Governing Board

The Mechanobiology Institute’s mission is to understand the mechanical aspects of cells and tissues that create organism form and function, define a fundamental set of mechanobiological operations from which these complex biological functions are built, establish this as a world-wide standard to unify the description and understanding of normal and diseased functions, and develop a robust multidisciplinary approach to mechanobiology, embracing an open research platform to achieve synergism and to train a new generation of researchers and students.

The Governing Board oversees the mission of the Institute by providing strategic direction and good stewardship. The Governing Board  serves to ensure the alignment of research carried out in MBI through regular appraisals and reviews of the performance of the institute. It also oversees the implementation of all governance policies, financial accountability and ethical conduct in research.

Mechanobiology Institute’s Governing Board

2016-governingBoard-tan-kim-siewDr Tan Kim Siew

Chairman of the Governing Board, MBI
Senior Consultant in the Ministry of Finance

Dr Tan Kim Siew served in the Ministry of Defence till 1994. During this period he held various appointments including Head, Joint Communications and Electronic Department, Head, Joint Plans Department, and Director, Defence Materials Organisation.

Thereafter, Dr Tan served in the Ministry of National Development where he was the Deputy Secretary before his appointment as the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Planner, Urban Redevelopment Authority from 1996 to 2001. Dr Tan led URA to realise its vision of turning Singapore into a tropical city of excellence. He was awarded the Public Administration Medal (Gold) in 2001.

Dr Tan served as Deputy Secretary (Policy) in the Ministry of Finance from 2001 to 2003 before his appointment as Second Permanent Secretary (Defence). He was appointed as Permanent Secretary (Defence Development) in 2005. Dr Tan has played a key role in strengthening MINDEF’s financial and personnel systems, as well as building up the Singapore’s defence and technological capabilities to meet the challenges of the future.

Dr Tan then served as the Commissioner of Inland Revenue and Chief Executive Officer of IRAS from 2012 to 2014.

He had also held other appointments in the public service, including Chairman of the Defence Science and Technology Agency, and Chairman of the DSO Laboratories.

Dr Tan is a graduate of the University of Cambridge, UK with a Bachelor of Arts (Engineering), Master of Arts (Engineering) and PhD in Engineering.

Dr Tan is presently a Senior Consultant in the Ministry of Finance and Chairman of the Governing Board for the Mechanobiology Institute, National University of Singapore.

governingboard-benjaminkohDr Benjamin Koh

Member, Governing Board, MBI
Divisional Director of the Higher Education Policy Division and the Higher Education Operations Division at the Ministry of Education (MOE)

Dr Benjamin Koh is the Divisional Director of the Higher Education Policy Division and the Higher Education Operations Division at the Ministry of Education (MOE) in Singapore. He leads the Division in steering and supporting the development and provision of quality post- secondary education in support of national economic and social objectives, through five autonomous universities, five polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education. The Division also facilitates the development of educational initiatives carried out through the Singapore Science Centre and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, and has responsibility for the registration of private schools in Singapore.

Benjamin is also a Governing Board member of several research institutes in the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU): the Centre for Quantum Technologies (NUS), Cancer Science Institute of Singapore (NUS), the Mechanobiology Institute (NUS), the Earth Observatory of Singapore (NTU), and the Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering (NTU).

Benjamin obtained his medical training in the National University of Singapore and started his career in public service delivery treating patients within the Singapore public healthcare sector. He obtained a MPH from Harvard University in 2005, and has had previous experience handling different portfolios ranging from communicable disease control, international health relations and health service development as part of the Singapore Ministry of Health. He has also worked on enterprise and entrepreneurship development in the Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry, and was most immediately Senior Director of the Service Delivery and Development Group in the Singapore Ministry of Social and Family Development overseeing social service delivery in Singapore prior to his current posting at MOE.

