A wonderful afternoon at the Kent Ridge Alumni Family Day (18 Aug 2018)

Did you see us at the Kent Ridge Alumni Family Day (18 Aug 2018)?
It was the first time that the NUS Biodiversity Crew (Dr Amy Choong & Xu Weiting) and Life Sciences Society (LSS) undergraduates participated in this alumni family day.

The guests were a diverse lot – visitors, exchange students, current students and alumni from other faculties and ex-students visited the booth. They were drawn to the booth by the games designed by LSS and intrigued by the specimens we brought along to share stories about – a common palm civet specimen, cocoa and coffee plants. Visitors learnt about pedigree and genetics through the games and discovered more about civets and the tragic link with kopi luwak.

That evening, NUS President Tan Eng Chye graced the event and visited the booths. We warmly welcomed him with civet stories and he was intrigued that NUS also has civets.

We enjoyed ourselves so the four-hours passed by rather quickly as the team made the effort to interact with as many visitors as possible. They in turn enjoyed learning about the new things that are happening at the Department of Biological Sciences in NUS’ Faculty of Science.

Special thanks to all the LSS volunteers (Genevieve Tang, Nicholas Yeo, Leanne Teh, Wong Zhi Wei, Benjamin Tan, Loshini D/O Sunthar, Nicholas Seng & Muhammad Faiq), Fatin Nadzirah Bte Zahari, Tan Xing Zhi for manning the booth. And Mrs Ang-Lim Swee Eng, Mr Kaka Singh and Mr Ismail Bin Arshad for helping to take the plant photos and to collect the plant specimens.

2018-08-18 20.01.05

Alumni Veera Sekaran featured in SIF publication “Singapore”

Veera is an NUS biology graduate from the late 80’s who setup Greenology in 2008. Lovely to see him featured in Singapore International Foundation’s Oct-Dec 2013 issue of Singapore.

“… he set up Greenology to spread the concept of urban ‘green walls.’ A green wall is found in nature where plants grow naturally on vertical surfaces. Using this concept, plants are introduced into compact living spaces — a vital point as more than half the world’s population now live in cities.

And this is a trend, the World Health Organisation says is going to continue, with seven out of every 10people living in cities by 2050.

Greenology’s big break came when it was commissioned to build a green wall for the Formula 1 Pit Building in 2010.Things were looking up for Veera and it appeared that the business had turned the corner.

However, towards the end of that year he contracted a rare medical condition, Parsonage-Turner syndrome.“It rendered both my arms unusable.They were paralysed, and for six months I couldn’t eat or drink. It also caused tremendous pain.” Because it is so rare,his doctors were uncertain about how it should be treated.”

Click to read
Greening Out Of The Box

DBS Graduate Cedric Tan wins biology category in Science’s 4th Annual “Dance your PhD” contest!

From: “Corlett, Richard Thomas”

Cedric did his final-year project in my lab. This will surprise nobody who knows him! We should assess LSM2251 like this!

The announcement on Science:

Science’s fourth annual “Dance Your Ph.D.” contest, a competition that recognizes the best dance interpretations of scientific doctoral work.

The Ph.D. research of the three other winners, who will receive $500 each, made for equally compelling dances. Cedric Tan, a biologist at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom who won the biology category, depicted the mating dance of the fruit fly, capturing the way that male flies stalk and sniff females. He also incorporated his research on how choosy females prefer to mate with flies that are brothers and how that relation reduces violence between the males.

Plus see Cedric’s illustrious NUS history here.

Best wishes,


The news made it to Slate too!

Dance Your Ph.D.: winners of the annual interpretive dance contest for scientists. [VIDEOS]
Click to read the article!

Staff, students and alumni at the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore @ Pandan mangrove

Over three Saturdays in September, some 40 organisations hit the beaches and mangroves around Singapore as part of the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore in an effort to count, categorise and collect marine trash.

This data which is reported to the international coordinator, Ocean Conservancy, to create awareness, effect policy change and provide material for public education. Around the world, 70-100 countries take part annually

The Singapore programme is in its 18th year and I have been national coordinator since 2000 as a result of seeing so much trash in the mangroves! After more than ten years of mangrove cleanups, I finally turned my attention to Sungei Pandan mangrove in 2008. This tiny remnant strip nearby campus has accumulated a heavy load of trash over the years.

Partnering department alumni, staff and students who anchor this cleanup is Wildlife Reserves Singapore (Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and Jurong Bird Park), our co-founding ICC partners at this site – and they count some of our alumni amongst their staff!

Here are some photos from the cleanup featuring some familiar faces – the rest are at the Habitatnews Flickr album and WRS photos are on Fotki. Data results are on the ICCS webpage.

Lots more out there so join us at Lim Chua Kang (Jul/Aug) and Pandan (Sep) next year. Just join the mailing list on the ICCS webpage and I’ll alert you next year.

Pandan mangrove

Getting ready at 7.45am at the Jalan Buroh bus-stop

Getting ready – two of the ‘Indpendents’ and Adrian Loo (alumni)

Weiting (hons) taking a break from her thesis in the mangrove core!

Robert (postgrad) too worked in the depth of the mangrove

Yea Tian (hons) kept up with the mangrove core team to record data

Trina (hons) was determined to be mosquito-proof

Joelle (staff) and Yandi (alumni) removing a mattress

Biswajit (alumni/WRS) wading in

Anne and Trina (hons) and Yandi (alumni) rescuing a volunteer

Anne Devan (hons) in action!

Yea Tian (hons) and Xuiling (2nd year) weighing and recording trash
with the hard working ‘Independents’

DBS Crew with Independents

Sivasothi (staff) with Biswajit and Desmond (alumni/WRS)
and WRS coordinator Charlotte.

Glove cleaning – recycling the welder’s gloves for next year
Alison Wee (postgrad and ICCS Penang liason), N. Sivasothi (ICCS Coordinator)
and Teo Yea Tian (hons) facing camera