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Julian Thumboo



Education Qualifications: MBBS (S'pore), M Med (Int Med), MRCP (UK), FRCP (Edin), FAMS (Rheumatology)

Professor Julian Thumboo is a Senior Consultant in the Department of Rheumatology and Immunology, Singapore General Hospital. He graduated from the National University of Singapore and subsequently trained in Rheumatology in Singapore and at the Mayo Clinic.

His clinical and research interests in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Osteoarthritis, Health Services Research and Patient Reported Outcomes have led to over 250 publications in peer reviewed journals. Professor Thumboo serves as Research Director for the Singapore General Hospital and facilities Health Services Research in SGH and the SingHealth Regional Health System. He was the founding Director of the SingHealth Health Services Research Centre and founding Co-Director of the SingHealth Duke-NUS Health Services Research Institute, and was previously Vice Chair for Research for the Medicine Academic Clinical Programme.

In addition to patient care and administrative duties, Professor Thumboo has also served on the editorial boards and as a reviewer for regional and international medical journals. He has been an invited speaker at regional and international scientific conferences, and is involved in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching.


Professional Appointments and Committee Memberships: 

  • Adjunct Professor, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore
  • Health Services Research and Evaluation, SingHealth Regional Health System - Director
  • Health Services Research Unit, Singapore General Hospital - Director
  • Clinician Scientist / Clinician Investigator Salary Support Programme (CISSP) Review Panel, National Medical Research Council, Ministry of Health - Chairman
  • Complaints Panel, Singapore Medical Council - Member
  • Rheumatology Residency Advisory Committee, Ministry of Health, SingHealth - Member


  • SingHealth Shine Award 2017
  • SingHealth Excellence Awards 2014, Distinguished Researcher Award
  • RISE (Residency In SingHealth Excels award), SingHealth, Singapore, Outstanding Faculty Award 2014
  • Duke-NUS Medical School Singapore, Outstanding Faculty for Learning Award  2013 (Clinical Core)
  • Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Role Model Award 2013
  • Invited biography listed in Marquis Who’s Who in the World (30th Pearl Anniversary Edition) 2012
  • Duke-NUS Medical School Singapore,  Appreciation Award 2012
  • Excellent Service Award (EXSA), Star Award 2011
  • Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore, Appreciation Award for Outstanding Motivator 2010
  • Singapore Health Quality Service Award, Star Award (2010, 2011), Gold Award (2006)
  • Singapore General Hospital Service Quality Award, Service with a Heart Award (2006, 2008, 2010)
  • Ministry of Health, Singapore, Higher Medical Manpower Development Program Award 2009
  • Singapore General Hospital, SMILE Award 2006

Leadership positions / roles in Education: 

  • Examiner, Membership of the Royal College of Physicians
  • Rheumatology Residency Advisory Committee, Ministry of Health
  • Supervisor/ Co-supervisor for over 10 PhD students 

Research Interests: Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, osteoarthritis, health services research, and patient reported outcomes

Selected Publications:

A prospective study of the safety of joint and soft tissue injections in subjects taking warfarin sodium. Thumboo J, O’Duffy JD. Arthritis and Rheumatism Arthritis Rheum. 1998; 41:736-739.

The Effects of Ethnicity on Disease Patterns in 472 Orientals with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Thumboo J, Fong KY, Chng HH, Koh ET, Chia HP, Leong KH. Journal of Rheumatology J Rheumatol. 1998; 25:1299-304.
A Comparative Study of the Clinical Manifestations of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in Caucasians in Rochester, MN and Chinese in Singapore from 1980 to 1992. Thumboo J, Uramoto K, Sunku J, O’Fallon WM, Fong KY, Boey ML et al. Arthritis and Rheumatism. Arthritis Rheum. 2001; 45:494-500.

Ethnicity, Socio-Economic & Psychosocial Factors Influence Pain or Physical Function in Asians With Knee or Hip Osteoarthritis. Thumboo J, Chew LH, Lewin-Koh SC. Annal of the Rheumatic Diseases. Ann Rheum Dis. 2002; 61:1017-20. 

Does Being Bilingual in English and Chinese Influence Responses to Quality of Life Scales? Thumboo J, Fong KY, Machin D, Soh CH, Chan SP, Leong KH et al. Medical Care. Med Care. 2002; 40:105-112.

What health domains and items are important to patients with knee osteoarthritis? A focus group study in a multi ethnic urban Asian population. Xie F, Li SC, Fong KY, Lo NN, Yeo SJ, Yang KY, Thumboo J. Osteoarthritis & Cartilage. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2006; 14:224-30.

Cross-cultural adaptation and validation of Singapore English and Chinese Versions of the Oxford Knee Score (OKS) in knee osteoarthritis patients undergoing total knee replacement. Xie F, Li SC, Lo NN, Yeo SJ, Yang KY, Yeo W, Chong HC, Fong KY, Thumboo J. Osteoarthritis & Cartilage
Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2007; 15:1019-24.

Comparison of the EuroQol and short form 6D in Singapore multiethnic Asian knee osteoarthritis patients scheduled for total knee replacement. Xie F, Li SC, Luo N, Lo NN, Yeo SJ, Yang KY, Fong KY, Thumboo J. Arthritis and Rheumatism
Arthritis Rheum. 2007; 57:1043-9

A comparison of thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura in an inception cohort of patients with and without systemic lupus erythematosus. Letchumanan P, Ng HJ, Lee LH, Thumboo J. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2009; 48:399-403.

Developing a comprehensive, culturally sensitive conceptual framework of health domains in Singapore. Thumboo J, Ow MYL, Uy EJB, Xin X, Chan ZYC, Sung SC, Bautista DC, Cheung YB. PLoS One. 2018; 13:e0199881

Developing population health research priorities in Asian city state: Results from a multi-step participatory community engagement. Thumboo J, Yoon S, Wee S, Yeam CT, Low ECT, Lee CE. PLoS One. 2019; 14:e0216303.

Development and calibration of a novel social relationship item bank to measure health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in Singapore. Kwan YH, Uy EJ, Bautista DC, Xin X, Xiao Y, Lee GL, Subramaniam M, Vaingankar JA, Chan MF, Kumar N, Cheung YB, Chua TSJ, Thumboo J. Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2019; 17:82.

Cross-cultural adaptation of the connective tissue disease screening questionnaire and development of a Chinese version in a multi-ethnic Asian population. Xiang L, Teo EPS, Low AHL, Leung YY, Fong W, Xin X, Gandhi M, Kwan YH, Uy EJB, Sparks JA, Karlson EW, Thumboo J. Int J Rheum Dis. 2019; 22:1652-1660.