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Singapore scientist wins coveted Chen New Investigator Award 2013

Dr Patrick Tan from A*STAR's Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) has received the 2013 Chen New Investigator Award from the international Human Genome Organisation (HUGO). This award is given to scientists who have made significant contributions to their respective fields of human genetic and genomic research during their early career years, normally within 15 years from receiving their highest earned degree.

In awarding the prize, the Award Review Committee which comprises an international make-up of acclaimed scientists from countries including Canada, India, Japan, Switzerland and the USA commended Dr Tan for his outstanding education background and excellent publication record. They recognized his significant contributions through his research on genomic profiles of Asian cancers. The committee also praised him on his longstanding body of work in cancer genomics, with a particular focus on gastric cancer, and commented that his momentum appeared to be on an impressive upward trajectory.

The award will be presented at the annual meeting of HUGO, which runs from 13th through 18th April 2013 at the Marina Bay Sands Singapore. In addition to the New Investigator Award, the Chen Award for Distinguished Academic Achievement in Human Genetic and Genomic Research will also be presented at the meeting.

A graduate of Harvard University and Stanford University School of Medicine, Dr Tan's research laboratory focuses on developing genomic approaches to unlock the molecular and clinical diversity of gastric cancer. Much of his work is concerned with developing methods to differentiate and group gastric cancer patients based on their molecular profiles, and identifying the genes required for cancer to develop in each of these groups so that therapeutic treatments can be tailor-made for each specific group.

Dr Tan is also currently leading POLARIS (Personalized OMIC Lattice for Advanced Research and Improving Stratification), a consortium of multiple A*STAR Research Institutes and public healthcare centres that is driving Singapore's concerted effort to venture into stratified medicine. Besides identifying new biomarkers and technology for personalized treatment, POLARIS will also embark on education, outreach and engagement efforts.

In addition to his appointment in GIS, Dr Tan is also a Professor in the Cancer and Stem Cell Biology Program at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, and a Senior Principal Investigator at the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

Dr Tan said, "I am deeply humbled and grateful to receive the Chen Award. This honour would not have been possible without the tireless support of my research team and our many collaborators throughout Singapore. We will redouble our efforts to translate our discoveries into applications that significantly improve health outcomes for patients in Singapore and the region."

GIS Executive Director Prof Ng Huck Hui said, "GIS is truly honoured by the recognition given to Patrick for all the important work he does in Singapore. In recent years, stratified oncology and personalized medicine have become significantly important because we want to make sure that each patient receives the best and most suitable therapeutic options available. Also, with the set-up of POLARIS under Dr Tan's leadership, there will be even closer collaborations with other research entities and clinicians toward this end. We are extremely proud of his achievements."


Contact: Winnie Lim
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore

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