News archives


OCTOBER - DECEMBER 17

JULY - SEPTEMBER 17

APRIL - JUNE 17

JANUARY - MARCH 17

OCTOBER - DECEMBER 16

JULY - SEPTEMBER 16

APRIL - JUNE 16

JANUARY - MARCH 16

OCTOBER - DECEMBER 15

JULY - SEPTEMBER 15

APRIL - JUNE 15

JANUARY - MARCH 15

OCTOBER - DECEMBER 14

JULY - SEPTEMBER 14

APRIL - JUNE 14

JANUARY - MARCH 14

OCTOBER - DECEMBER 13

JULY - SEPTEMBER 13

APRIL - JUNE 13

JANUARY - MARCH 13

OCTOBER - DECEMBER 12

JULY - SEPTEMBER 12

APRIL - JUNE 12

JANUARY - MARCH 12

OCTOBER - DECEMBER 11

JULY - SEPTEMBER 11

APRIL - JUNE 11

JANUARY - MARCH 11

OCTOBER - DECEMBER 10

JULY - SEPTEMBER 10

APRIL - JUNE 10

JANUARY - MARCH 10

OCTOBER - DECEMBER 09

JULY - SEPTEMBER 09

APRIL - JUNE 09

JANUARY - MARCH 09

OCTOBER - DECEMBER 08

JULY - SEPTEMBER 08

APRIL - JUNE 08

JANUARY - MARCH 08

OCTOBER - DECEMBER 07

JULY - SEPTEMBER 07

APRIL - JUNE 07

JANUARY - MARCH 07

 
  current news   Press   selected story    
     
  12th May  
 

IMCB Congratulates Byrappa Venkatesh

 
 



Abstract
Congratulations to Professor Byrappa Venkatesh, Principal Investigator at IMCB, who was promoted to a Full Professor in IMCB with effect from January 2008. Prof. Venkatesh is an internationally recognized leader in the field of comparative genomics. He obtained his BSc and MSc with Distinction from the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, India and his PhD from the National University of Singapore. Prof. Venkatesh is the recipient of the Singapore’s prestigious “National Science Award” in 2004 in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the fugu genome project.

 
 


 
 


Venki’s impressions of his time at IMCB


When I first came to Singapore in 1987 to pursue a PhD degree I never imagined that I would be staying here for this long. My intention was to complete the degree and move on to North America or Europe to embark on a research career. Looking back, I now realize that I have spent most part of my professional life in Singapore.

During this period, I was indeed fortunate to be part of a revolution in biomedical research in Singapore that has thrust this tiny island state into international limelight. My personal quest to understand the structure, function and origin of human genome and genomes of various other beautiful creatures actually began when I joined Sydney Brenner’s Molecular Genetics Lab in Cambridge, UK as a postdoc in 1991. At that time, Sydney was exploring the concept of using the genome sequences of fishes with compact genomes for understanding the human genome and I was part of the team that characterized and proposed the genome of the pufferfish (fugu) as a model for understanding the human genome. Subsequently I brought the fugu genome project to Singapore and demonstrated the utility of fugu in discovering gene regulatory elements in the human genome and in understanding the evolution of human and other vertebrate genomes. Our efforts in Singapore ultimately led to the sequencing of the whole genome of the fugu in 2002, the first vertebrate genome to be sequenced soon after completion of the human genome.

Continuing our search for more ancient vertebrates that could shed light on the origin and organization of the human genome, we identified the elephant shark as a model cartilaginous fish genome. We discovered that despite being closer to fishes, the human genome bears a higher similarity (in terms of gene arrangements and nucleotide sequences) to the elephant shark genome than to pufferfish or zebrafish genomes. Convinced of the importance of the elephant shark as a critical reference genome for understanding the origin and evolution of human and other vertebrate genomes, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA has granted funds for sequencing the whole genome of the elephant shark. In the search for model vertebrates, I have had the unique opportunity of exploring the genomes of many rare and unusual genomes including that of the “living fossil”, the coelacanth. Overall, it has been an enlightening and rewarding journey, with never a dull moment. My most rewarding moments were when I could find conclusive answers to questions, even simple questions like why fugu is not poisoned by its own toxin. I would like to acknowledge that many people including Sydney, my lab members and my family members, have kept me company during this journey and have supported me in my quest. There are still many more interesting genomes to be uncovered, and so the journey goes on...

Venki

 
 

For more information of Our Lab, Please Click here.