THE GIS STORY

The Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) is the national flagship programme for the genomic sciences in Singapore. It was established in June 2000, and initially known as the Singapore Genomics Programme. In March 2001, Professor Edison T. Liu, previously the Director of the Division of Clinical Sciences, National Cancer Institute (USA), was appointed its first executive director.

In March 2001, Professor Edison T. Liu, previously the Director of the Division of Clinical Sciences, National Cancer Institute (USA), was appointed its first executive director. In October 2012, Professor Ng Huck Hui was appointed as GIS’ second Executive Director. He is one of Singapore’s most prominent scientists in stem cell research and has won numerous awards, including the President’s Science Award 2018 (team) for his outstanding contribution in the field of Parkinson’s disease.

In July 2019, Professor Patrick Tan took over the reins to become GIS’ third Executive Director. Prof Tan is an internationally recognised expert in Asian cancer genomics. He has won numerous prestigious awards, including The President’s Science Award 2015, The Chen New Investigator Award 2013, and the National Science Award 2006, among others.

Prof Tan was also the Programme Leader of POLARIS (Personalized OMIC Lattice for Advanced Research and Improving Stratification), through which he steered national efforts to pilot applications of Clinical Genomics in the treatment and diagnosis of medical diseases within Singapore and the region. In his previous appointment as Deputy Executive Director of the Biomedical Research Council (BMRC), Prof Tan worked closely with the A*STAR and scientific leadership to implement key strategies under the Research, Innovation & Enterprise (RIE) Masterplan 2020. He was instrumental in facilitating collaborations between A*STAR’s research entities, the clinical community, and academic medical centres, as well as realising the practice of Precision Medicine in Singapore hospitals.

The Agency for Science and Technology Research (A*STAR) is the parent funding body for the GIS and has a long term commitment to create a world-class infrastructure.

In October 2003, we inaugurated our new research building, the Genome - a 7,200 sq meter advanced facility. Set in the Biopolis - a 180 hectare biomedical city within the Buona Vista Science Hub, the Genome is adjacent to other biomedical institutes such as Singapore’s Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, the Bioinformatics Institute, the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, the Biotechnology Institute, the Biomedical Research Council, regional and multinational industrial R&D organisations.

The Biopolis provides an excellent environment conducive to the exchange of knowledge and collegial interactions. It was planned as a complete community that supports living, working, learning and playing: combining state-of-art research infrastructure with entertainment and educational facilities.

In mid 2008, the engineering research institutes were relocated to newly-constructed facilities called Fusionopolis, also within the Buona Vista Science Hub. Together, the biomedical and engineering research arms of A*STAR form an integral part of excellence in scientific research.

GIS houses over 300 scientists, trainees and staff. The major technical platforms of high throughput sequencing, molecular cytogenetics, bioinformatics, single cell genomics, high throughput/ content screening and genome engineering have been integrated with programmes in molecular and cellular biology, computational biology and human genetics.

With these components in place, GIS is well positioned for success.

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