I started working in IMCB in 1992 although my association with IMCB began even earlier when I was awarded the IMCB/NUS-scholarship to pursue my Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge in the laboratory of Dr. Sydney Brenner (Nobel Laureate, 2002). I had to come back to Singapore after my Ph.D. because of the scholarship bond. So it was natural for me to join Sydney's lab in IMCB as he had been a wonderful and supportive supervisor.
In 1997, I moved to Prof Louis Lim's lab as a postdoctoral fellow because I had become interested in cell signaling and cytoskeleton. I really enjoyed the time spent in Louis's lab. It was a great learning experience, which also set the course of my future scientific direction. Although I left IMCB long ago to join Nanyang Technological University as a group leader, I still keep in touch with my old lab members. Whenever we meet, we would still talk about the good old days when we were at the "old" IMCB and how the young scholars of today are not as dedicated. A sign of old age as one might say.
I have been at the School of Biological Sciences at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) since 2004. Having spent a few years in Glaxo-Lab in IMCB with generous funding, it was a rude shock to me to find out how expensive it was to run my own lab and the amount of work and paper chase one has to go through just to get things done. Thinking back, we were really fortunate at IMCB with a team of support staff to help us. I did not have to make any growth media nor PBS buffer before I started working at NTU. Perhaps I have been spoilt or just lucky to have been in laboratories with good funding and infrastructural support. The environment and the level of science at IMCB were excellent and enviable. Perhaps that is the reason why I stayed at IMCB for such a long time. I have never thought of doing anything else but an at-the-bench research scientist. However, being a group leader at NTU has taught me new skill sets as well as how to deal with challenges of different sorts.
At NTU, my lab focuses on cell signaling and the regulation of the actin cytoskeleton. We are interested in the signaling pathways and proteins, in particular kinases and phosphatases, which regulate cell migration and cell polarity. We are also keen to decipher the functional links between the regulation of the actin cytoskeleton and cell cycle control. I continue to actively collaborate with my friends at IMCB.
My stint at IMCB has really molded my scientific career. I will always cherish my time at this wonderful institute.