”
6. Dr. Liu’s own scientific research has focused on the functional genomics of human cancers, particularly breast cancer, uncovering new oncogenes, and deciphering the dynamics of gene regulation on genomic scale that modulate cancer biology. He has authored nearly 300 scientific papers and reviews, and co-authored two books - Oncogenes: An Introduction to the Concept of Cancer Genes (Springer Verlag, 1988) and Systems Biomedicine: Concepts and Perspectives (Elsevier and Academic Press, 2009).
7. A recipient of many awards including the 2003 Commendation Medal for helping Singapore resolve the SARS crisis, Dr Liu has also served as the Chairman for Health Sciences Authority since 2007. He was also a member of the Singapore Bioethics Advisory Committee and Ministerial committee to revaluate Singapore’s secondary school system with the Ministry of Education. Dr Liu is currently serving his second term as the elected President of the Human Genome Organization (HUGO).
8. Dr Liu said, “Over the past 11 years, I have had the honour of contributing to the development of the life sciences in Singapore and in the process, I have spiritually joined the Singaporean family. I have been so fortunate to have brought such talented scientific colleagues to the GIS who work well together, and who are committed to excellence. Together, we built one of the best institutes in the world developing some of the most powerful genetic strategies to understand human biology and human disease states. We are facing many challenges ahead but never should lose sight of innovative basic research as we work towards making our discoveries useful to industry and to medicine. To optimise this balance, I can think of no one better than Huck Hui Ng to lead the GIS. Huck started and built his career at the GIS. He is a superb scientist, a keen intellect, an excellent communicator, and a strong team leader. It is symbolic that at this juncture, that I, as someone brought in from the outside, can pass the leadership baton to a son of Singapore. Singapore has reached an important milestone in the path to being a hub for research excellence.”
Dr Ng Huck Hui
9. Dr Ng is renowned in the field of stem cell and has established himself as a leader in the areas of cell fate control and stem cell genomics both locally and internationally. He has an outstanding publication record and has published some of the seminal pieces of work in the mapping of regulatory networks in stem cells. He also sits on the editorial board of seven international journals and is regularly invited to speak at top scientific conferences.
10. Prior to joining GIS as a Group Leader in 2003, Dr Ng was a Postdoctoral fellow with Harvard Medical School (2000-2003) under the prestigious Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Postdoctoral fellowship. He was promoted to Senior Group Leader in 2007. In 2010, he was concurrently appointed as Associate Director for Stem Cell and Development Biology in GIS. Additionally, in 2011, he assumed the role of Deputy Director for Research Programmes.
11. Dr Ng has led his team in making significant advancements and breakthroughs in the area of stem cell research for application in the biomedical field and genomics. During his tenure at GIS, Dr Ng has trained numerous young researchers who aspire to be the future research talent. His interest in training extends to young students where he is currently holding several adjunct Associate Professor appointments with the School of Biological Sciences, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Department of Biochemistry, National University of Singapore (NUS) and Department of Biological Sciences, NUS.
12. Dr Ng is currently the President of the Stem Cell Society in Singapore, which aims to educate the public on stem cell and to communicate the latest advancements of stem cell research to the scientific community. The Society also organises an annual international symposium for promoting interactions and communicating the latest breakthroughs in stem cell research. In 2006, he also became one of the founding members of the Asian Epigenome Alliance that seeks to foster scientific interactions among scientists in Asia. Dr Ng has also won a number of awards including the Singapore Youth award for Science and Technology (Medal of Commendation) in 2010 and the Chen New investigator Award presented by the Human Genome Organisation (HUGO), in 2010. He was also the recipient of the prestigious National Science Award in 2007 and Young Outstanding Persons Award of Singapore in 2009.