2016-governingBoard-lim-khiang-weeDr Lim Khiang Wee

Member, Governing Board, MBI
Executive Director of Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE)

Prior to his current appointment, he has overseen talent development through scholarships, fellowships, collaborative and Outreach Programs at A*STAR. He has also served as the Executive Director of a research institute from 2002 to 2010, leading the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech) and the Institute for Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE).

He set up IPI-Singapore in 2011 to catalyse intellectual property intermediation activities that support and enhance the innovation capacity of Singapore enterprises.

Learn more about CREATE, the Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise.

2016-governingBoard-barry-halliwell-2Prof Barry Halliwell

Member, Governing Board, MBI
Senior Advisor to the President, NUS, Tan Chin Tuan Centennial Professor

Professor Barry Halliwell is the Senior Advisor to the President at the National University of Singapore.

Professor Halliwell graduated from the University of Oxford with BA (1st class) and D.Phil degrees. He holds a D.Sc degree from the University of London. He was a faculty member with the University of London, King’s College from 1974 to 2000 and held a prestigious Lister Institute Research fellowship. From 1995 to 1999, he was a Visiting Research Professor of Internal Medicine and Biochemistry with the University of California, School of Medicine, Divisions of Cardiology and Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine. Professor Halliwell was a Visiting Professor of Biochemistry to NUS from 1998 to 2000. He was Head of the University’s Department of Biochemistry from 2000 to 2007 and was Deputy Director, Office of Life Sciences from 2001 to 2003. From 2003 to September 2008, he was Executive Director of the NUS Graduate School of Integrative Sciences and Engineering. From Mar 2006 to May 2015, he was the Deputy President (Research and Technology) at NUS.

An internationally-acclaimed biochemist, Professor Halliwell is known especially for his seminal work on the role of free radicals and antioxidants in biological systems. The Thomson Reuters lists Professor Halliwell as one of the world’s most highly-cited researchers in Biology and Biochemistry and his Hirsch Index is 147. ResearcherID

His book Free Radicals in Biology and Medicine published by Oxford University Press, and now in its fifth edition, is regarded worldwide as an authoritative text in the field. He was awarded the “Lifetime Achievement Award” by the Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine in the USA for overall sustained excellence in the field.

His research focuses on the role of free radicals and antioxidants in human disease, particularly Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders. His interest in identifying the most important antioxidants in the human diet and in developing novel antioxidants has critical bearing on treating human diseases and understanding how diet might cause or prevent them.

Professor Halliwell is a member of several editorial boards including FEBS Letters, Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications and Antioxidants and Redox Signaling. He has been a lead speaker at Gordon Conferences and other prestigious events worldwide and is a member of several expert advisory panels to leading universities, companies and government agencies. Learn more about Prof Halliwell.

2016-governingBoard-daniel-hastingsProf Daniel Hasting

Member, Governing Board, MBI
CEO and Director, Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART)

As the CEO and Director of the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), Professor Hastings spearheads the SMART Centre’s mission. The mission is to undertake world-class research on specific problems of societal significance to Singapore and of interest to MIT.

Professor Hastings earned a PhD and an SM, from MIT in Aeronautics and Astronautics in 1980 and 1978 respectively, and received a BA in Mathematics from Oxford University in England in 1976.  He joined the MIT faculty in 1985.  With almost 30 years of experience in academia, Professor Hastings was MIT’s Dean of Undergraduate Education from 2006 to 2013, head of the MIT Technology and Policy Program and director of the MIT Engineering Systems Division.

Professor Hastings was US Air Force Chief Scientist From 1997-1999.  He currently serves on the Board of the Aerospace Corporation, the Board of the Draper Corporation and has served on several NRC committees including the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, the Air Force Studies Board and the Government University Industry Interactions Roundtable.

Professor Hastings is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) and the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE).  He served on the NASA Advisory Council, the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, the Defense Science Board, the National Science Board and several ad-hoc committees on space technology as well as on Science and Technology management and processes.  He has published over 120 papers, written a book on spacecraft environment interactions and won 5 best papers awards.  His recent research is focused on Complex Aerospace System Design. His previous work was on spacecraft environment interactions and space propulsion. Learn more about Professor Hastings.

