Personal Details

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Dr. BIRCH, William Richard Nicholas

Senior Scientist II


Advanced Characterisation and Instrumentation (ACI) Department

6319 4811

2 Fusionopolis Way, Innovis, Singapore 138634

Research Details

Functional surface modification

Materials for bioimplantable devices

Microcarriers and structured bioresorbable polymers

Composite materials to enhance marine biodiversity


Matrices for stem cell processing

Coatings to promote cell adhesion & spreading

Molecular-scale surface engineering and characterization


Ecologically engineering Singapore’s seawalls to enhance biodiversity (Marine Science Research and Development Program, NRF)

Bioimplantable microcarriers for MSC expansion and their applications for bone and cartilage repair (Joint Council Office Development Programme)

Biodegradable Shape Memory Foam Plug for Temporary Endovascular Embolization in Interventional Radiology (BioMedical Engineering Programme)

Engineering a novel bone-graft substitute to augment healing of open-wedge high tibial osteotomy for the treatment of unicompartmental osteoarthritis of the knee (Joint Council Office)

New field tests and assays, for Innovative Marine Antifouling Solutions (SERC)

Engineering a scalable 3D microcarrier-based technology for hESC-derived cardiomyocytes (Joint Council Office)

A Novel Hybrid Bioscaffold for Spinal Fusion (Joint Council Office)

Engineered surfaces for propagating human ES cells (Joint Council Office)


2006 - Present      Senior Scientist II, IMRE

2004 - 2005          Consultant, Surfaces and Materials

1995 - 2003          Corning Inc. (R&D), France

1994-1995            Post-Doc, Institut Curie, France


Ph.D. (Physics) Carnegie Mellon University, PA USA 1994

MS (Physics) Carnegie Mellon University, PA, USA 1989

B.Sc. (Hons) Physics with Mathematics, Southampton University, UK 1987


A*STAR Grand Challenge (2006) ARteries from Tissue EngineeRed Implantable Embryonic Stem Cells (ARTERIES)


Executive Committee Member for the Stem Cell Society Singapore (2012-2014).

Scientific Advisory Board Member for the Centre for Biomimetic Sensor Science of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (2011-2013).

Track Chair for Production and Manufacturing, Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society – Asia Pacific Conference 2011.


  1. Gajadhar Bhakta; Andrew K Ekaputra; Bina Rai; Sunny Abbah; Tuan Chun Tan; Bach Quang Le; Anindita Chatterjea; Tao Hu; Tingxuan Lin; Tarik Arafat; Andre J van Wijnen; James Goh; Victor Nurcombe; Kishore Bhakoo; William R. Birch; Li Xu; Ian Gibson; Hee Kit Wong; Simon McKenzie Cool. "Fabrication of polycaprolactone-silanated β-tricalcium phosphate- heparan sulfate scaffolds for orthopaedic applications". The Spine Journal. 2018 doi: 10.1016/j.spinee.2017.12.002.

  2. L. Yap, S. Murali, G. Bhakta, D. M. Titmarsh, A. K.-L. Chen, L C. Sim, M. Bardor, Y. M. Lim, J. C.H. Goh, S. K.W. Oh, Andre B.H. Choo, A. J. van Wijnen, D. E. Robinson, J. D. Whittle, W. R. Birch, R. D. Short, V. Nurcombe, S. M. Cool. "Immobilization of vitronectin-binding heparan sulfates onto surfaces to support human pluripotent stem cells". J Biomed Mater B Appl Biomater. 2017 DOI: 10.1002/jbm.b.33999.

  3. Jian Li, Alan Tin-Lun Lam, Jessica Pei Wen Toh, Shaul Reuveny, Steve Kah-Weng Oh, and William R. Birch. "Tunable Volumetric Density and Porous Structure of Spherical Poly-ε-caprolactone Microcarriers, as Applied in Human Mesenchymal Stem Cell Expansion". Langmuir, 2017, 33, 3068.

  4. A. T.-L. Lam, J. Li, J. P.-W. Toh, E. J.-H. Sim, A. K.-L. Chen, J. K.-Y. Chan, M. Choolani, S. Reuveny, W. R. Birch, and S. K.-W. Oh. "Biodegradable poly-ε-caprolactone microcarriers for efficient production of human mesenchymal stromal cells and secreted cytokines in batch and fed-batch bioreactors". Cytotherapy. 2017, 19, 419.

  5. A. Shekaran. A. Lam, H. Liu, E. Sim, L. Jialing, L. Jian, J. T. P Wen, J. K. Y. Chan, M. Choolani, S. Reuveny, W. Birch and S. Oh*. "Biodegradable ECM-coated PCL microcarriers support scalable human early MSC expansion and in vivo bone formation". Cytotherapy. 2016, 18, 1332.

  6. Y.S. Wong, S.A. Vijay, K. Da Zhuang, H. Liu, W.R. Birch, K.H. Tay, W.M. Huang, and S.S. Venkatraman. "Bioabsorbable radiopaque water-responsive shape memory embolization plug for temporary vascular occlusion". Biomaterials. 2016, 102, 98.