13. Mr Lim added, “I am happy to appoint Huck Hui as the Acting Executive Director of GIS. He is an outstanding second-generation scientific talent, who has been groomed by Ed over the years to take on increasing leadership responsibility. He has achieved international credence and sits on the editorial boards of prestigious international journals and is also regularly invited to speak at international scientific conferences. Huck Hui has demonstrated his leadership beyond GIS as President of the Stem Cell Society in Singapore, where he collaborates with local and international agencies to spearhead strategic programmes to further promote the awareness of stem-cell research to the general public. The new leadership role at GIS will be an excellent opportunity for Huck Hui to realise his leadership potential and make an even bigger contribution to the biomedical sciences effort in Singapore. He will also serve as a role model for aspiring young biomedical scientists in Singapore."
14. Said Dr Ng, “I am very fortunate to have received Ed’s mentorship and guidance through the years and I want to express my most sincere appreciation for his training to prepare his mentees for their new roles. Ed is truly an exemplary leader who has built a world-class biomedical research institute from a humble beginning. During the past years, he has created a mature and conducive environment for genomics and biomedical research. This has enabled our researchers to flourish and emerge as leaders in their respective biomedical fields. His mentorship towards scientists and students has propelled their professional growth and this empowers the next generation of scientists to make their impact to the Singapore and global scientific communities. I am honoured to be chosen to continue the excellent paths that Ed has built and will strive to continue the impact that GIS makes in the global scientific arena.”
15. Said Sir George Radda, Chairman, Biomedical Research Council (BMRC), “It has been a pleasure working with Ed. When I was Chairman of SBIC, I had many scientific discussions with Ed. When I became Chairman of BMRC, we shared many ideas and strategic thinking. I have the greatest admiration of Ed as a world -class scientist and as someone who had the right vision to build up the GIS as one of the major centres in the world for developing genomics to study significant biomedical problems. As a born leader, he installed a spirit of collaboration within the institute and gave the opportunity for many young researchers to develop into the next generation of scientific leaders. Among these, Huck Hui stands out with his own contributions to research on stem cells and an ability to lead a team. Well over a year ago, I discussed with Ed the long term future of the GIS and the people within it with leadership qualities and he introduced Huck Hui to me. This gave me the opportunity to get to know Huck Hui better and I am delighted to endorse his appointment as Acting ED of GIS. This will ensure that GIS continues to remain a relevant and world-class institute. At the same time, I hope that Ed in his exciting new position, will continue to give wise counsel to me personally and to BMRC in the future.”
AGENCY FOR RESEARCH, SCIENCE AND RESEARCH
Annex A - Contributions of Dr Edison Liu
Annex B - Curricula Vitae of Dr Ng Huck Hui
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About the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is the lead agency for fostering world-class scientific research and talent for a vibrant knowledge-based and innovation-driven Singapore. A*STAR oversees 14 biomedical sciences and physical sciences and engineering research institutes, and six consortia & centres, located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis as well as their immediate vicinity.
A*STAR supports Singapore's key economic clusters by providing intellectual, human and industrial capital to its partners in industry. It also supports extramural research in the universities, hospitals, research centres, and with other local and international partners.
About the Genome Institute of Singapore
The Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) is an institute of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). It has a global vision that seeks to use genomic sciences to improve public health and public prosperity. Established in 2001 as a centre for genomic discovery, the GIS will pursue the integration of technology, genetics and biology towards the goal of individualized medicine. The key research areas at the GIS include Systems Biology, Stem Cell & Developmental Biology, Cancer Biology & Pharmacology, Human Genetics, Infectious Diseases, Genomic Technologies, and Computational & Mathematical Biology. The genomics infrastructure at the GIS is utilized to train new scientific talent, to function as a bridge for academic and industrial research, and to explore scientific questions of high impact.
About Jackson Laboratory
The Jackson Laboratory is an independent, non-profit biomedical research institution and National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center based in Bar Habor, Maine, with a facility in Sacramento, Calif. Its mission is to discover genetic basis for preventing, treating and curing human diseases, and to enable research and education for the global biomedical community. The Laboratory is the world’s source for more than 5,000 strains of genetically defined mice, is home of the mouse genome database and is an international hub for scientific courses, conferences, training and education.
