29 January 2013: Two Yale-NUS Science faculty members recognised for their research contributions with the Singapore National Research Foundation Fellowship


For the second consecutive year, members of the Science faculty from Yale-NUS College have been recognised for their research contributions with the award of the prestigious Singapore National Research Foundation (NRF) Fellowship.

Dr Melissa Jane Fullwood won the 2013 Fellowship for her research on the use of novel next-generation sequencing technologies to understand the modifications surrounding DNA, which can alter gene expression patterns of human cancer cells. In 2012, Dr Shaffique Adam won the same Fellowship for his research on the effects of electron interactions in new materials such as graphene and topological insulators.

As NRF Fellows, Dr Fullwood and Dr Adam join the ranks of 48 others since the award was started in 2007. They each receive up to SGD3 million (approximately USD2.4 million) in research funding support over five years to perform cutting-edge research in Singapore.

Yale-NUS College’s Dean of Faculty Professor Charles Bailyn congratulates the achievements of these young and passionate faculty members. He noted: “The success of our Science faculty in this prestigious competition indicates the high quality of the instructors who will be interacting with our students on a daily basis.”

Yale-NUS will open its doors to an inaugural batch of 150 students in August 2013.

Dr Fullwood’s research will focus on gastric cancer, which is the second leading cause of cancer-associated deaths world-wide, and is particularly common in Asia. A major goal of her research is to develop foundational knowledge for the development of new drugs and biomarkers in gastric cancer. She said, “I am delighted to be an NRF fellow. This honour will enable me to join the growing community of excellent cancer genomics researchers in Singapore, and to contribute to the development of next-generation sequencing-based approaches for understanding our genomes and cancer.”

A theoretical physicist, Dr Adam hopes that his research can achieve insights into the electronic properties of novel materials such as graphene (a single monoatomic layer of carbon atoms arranged in a two-dimensional honeycomb lattice) in the hope of harnessing them for future technologies.

“The Fellowship provides significant resources to young researchers with the freedom to pursue their own research questions. For me, this presents an unparalleled opportunity to address important questions in theoretical condensed matter physics which my research is focusing on,” he shared.

The Singapore NRF Fellowship is a globally competitive programme aimed at attracting and rooting outstanding young scientists and researchers in various fields of science and technology to conduct independent research in Singapore. The highly stringent selection process puts applicants through two rounds of shortlisting, before a final list of candidates is determined for consideration of the award. Finalists of the Fellowship are invited to present their proposals prior to a final interview, before a final selection of awardees is made.

For the full bios of Dr Fullwood and Dr Adam, visit:

Dr Melissa Jane Fullwood

Dr Shaffique Adam