  7. Jian Li, Alan Tin-Lun Lam, Jessica Pei Wen Toh, Shaul Reuveny, Steve Kah-Weng Oh, and William R. Birch. "Fabrication of uniform-sized poly-ɛ-caprolactone microspheres and their applications in human embryonic stem cell culture". Biomed Microdevices. 2015, 17, 1.

  8. J. L. Zhang, W. M. Huang, G. Gao, J. Fu, Y. Zhou, A. V. Salvekar, S. S. Venkatraman, Y. S. Wong, K. H. Tay, W. R. Birch. "Shape memory/change effect in a double network nanocomposite tough hydrogel". Eur Pol J. 2014, 58, 41.

  9. A. T.-L. Lam, J. Li, A. K.-L. Chen, S. Reuveny, Steve K.-W. Oh, and W. R. Birch. "Cationic Surface Charge Combined with Either Vitronectin or Laminin Dictates the Evolution of Human Embryonic Stem Cells/Microcarrier Aggregates and Cell Growth in Agitated Cultures". Stem Cell Dev. 2014, 23, 1688.

  10. L. Y. Chan, W. R. Birch, E. K. F. Yim, and A. B. Choo. "Temporal Application of Topography to Increase the Rate of Neural Differentiation from Human Pluripotent Stem Cells". Biomaterials. 2013, 34, 382.

  11. B. C. Heng, J. Li, A. K.-L. Chen, S. Reuveny, S. M. Cool, W. R. Birch and S. K.-W. Oh. "Translating human embryonic stem cells from 2D to 3D cultures in a defined medium on laminin and vitronectin coated surfaces". Stem Cell Dev. 2012, 21, 1701.

  12. L. Yap, J. Li, I. Y. Phang, L. T. Ong, J. Ow, J. C. H. Goh, V. Nurcombe, J. Hobley, A. B. H. Choo, S. K. W. Oh, S. Cool, and W. R. Birch. "Defining a Threshold Surface Density of Vitronectin for the Stable Expansion of Human Embryonic Stem Cells". Tissue Eng C. 2011, 17, 193.

  13. B. H. Tan, H. Hussain, K. C. Chaw, G. H. Dickinson, C. S. Gudipati, W. R. Birch, S. L. M. Teo, C. B. He, Y. Liu, T. P. Davis. "Barnacle repellent nanostructured surfaces formed by the self-assembly of amphiphilic block copolymers". Polymer Chemistry. 2010, 1, 276.

  14. E. Luong-Van, R. K. C. Kang, and W. R. Birch. "A novel technique for positioning multiple cell types by liquid handling". Biointerphases. 2009, 4, 13.

  15. L. Petrone, S. S. C. Lee, S. L. M. Teo, and W. R. Birch. "A novel geometry for a laboratory-based larval settlement assay". Biofouling. 2013, 29, 213.

  16. K. C. Chaw, G. H. Dickinson, K. Y. Ang, J. Deng, and W. R. Birch. "Surface exploration of Amphibalanus amphitrite cyprids on microtextured surfaces". Biofouling. 2011, 27, 413.

  17. S. F. Guo, H. P. Lee*, K. C. Chaw, J. Miklas, S. L. M. Teo, G. H. Dickinson, W. R. Birch, and B. C. Khoo. "Effect of ultrasound on cyprids and juvenile barnacles". Biofouling. 2011, 27, 185.

  18. K. C. Chaw, W. R. Birch. "Quantifying the exploratory behaviour of Amphibalanus amphitrite cyprids". Biofouling 2009 25, 611.

  19. I. Y. Phang, K. C. Chaw, S. S. H. Choo, R. K. C. Kang, S. S. C. Lee, W. R. Birch, S. L. M. Teo, and G. J. Vancso. "Marine biofouling field tests, settlement assay and footprint micromorphology of cyprid larvae of Balanus Amphitrite on model surfaces". Biofouling. 2009, 25, 139.

  1. Polycaprolactone microcarriers for stem cell culture and fabrication thereof, WO2014168585 A1, EP2983728 A1, US20160083690 A1. W. Birch, S. Oh, S. Reuveny, J. Li.
  2. Microcarriers For Stem Cell Culture, US9458431 B2, US20140315300. S. Oh, S. Reuveny, J. Li, and W. R. N. Birch.
  3. Process of making a pattern in a film, US 6,656,398. W. Birch, A. Carré, P. Frayer, and K. Hasui.
    Method for temporarily protecting glass articles,US 6,397,746, JP 2000319038. W. Birch, D. Bookbinder, A. Carré, and D. L. Tennent.
  4. Method of transferring a liquid drop from a multiwell plate and/or chemical assay,US 6,303,387. W. Birch, A. Carré, and E. François.
  5. Method and apparatus for transferring and dispensing small volumes of liquid and method for making the apparatus, US 6,051,190, WO 9857747, EP 0996504. W. Birch, A. Carré, and E. François.
  6. Process for the production of a coating of molecular thickness on a substrate,US 6,020,026, EP 0854389, JP 10323609. W. Birch and A. Carré.

Last updated on : 05 Apr 2019 04:43 PM