Shanthi WASSER - Go-the-Extra-Mile-for-Service (GEMS) Award
This award recognises staff who have demonstrated exemplary service or are active participants of quality/ skills improvement activities.
Dr. Shanthi Wasser is the head of IMCB administration and supervises a number of staff, who are not directly involved in research. The truth is that Shanthi does not just take care of her duties but will take care of everything that is needed to make an RI run smoothly. She does so 24/7 and will even respond to emails during vacation (annual leave). Shanthi’s response to requests and inquiries is immediate and always followed up by real action to solve problems. Her knowledge is impressive and therefore she checks documents that go through her hands (which are many) not only for formalities but also for content and often offers suggestions on how to improve the documents. In case of stress or “emergency”, Shanthi will go out of her way to help in dealing with the situation, even when it interferes with her free time or personal plans. It is quite impressive how she can manage so many different tasks and still smile most of the time. In addition to her duties, she will prepare & polish presentations on behalf of IMCB, and she also maintains good connections to other RIs (which means she trains & mentors heads of administration of other RIs) as well as to the universities. Therefore, whenever there is any issue, Shanthi will be able to help (or find somebody who can help). She also brings out the best in people she supervises by challenging them but at the same time nurtures & mentors them.
Overall, sometimes it seems that Shanthi “lives” for IMCB but for sure she makes IMCB run smoothly even when there are last minute requests.
Shanthi not only deserves this award, it is actually way overdue!
IMCB congratulates Shanthi on winning this year’s GEMS Award.
Frederic BARD - Most Inspiring Mentor Award
The Most Inspiring Mentor Award recognises inspirational and dedicated scientists who have played fundamental roles in nurturing other scientists and scholars. These awards were introduced by A*STAR in 2007 to recognize outstanding staff for their contributions to A*STAR and celebrate their achievements.
Associate Professor Frederic Bard has been an integral member of IMCB for years, as Principal Investigator (PI) and now Senior PI and is the PI in-charge of the IMCB Early Career Researcher (ECR) seminar series.
Fred takes his role as PI in charge of the IMCB ECR seminar series seriously and provides each speaker with a constructive critique of their presentation. Besides useful comments on the work done, he also gives helpful pointers on how the delivery could be improved, for example, tips on structuring the talk, emphasis of key points, style of delivery, etc. He has the gift of being very objective: he is able to provide opinions from a PI’s perspective, while being empathetic and understanding of the ECR’s situation. Recognizing that the ECRs’ and PIs’ interests are not necessarily the same, he is able to propose solutions or approaches to problems that are helpful to the ECRs. His suggestions are always presented in a mild (but firm) and earnest manner that has endeared him to all his supervisees/mentees.
Fred has also taught and encouraged the staff in his laboratory at all levels - from postdocs to lab technicians. The following accolades from some of his lab members are a tribute to Fred’s unwavering support and guidance as a mentor.
Dr Joanne Zhihui CHIA, Research Fellow, Regulation of Membrane Traffic Laboratory, IMCB
Since I joined the lab, I have always insisted on greeting and addressing Dr Frederic Bard as “Dr Bard”, despite the numerous attempts from him to call him “Fred”. This is my way of showing my respect to someone whom I honour as a wonderful mentor and role model. I have worked in Dr Bard’s lab for 8 years: first as a lab technician then a PhD student and now, a postdoc. Dr Bard is the most patient, approachable and accommodating mentor I have met. Despite his busy schedules, he is ever willing to stop whatever he is doing to attend to us with a bright smile when we approach him. With his quick and brilliant mind, Dr Bard constantly provides constructive and incisive advice on the next steps of projects and showers us with ideas on how to tackle and troubleshoot problems. Dr Bard is very passionate and driven about his work. He is energetic and always excited over the newest scientific news and research findings. His infectious enthusiasm has deeply influenced my passion for Science and with his strong encouragement, I decided to pursue a higher degree. I am very grateful that he trusted me with my own projects, an opportunity usually not given to lab technicians, and such training has helped me to gain confidence and to develop scientifically. Without his guidance and support, I wouldn't have found my passion and career path. In short, Dr Bard is an inspirational leader who has many positive qualities for all of us working with him to emulate.
Dr Germaine Yen Lin GOH, Research Fellow, Regulation of Membrane Traffic Laboratory, IMCB
I have been a postdoc in Fred's lab for 5 years now, and it has been a great learning journey. He is very intelligent and passionate about his science, and his enthusiasm is infectious. Whenever we discuss our projects with him, he always tries to give constructive feedback and good troubleshooting ideas. Despite his energy and drive, he manages to remain an incredibly patient and approachable boss, never being too harsh with anyone so we can be comfortable discussing anything with him. He constructively tends to see the positive side of people and is not afraid to entrust us with or seek our opinion on important issues. This is good training for us and helps us to build confidence professionally. He is also great at maintaining a big picture view and reminding us of it when we get too preoccupied with the minutiae, which is an important trait for any scientist. Indeed, I find that he has some truly novel and creative insights in our field, and believe he will continue to inspire and stimulate other scientists with his contributions.
Dr Violette Wan Yin LEE, Research Fellow in Regulation of Membrane Traffic Laboratory, IMCB
I was a PhD student and am currently a Post Doc in Fred’s lab. Under his mentorship, we learn to be independent, yet he is always there for us. Even when on vacation or conference travel, he takes time to e-mail and even call us to give us advice. He is always enthusiastic, very positive and always encourages us. His motivation helps push us to our limits and inspires us to achieve new milestones in science.
The consensus from IMCB postdocs, graduate students and lab technicians is that Fred is a charismatic leader who takes training very seriously. He sets a very high standard but is always there to help each one of them achieve it. He trains them not only to do excellent science but to also be good people. He is truly deserving of the Most Inspiring Mentor Award.
IMCB congratulates Fred on winning this year’s Most Inspiring Mentor Award.