Rising consumer sophistication has led to a demand for ‘clean label’ and ‘natural’ ingredients and actives. Microbial fermentation is being used increasingly by industry to impart flavours to food without additives. However, sustainable sourcing of ingredients for flavours, fragrances and personal care can be challenging due to low yields from natural sources, seasonal variation in supply (leading to price volatility) and biodiversity protection (Convention on Biological Diversity).

A*STAR’s BioTranformation Innovation Platform (BioTrans) is an integrated platform spanning discovery, pathway and fermentation expertise to facilitate scale-up and downstream aspects for production of high value products. The focus of the platform is to generate new tools and readily scalable technologies to provide sustainable solutions for high value manufacturing. The BioTrans platform leverages A*STAR’s Natural Product Library which comprises over 300,000 extracts derived from microbial strains, fungi and plant specimens, collected from more than 100 countries. A*STAR’s Natural Product Library is a unique resource to explore natural biodiversity for the discovery of new products, pathways and strains, which when coupled to in-house advanced metabolic engineering and natural strain evolution strategies, offers exceptional opportunities to develop novel products relevant to the personal care, flavours and fragrance industry.


The Skin Research Institute of Singapore (SRIS) is a collaboration between A*STAR, the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the National Skin Centre (NSC). SRIS takes an inter-disciplinary approach to skin research and innovation, tapping on A*STAR’s strengths in skin biology, NSC’s dermatology expertise and NTU’s capabilities in bioengineering, nanotechnology and materials science.

Key research areas include skin barrier function, skin ageing, pigmentary disorders, allergy and inflammation, wound healing, and hair conditions. SRIS aims to build up well-characterised, deeply-phenotyped cohorts and databases of healthy volunteers or patients of different ethnicities with different skin diseases and conditions.


The Singapore Centre for Nutriitonal Sciences, Metabolic Diseases and Human Development (SiNMeD) is a collaboration between A*STAR and NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. Research on the nutritional needs of Asians is lacking and this will be a special focus of the programme. SiNMeD focuses on fundamental, clinical and translational research to understand the role of nutrition and early development in the onset and progression of obesity and metabolic diseases like diabetes.

Key research programmes are in early development focusing on mother and infant nutrition, growth and developmental epigenetics; nutritional sciences with the aim to develop strategies for optimal nutrition; and metabolic diseases through studying obesity and insulin resistance in Asians.