Women in Science: Dr Clara Cheong, SICS

The 'Women in Science' series aims to break down gender inequalities and celebrates the achievements of our female scientists and researchers in A*STAR. Hear their stories and discover how their unique personal lives and perspectives shape the great work they do.

Dr Clara Cheong, Head of Administration and Scientific Affairs, A*STAR’s Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences (SICS)

Women in Science: Clara Cheong, SICS

Dr Clara Cheong is featured in Prestige Magazine’s 40 Under 40 list. This annual list features inspiring, unconventional and fearless young achievers. The mum of three and A*STAR scholar is involved in the Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes (GUSTO) study, which looks into the effects of a mother’s diet and lifestyle during pregnancy on their child’s growth after birth.

Q: Tell us what you do at A*STAR.

A: As the Head of Administration and Scientific Affairs at the Singapore Institute for Clinical Science (SICS), I bridge the gap between the big picture and details. These details may include administrative aspects through to research planning. I then liaise with SICS colleagues and various stakeholders to get the required support for my institute.

Q: What are your motivations for getting into your field of expertise?

A: I wouldn’t call it a field of expertise, and it is still in the early days. It’s interesting to see how organisational design and culture drive decision making, and more importantly, how our research would impact and benefit the public.

As a parent of young children, I relate closely to the research that SICS does in taking a long view of health. From the intergenerational perspectives and as a scientist by training, it’s rewarding to be able to translate the science to bite-sized content, so that a wider audience can understand and appreciate them.

Clara Cheong at SICS booth at one north Festival

Q: How do you feel being featured in the Prestige Magazine’s 40 under 40 2020?

A: I’m humbled to be part of the Prestige Magazine’s 40 Under 40 list. It’s personally refreshing to see the appreciation for diversity in science. I believe there are many better others who are just too busy or under the radar, and we should celebrate mini successes much more.

Q: What is your greatest achievement?

A: My greatest achievement is getting my kids to school on time.

Women in Science: Clara Cheong, SICS

Q: What would you say to young girls who aspire to be a leader in their fields?

A: Don’t feel that you have to conform to standard notions of success, or for a specific end goal in mind. Hold fast to what you value that will drive your choices and motivation, and do so with excellence. It’s about the journey, not the destination.

Q: What are some of your favourite past times out of work?

A: Trawling art supply stores and painting. Reading a good book or acquiring more books.

Q: Coffee, Tea or Bubble tea?

A: Good coffee and green tea, don’t waste time with bubble tea

Clara Cheong (SICS) at GUSTO 10th Anniversary Event

Visit A*STAR’s Singapore Institute of Clinical Sciences to find out more about our research in metabolic and neurocognitive health.