Prof Anthony Hyman

Member, Governing Board, MBI
Director and Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics

Prof Dr Anthony Hyman is Director and Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics.

In 1984 he received his BSc first class in Zoology from the University College in London, where he had also been working as research Assistant in 1981.

From 1985 to 1987 he wrote his PhD about “The establishment of division axes in early C.elegans embryos” under the supervision of Dr John White at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, MRC in Cambridge, England. After that he moved to San Francisco where he did his postdoctoral research in the lab of Prof Tim Mitchison at the University of California investigating the mechanism of chromosome movement studied in vitro. In 1993 he became Group Leader at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, before he moved to Dresden in 1999 as one of the founding directors of the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics. In 2002 he was named honorary Professor of Molecular Cell Biology at the Technical University, Dresden. The year after he was awarded the EMBO Gold Medal. In 2007 he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society and was awarded the Leibniz Prize in 2011.

His research covers the mitotic spindle assembly and function, focusing on centrosomes; distribution of force generating mechanisms necessary for the first asymmetric division; establishment of cortical polarity. He primarily works in C.elegans embryos, but is also studying aspects of these problems in human cells using the emerging techniques of BAC transgenesis. Learn more about Prof Hyman.

2016-governingBoard-jackie-yingProf Jackie Ying

Member, Governing Board, MBI
Executive Director of the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, A*STAR

Jackie Y. Ying received her B.E. and Ph.D. from The Cooper Union and Princeton University, respectively. She joined the faculty at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1992, where she was Professor of Chemical Engineering until 2005. She has been the Founding Executive Director of the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology in Singapore since 2003. For her research on nanostructured materials, Prof. Ying has been recognized with the American Ceramic Society Ross C. Purdy Award, David and Lucile Packard Fellowship, Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award, Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, American Chemical Society Faculty Fellowship Award in Solid-State Chemistry, Technology Review’s Inaugural TR100 Young Innovator Award, American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Allan P. Colburn Award, Singapore National Institute of Chemistry-BASF Award in Materials Chemistry, Wall Street Journal Asia’s Asian Innovation Silver Award, International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Jubilee Medal, Materials Research Society Fellowship, Royal Society of Chemistry Fellowship, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering Fellowship, American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellowship, Crown Prince Grand Prize in the Brunei Creative, Innovative Product and Technological Advancement (CIPTA) Award, and Academy of Sciences of Iran Medal of Honor.

Prof. Ying was elected a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, and a member of the German National Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina. She was named one of the “One Hundred Engineers of the Modern Era” by AIChE in its Centennial Celebration. She was selected by The Muslim 500 in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 to be one of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims. She was selected as an Inaugural Inductee for the Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame in 2014. She was the inaugural winner of the Mustafa Prize “Top Scientific Achievement Award” in 2015. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Nano Today, which has an impact factor of 15.000. Learn more about Prof Ying.

2016-governingBoard-michael-sheetzProf Michael Sheetz

Member, Governing Board, MBI
Director, Mechanobiology Institute, Singapore

Hailing from Columbia University, Prof Michael Sheetz has more than 30 years’ experience in the biomedical field. Introduced to Singapore by Prof Hew Choy Leong of the National University of Singapore’s Department of Biological Sciences, Prof Sheetz was sought to lead an RCE project. This resulted in a two-year effort to organise and submit a proposal on Mechanobiology where Prof Sheetz set the theme and direction of the Mechanobiology Institute (MBI). Learn more about Prof Sheetz’s research.

The Mechanobiology Institute, Singapore, as lead by Director Michael Sheetz, is committed to developing better ways to bring together the multi-disciplinary expertise that is needed to understand the systems biology of mechanical functions. In approaching integrated functions such as biomechanics, a single lab often does not have the resources to study all of the relevant parameters; however, innovation and insights will continue to be driven most rapidly by single investigators in a collaborative environment. —excerpt from Director Sheetz’s message.

Read more about MBI’s mission.