DR EDISON LIU - CONTRIBUTIONS
Dr Edison Liu joined A*STAR in 2001 as the founding executive director of the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS). Prior to moving to Singapore, he was the scientific director of the National Cancer Institute's Division of Clinical Sciences in Bethesda, Md. Under Dr Liu’s leadership, GIS grew from an initial three staff into a major international research institute comprising 27 laboratory groups and 270 staff, all within a short span of 11 years. Today, GIS is recognised internationally as a leader in functional genomics, computational biology, population genetics and genome-to-systems biology.
Under Dr Liu’s leadership and mentorship he has attracted top talent from renowned institutes such as Johns Hopkins University and Karolinska Institutet
. GIS scientists have won numerous awards, including:
· Dr Ng Huck Hui was awarded the prestigious National Science award in 2007, the Young Outstanding Persons Award of Singapore (Scientific and/or technological development) in 2009 and the Chen’s Foundation New Investigator Award in 2010.
· Dr Bernard Leong received the NUS Outstanding Young Alumni Award 2007
· Dr Lisa Ng won the Most Inspiring Women Award
The GIS has churned out about 650 publications in top international journals such as Science, Nature, Nature Genetics, Nature Cell Biology, Cell, Developmental Cell, Cancer Cell, PNAS, New England Journal of Medicine, Genes and Development, and Genome Research. Close to 300 (46%) of these were in journals with impact factor (IF) of >5
In 2010, ASTAR was ranked as among the top 10 institutes in Asia by Nature Publishing group, based on the number of papers that were published within the last 12 months. Of the 23 papers from A*STAR that appeared in Nature journals during this time period, the GIS accounted for 12 or 52% of them.
Dr Liu played major roles in the development of Singapore's R&D landscape. He initiated and managed the Singapore Cancer Syndicate and was an early member of the Bioethics Advisory Committee which advised Singapore's cabinet on matters relating to research ethics. He was also chair of the National Health Group Strategic Committee for Clinical Research. His most recent contribution was as Chairman of the Board for the Health Sciences Authority, the health regulatory and blood banking agency for Singapore.
Dr Liu’s interest in education also led in his involvement as Professor of Medicine and Professor at the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, National University of Singapore (NUS) as well as Adjunct Professor at Nanyang Technology University (NTU). He also chaired the selection committee of NTU’s Dean of the Faculty of Sciences, served as Special Advisor to the President of NUS and a member of the Ministerial committee to revaluate Singapore’s secondary school system with the Ministry of Education (MOE).
Dr Liu’s contributions go beyond the scientific community to include the Singapore society. For his outstanding contributions to the 2003 SARS epidemic, Prof Liu was awarded the Commendation Medal for overcoming SARS in the 2003 National Day Awards. In 2009, he was conferred the award for Business Event Ambassador by the Singapore Tourism Board for making significant contributions to the development of the business events industry in Singapore.
Internationally, he was elected as a Foreign Associate Member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) in 2008. Dr Liu is currently serving his second term as the elected President of the Human Genome Organization (HUGO) and this is the first time in the organisation’s history that a president has been re-elected.
Dr. Liu’s own scientific research has focused on the functional genomics of human cancers, particularly breast cancer, uncovering new oncogenes, and deciphering the dynamics of gene regulation on genomic scale that modulate cancer biology. He has authored nearly 300 scientific papers and reviews, and co-authored two books - Oncogenes: An Introduction to the Concept of Cancer Genes (Springer Verlag, 1988) and Systems Biomedicine: Concepts and Perspectives (Elsevier and Academic Press, 2009).
Dr Liu is the recipient of a number of awards: Leukemia Society Scholar, 1991-96; Member, the American Society of Clinical Investigations (1995), the Brinker International Award for basic science research in Breast Cancer, 1996; the Rosenthal Award from the American Association for Cancer Research, 2000; the President’s Public Service Medal for helping Singapore resolve the SARS crisis; and a Doctor of Medicine Sciences honoris causa, Queen’s University, Belfast, 2007.
