Benson Ng
Manager, Research Operations
Years in Duke-NUS: 3 years+

The Insider chatted with Benson to find out about his different roles at Duke-NUS and why soccer is his game.

1) What’s your role at the Research Operations department?

My work entails a lot of meticulous details. I basically act as a conduit to ensure that the scientists’ experiments are performed smoothly in the ABSL3 Lab. This entails ensuring compliance with established safety protocols and legislative requirements while ensuring Duke-NUS’ culture of safety and adherence to established industrial practices. It is a fine balancing act between ensuring scientists are not discouraged by the extensive compliance requirements and satisfying local authorities’ requirements.

By: Laura Faulkner, Duke-NUS Communications Intern

I have always been pretty curious about the things around me. Growing up, my siblings and I explored the world with encyclopaedias, little microscope sets and tool kits. So studying for a degree in medical biochemistry was not big a surprise to my family and friends. However, being interested in science communication was, particularly because I never really enjoyed writing in school. 

 Laura at the City of Arts and Science in Valencia


By: Dr Elena Okina, Research Fellow, Programme in CVMD

I grew up in Sakhalin Island on the Russian Far East. Despite the extreme climatic conditions, we enjoyed an outdoor lifestyle, spending our summers at the beach and forest, and enjoying winter activities during the colder months.

At 16, I moved to England to complete my International Baccalaureate diploma at St Clare’s College in Oxford. After several years in London, I pursued my PhD at the University of Copenhagen before relocating to Singapore in December 2012. As my husband is also in Singapore, it has been wonderful. I love the tropical climate and it is easy to assimilate to the local culture since most of my best friends are Asians.  I also love Asian cuisines. 

In 2013, Duke-NUS officially adopted Autism Spectrum Disorder as its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme. Building on the students’ annual participation in the World Autism Awareness Week and our researchers’ genetic studies on autism enable the school to contribute to the cause in a more holistic and sustainable way – especially when an estimated 216 children are diagnosed with the condition in Singapore annually1.

Of the 26 volunteers who generously gave of their time and energy to volunteer at St Andrew’s Autism Centre’s two-day camp in May 2015, five came from Asst Prof Shawn Je’s lab. Since his lab studies the molecular and cellular mechanisms related to autism and schizophrenia, Shawn Je felt it would be good for his team to gain a real-world understanding of how autism affects those with this disorder.


The Insider caught up quickly with Maria Tan on the highs and lows of events management.

Maria is an Events Manager with the Office of Education and is also a two-times Values Ambassador Awards nominee. This is Maria's take on 5 questions we put to her.



Danielle Anderson, 
Senior Research Fellow, Programme in Emerging Infectious Diseases

I came to Singapore from Canada almost five years ago. A virologist by training, I joined the Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID) programme to continue my post-doctoral research on paramyxovirus pathogenesis. Now, I am a senior research fellow in Prof Linfa Wang's lab where my interest is in pathogen discovery, especially new paramyxoviruses. 


In the last few years, I have also been part of Prof Mariano Garcia-Blanco's lab, performing genome-wide siRNA screening to study paramyxovirus-host interactions. I have been fortunate enough to work under his mentorship in Singapore and the US, and this work forms the basis of my New Investigator Grant award.

Getting to know Sharon Kuah and Kathleen Chan from the Research Affairs Department (RAD)

But first… let us congratulate Sharon, a recipient of the inaugural Values Frequent Flyer Award for this year’s Values Ambassador Awards and Kathleen, a first-time Values Ambassador Awards nominee.


Designation: Director, Research Affairs Department, Office of Research
Years at Duke-NUS:

The Insider chats with Ms Lai Yih Shin (Senior Executive) and Prof Wang Linfa from the Programme in Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID).

The Insider (TI): Congratulations Yih Shin, for winning the 2014 Achiever's Awards (AA) - Administration Category. Tell us more about your background and what drew you to Duke-NUS?  

The winners of the Dean's Excellence Awards are personally selected by the Dean, from the pool of the Achiever’s Award winners, to accord them the highest recognition for their exceptional contributions and significant impact within and beyond the school. 

The Dean’s Excellence Awards 2014 go to:

Each accomplished in their respective fields, all the three winners feel honoured and at the same time, motivated that there was more they could do in and beyond their areas of work.

The Communications team interviews fellow team member Mr. Reza Shah (Associate Director for Planning, Organisational Development & Quality Service), and a recipient of the 2014 Achiever's Award and Long Service Award, to find out his secret recipe for success.

Colleagues fondly remark that they often hear Reza’s hearty laugh along the office corridors, before they meet the man himself.

Behind his friendly and positive demeanour is a passion to better Duke-NUS with his dedication, expertise and experience. These are put to good use, as he juggles daily with three major areas of the organisation – strategic planning, quality service management and staff engagement.