Our Advisory Panel

2013_sierin_l'orealSierin Lim, PhD

Associate Professor & Student Exchange Coordinator, Bioengineering Division, School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore

Sierin‘s Bioengineered and Applied Nanomaterials Laboratory (BeANs Lab) at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Singapore focuses on the design and engineering of hybrid nano/microscale devices from biological parts by utilizing protein engineering as a tool for applications in medicine, energy, cosmetics, and food. She earned both her B.S. and Ph.D. degrees from University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) in Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering, respectively, and did a postdoc at UC Irvine. She is the founder of the Biomedical Engineering Society (Singapore) Student Chapter (BES-SC) and the 2013 recipient of the L’Oréal-UNESCO Singapore for Women in Science National Fellowships.

van photoVandana Ramachandran, PhD

Head of Administration, Institute of Medical Biology (IMB), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore

Dr. Vandana graduated from Curtin University, Perth in Medical Science and received her Ph. D in molecular parasitology from the National University of Singapore in collaboration with INSERM (Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale) in Paris. She continued with a postdoctoral fellowship at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, working on gene expression profiling of the malaria parasites. She is currently the Head of Administration at the Institute of Medical Biology, A*STAR and is also part of the Business Development team at IMB. She is the founder of A*PECSS (A*STAR Post Doc and Early Career Scientist Society) and was awarded an MTI Outstanding Activist Award for that. She is an advocate and organizing committee member of the Singapore Women In Science.

Leah Vardy, PhD Vardy.Pic.2012 copy

Principal Investigator, Institute of Medical Biology (IMB), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore

Dr. Leah obatined her B.Sc. Biological Sciences from University of Exeter, UK and received her PhD at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London in the laboratory of Takashi Toda. Following this she did her post-doctoral work with Terry Orr-Weaver at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, USA. Leah joined the IMB in July 2008 and her current interests lie in understanding gene expression control in embryonic stem cells and in the epidermis.


ryan bethencourtRyan Bethencourt, PhD

Ryan Bethencourt is a scientist, entrepreneur, and early stage biotech investor best known for his work as Program Director and Venture Partner at Indie Bio, a biology accelerator and early stage seed fund based in San Francisco and Ireland.

Ryan has invested in 30 early stage biotech companies, he’s also former head of life sciences at the XPRIZE foundation, a co-founder and CEO of Berkeley Biolabs, and Halpin Neurosciences, an ALS therapeutics-focused biotech company. In addition to for profit ventures, Ryan has co-founded several non-profits including Counter Culture Labs, LAblaunch, Sudo Room and Lifespan.io. Ryan has also worked with most major pharma and biotech companies to develop dozens of human therapeutics.


Shuwen Koh, PhD

Dr. Koh Shuwen is an independent consultant helping the National University Health System (NUHS) run their Innovation Transfer Office. She manages the strategic alliances and innovation development activities of the National University Hospital apart from being the business advisor of a private medical device start-up. She is an adjunct lecturer at the Centre for Technology and Development at Duke-NUS.

Dr. Koh worked as the Executive Director at ImaginAb Molecular Imaging Pte. Ltd. and before that, was with the Economic Development Board (EDB) and its affiliate, the Biomedical Sciences Industry Partnership Office (BMS IPO), facilitating investment, promotion and industry development for the Singapore Government in the pharmaceutical and biotech sector. Dr. Koh completed her undergraduate studies at Nanyang Technological University (Singapore), received her M.Sc. from Loughborough University (UK) and received her Ph.D. from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

jan-croeniJan Croeni

Jan Croeni is the Founder and Director of Croeni Foundation. The German born serial entrepreneur-turned philanthropist has decided to contribute his time and energy to create a better world. Based in Singapore, he is an active mentor, advisor and investor at start-ups and incubators, with a special focus on cause-related ventures, social enterprises and for-impact companies.

In his early thirties, Jan co-founded and managed companies which raised USD10+ million, exited with USD50+ million, went IPO (ASX:iBY, market capitalization of USD100+ million, 12/2013), and employed 250+ staff reaching out to millions of customers in Southeast Asia; all within a period of few years in diverse areas such as electric mobility, online shopping, and food delivery. According to him, the biggest – and most interesting! – challenge, however, is giving back to society now.

pp size 6441Joon-Nie LAU

A lawyer by training, Joon-Nie has spent over 15 years in broadcast television as a reporter, interactive producer, current affairs producer and news editor at Channel NewsAsia and its predecessors SBC News and TCS News. While on Channel NewsAsia’s International News Desk, Joon-Nie travelled extensively to countries like Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, offering Channel NewsAsia’s viewers new insights into these countries. She has won several in-house awards for reporting, executive producing and best ‘live’ coverage. In 2001, she received a Student Emmy for her Masters documentary project “Blue Sky Station: New York’s Third Chinatown”. This was produced, shot and edited while studying at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism on a MediaCorp fellowship.

At Nanyang Technological University, Joon-Nie headed Newsplex Asia, a convergent training newsroom and media lab in partnership with the European-headquartered World Association of Newspapers and Publishers (WAN-IFRA). She also teaches courses in broadcast journalism and overseas reporting which have led her to places like Timor-Leste, Thailand and North Korea.

She is currently the Vice-President of Singapore Press Club.

Astrolabs launch Dubai, United Arab Emirates, October 26, 2015 (Photo by Aasiya Jagadeesh/ITP Images);27_10_15 astrolabs ABE
Astrolabs launch Dubai, United Arab Emirates, October 26, 2015 (Photo by Aasiya Jagadeesh/ITP Images)

Tarig El-Sheikh

Tarig is an experienced entrepreneur and finance professional with 15 year track record across emerging markets in building global businesses, technology startups and finance. Tarig founded the MENA based advisory group, Istashir in 2011 (exited March 2013), serving as an advisor to numerous leading MENA Private Equity firms and family offices. He sits on the boards of various companies that he has helped successfully launch. From Dubai, he co-founded, Aythan DMCC, an HR & Health management platform that was successfully acquired in August 2015 after only 8 months of operations. Before that he co-founded a global ecommerce custom menswear company, Knot Standard, specializing in online and retail sales of custom clothing using proprietary online measurement technology.

His on the ground and direct experience in developing business plans, budget, sales &marketing, corporate development strategy, managing corporate & board responsibilities, has successfully lead to numerous million US$ growth capital funding rounds from prominent investors such as Fadi Ghandour (founder of Aramex) and Arif Naqvi (founded Abraaj Capital). He brings with him a deep knowledge of finance having served senior Investment Banking roles in Macquarie Capital and Lehman Brothers in London, amassing over $85 bln of transaction experience in advisory and capital raising. He is also a Trustee Board member for Reach the Children Organization and spends a few weeks out of every year teaching young orphans whilst developing viable social enterprises in the education and healthcare space in Africa.

He holds MBioch in Molecular Biochemistry from Oxford University as well graduating top of his class with a Distinction MSc in Finance from the prestigious Cass Business School, London.