Dr Liu obtained his B.S. in chemistry and psychology, as well as his M.D., at Stanford University. He served his internship and residency at Washington University’s Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, followed by an oncology fellowship at Stanford. From 1982 to 1987 he was at the University of California, San Francisco, first in a hematology fellowship at Moffitt Hospital and then as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Nobel laureate J. Michael Bishop, while also serving as an instructor in the School of Medicine. Dr. Liu joined the Faculty of Medicine (Oncology) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1987 where he was director of UNC's Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in Breast Cancer, and the Chief of Medical Genetics. In 1996, he went to the National Cancer Institute (U.S.) as the Scientific Director for the Division of Clinical Sciences responsible for the intramural clinical and translational research programs
DR NG HUCK HUI - CURRICULUM VITAE
Dr Ng is renowned in the field of stem cell and has established himself as a leader in the areas of cell fate control and stem cell genomics both locally and internationally. Dr Ng has an outstanding publication record and has published some of the seminal pieces of work in the mapping of regulatory networks in stem cells. He has established an international profile in his field from both high impact publications in the top international peer-reviewed research journals (Cell, Nature, Science, Nature Genetics, Nature Cell Biology, Cell Stem Cell, Genes Dev), and has been regularly invited to present at the top scientific conferences (International Society for Stem Cell Research, Cold Spring Harbor Symposium) in his field.
With Dr Ng’s international stature, he is on the Editorial board of seven international journals (Genes and Development journal, Stem Cell Research & Therapy journal, Cellular Reprogramming journal, Cell Research journal, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta -Gene Regulation Mechanisms, Gene Therapy and Regulation journal, PLoS ONE journal and Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Systems Biology and Medicine). He reviewed project and programme grants for 18 funding agencies/universities. He is also actively involved in the International scientific community by serving as reviewers for 38 international journals (including Nature, Cell and Science). Dr. Ng is also on the SAB of multidisciplinary research programmes in Canada and Europe.
Dr Ng is currently the President for the Stem Cell Society, Singapore. He actively promotes public education on stem cells and the latest advancements of stem cell research to the scientific community. Dr Ng is also a key driver in fostering collaborations with other Institutions such as the Singapore Science Centre and the Bioethics Committee for outreach programme. In his leadership role, he is also responsible for running the annual International conference on Stem Cell Research.
Dr. Ng is also passionate and instrumental in promoting research collaboration across nations. He is a co-founder of the Asian Epigenome Network which links researchers from four countries (Korea, Japan, China and Singapore). This network is responsible for holding annual meetings rotating around the four countries. Collectively, the network represents Asian effort in the area of Epigenetics and Epigenomics research.
Dr Ng has won numerous honors and awards including the BMRC Young Investigator Award in 2003; the Singapore Young Scientist award in 2004; the Singapore Youth Award (Science and Technology) in 2005, the Faculty of Science (NUS) Outstanding Scientist Award in 2008 and the Singapore Youth Award (Medal of Commendation) in 2010. He has also been awarded the prestigious National Science award in 2007, the Young Outstanding Persons Award of Singapore (Scientific and/or technological development) in 2009 and the Chen’s Foundation New Investigator Award in 2010.
Dr Ng Huck Hui graduated with PhD in Molecular Genetics from the University of Edinburgh, UK in 1999. Prior to joining GIS as a Group Leader in 2003, he was a Postdoctoral fellow with Harvard Medical School (2000-2003) under the prestigious Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Postdoctoral fellowship. He was promoted to Senior Group Leader in 2007 and is concurrently the appointments of Associate Director for Stem Cell and Development Biology, and Deputy Director for Research Programmes, in GIS. Huck Hui also holds several adjunct Associate Professor appointments with School of Biological Sciences, NTU, Department of Biochemistry, NUS and Department of Biological Sciences, NUS.