Im­prov­ing bio­med­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment

DR SIEW HWA ONG Di­rec­tor & Chief Sci­en­tist at Ac­u­men Re­search Lab­o­ra­to­ries, Sin­ga­pore

BioSpectrum (Asia) - - Bio Content -

Dr Siew Hwa ONG knows a lot about growth. Af­ter stints as Post-doc­toral Fel­low at Mt Si­nai Hos­pi­tal, Canada and As­sis­tant Pro­fes­sor at In­sti­tute of Molec­u­lar and cell, A*STAR, Dr Siew joined Na­tional Univer­sity of Sin­ga­pore in 2004. She was ap­pointed the Chair­man of BioSin­ga­pore in 2015, where she suc­cess­fully con­tin­ues to han­dle ac­tiv­i­ties and ini­tia­tives tailored to im­prove the na­tional bio­med­i­cal and bio­science en­vi­ron­ment in or­der to solve chal­lenges and cap­ture op­por­tu­ni­ties.

An avid reader, Dr Siew Hwa ONG firmly be­lieves in the im­por­tance of hard work in build­ing any suc­cess­ful ca­reer. A pro­fes­sional, ed­u­ca­tion­ist and an ex­pert in her field, she has trained and worked in Sin­ga­pore, US, Canada, in­clud­ing in pub­lic re­search in­sti­tutes, academia, hospi­tals, big pharma and start-up en­vi­ron­ment. Dr Siew Hwa

Ong is presently the Di­rec­tor and

Chief Sci­en­tist at Ac­u­men Re­search Lab­o­ra­to­ries.

Founded in 2010, Ac­u­men Re­search Lab­o­ra­to­ries (ARL) is a con­tract re­search or­ga­ni­za­tion (CRO) that pro­vides a com­pre­hen­sive range of cus­tom­ized, high-qual­ity con­tract R&D ser­vices in drug tar­get dis­cov­ery and pre­clin­i­cal drug de­vel­op­ment to support the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try and re­lated bio­med­i­cal sciences re­search com­mu­ni­ties world-wide.

“I worked for many years as a sci­en­tist in the academia and in­dus­try be­fore start­ing my own com­pany.” Shuf­fling be­tween her busy work sched­ule while bal­anc­ing her per­sonal pri­or­i­ties and fam­ily com­mit­ments, she re­ally val­ues the free­dom that she has been able to achieve by start­ing her own com­pany. She adds, “I would say I’m in­deed in the sit­u­a­tion I ex­pected, not an easy jour­ney but the free­dom I needed to do my work is very im­por­tant – the peace be­tween my heart & my mind.”

Based in Sin­ga­pore, Ac­u­men Re­search Lab­o­ra­to­ries de­vel­oped a new molec­u­lar di­ag­nos­tic test for sep­sis, in­clud­ing a novel sep­sis host re­sponse test. Re­cently, they li­censed this tech­nol­ogy to a Ger­man com­pany to com­mer­cial­ize in the US and Europe, and are now plan­ning to en­ter the Chi­nese mar­ket as well.

While talk­ing about her share of chal­lenges and male dis­par­ity in the in­dus­try, Dr Siew said, “It is true that the in­dus­try re­mains very male­dom­i­nated. How­ever, I would say each gen­der has his and her own in­trin­sic sets of strengths and weak­nesses, can be ge­net­i­cally or so­cially linked. The two gen­ders will al­ways be dif­fer­ent.” She feels that th­ese dif­fer­ences per se are very valu­able con­tri­bu­tions to the di­ver­sity and com­ple­men­tar­ity of ideas, meth­ods of solv­ing prob­lems etc. “The chal­lenges oc­cur in sit­u­a­tions when the in­abil­ity to reach a mu­tu­ally ac­cept­able way to pro­ceed on cer­tain im­por­tant is­sues and some­times th­ese can lead to loss of good op­por­tu­ni­ties that can be cap­tured to­gether.”

Her se­cret mantra to suc­cess is a fa­mous quote in Chi­nese,

. She trans­lates it for us. “Trans­lated lit­er­ally means where your heart is, where the har­vests will be. This means what you fo­cus on and where you put in ef­forts, that’s where you will reap re­turns.”

Dr Siew Hwa ONG ad­vices bud­ding en­trepreneurs to re­main fo­cused and pa­tient in the pur­suit of com­mer­cial­iz­ing their busi­ness ideas.

DR SIEW HWA ONG Di­rec­tor & Chief Sci­en­tist at Ac­u­men Re­search Lab­o­ra­to­ries, Sin­ga­pore

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