Our Faculty

Michiel van Breugel

Research Areas
Dr. van Breugel has a variety of research interests, most of which involve the ecology of forest and trees in human-modified landscapes. He is broadly interested in understanding how human land-use and ecological processes interact to shape plant community dynamics and affect the provision of ecosystem services in and across different landscapes. His work focuses on the mechanisms and processes that determine the capacity of regrowing forests, which now encompass over 50 percent of the world’s tropical forests, to recover from human-caused drivers of ecosystem change. He hopes that his work will provide information for the effective restoration, management and conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services in transformed landscapes.
See full profile »
Teaching Subjects
  • Scientific Inquiry
  • Ecology and Ecosystems

Maurice Cheung

Research Areas
Dr. Cheung’s research interests are in developing and applying computational systems biology approaches in understanding the properties and behaviour of metabolic systems. His research involves the reconstruction of large-/genome-scale metabolic models, development of computational modelling algorithm for analysing stoichiometric models and the integration of large-scale-omics data to the framework of constraint-based modelling.
See full profile »
Teaching Subjects
  • Scientific Inquiry
  • Biochemistry
  • Networks

Neil Clarke

Research Areas
Dr. Clarke’s current interests are in the genomics and physiology of green algae. His work is motivated by the potential for algae to be used as ‘green’ feedstocks for fuels and chemicals. Dr. Clarke is currently working with a model species and a species that he selected from a transcriptome survey of nearly 200 strains.
See full profile »
Teaching Subjects

Jan Gruber

Research Areas
Dr. Gruber has been fascinated with ageing and all its aspects and implications for over a decade. His research aims to elucidate molecular mechanisms of ageing, in particular to understand the role of damage and mitochondria in ageing and to test related intervention strategies against ageing and age-dependent diseases. Dr. Gruber's laboratory is also actively engaged in national and international collaborations on various aspects of free radical biology, systems biology and ageing.
See full profile »
Teaching Subjects
  • Scientific Inquiry
  • Biology Laboratory

Hoon Eng Khoo

Research Areas
Dr. Khoo’s research interests have been in the study of bioactive components of venoms and toxins, the role of nitric oxide in liver diseases and medical education. She has published over 100 research articles and books in medical education and led faculty development workshops as Deputy Head of the Medical Education Unit and Associate at the NUS Centre for Development of Teaching and Learning. Dr. Khoo is also the Rector of Saga College at Yale-NUS.
See full profile »
Teaching Subjects

Philip Johns

Research Areas
Dr. Johns’ research interests revolve around the evolutionary genetics of social behaviours in insects and other arthropods. His primary research is on sexual selection and selfish genes in stalk-eyed flies. He also studies the evolution of altruism in termites, and courtship behaviour and aggression in spiders and praying mantids.
See full profile »
Teaching Subjects
  • Scientific Inquiry
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Research Seminar
  • Animal Behaviour

Ajay Mathuru

Research Areas
Dr. Mathuru is interested in understanding the neural, genetic and molecular mechanisms underlying animal behaviour. He uses a small, translucent vertebrate (zebrafish) that allows one to perform precise genetic manipulations and optical imaging of neural activity at a high resolution. The focus is on bringing ethologically relevant behaviours motivated by appetitive or aversive cues into a laboratory setting and studying them using a combination of behavioural assays, in vivo live, brain-wide or microcircuit activity imaging, neuroanatomy, electrophysiology, immunohistochemistry, and molecular biology. He is interested in studying behaviours such as social behaviours, predator avoidance, olfactory signalling, and more recently, development of substance dependence.
See full profile »
Teaching Subjects
  • Scientific Inquiry
  • Foundations of Neuroscience

Antónia Monteiro

Research Areas
Dr. Monteiro seeks to understand the evolution of morphological novelties by focusing on the evolution and development of butterfly wing patterns. Research in her lab addresses both the ultimate selective factors that favour particular wing patterns, as well as the proximate mechanisms that generate those patterns. Dr. Monteiro and her team combine tools from ethology, population genetics, phylogenetics, and developmental biology to understand the nature of the variation underlying developmental mechanisms within or between species, and why species display their particular colour patterns. Her model organisms (so far) are African satyrid butterflies in the genus Bicyclus, other nymphalids, pierid butterflies, and saturniid moths.
See full profile »
Teaching Subjects
  • Advance Topics in Molecular Cell Biology
  • Developmental Biology

William Piel

Research Areas
Dr. Piel studies how the growth of phylogenetic knowledge impacts biological questions. His research spans the bioinformatics of assembling and organising phylogenetic data, the visualisation and synthesis of this knowledge, and the analysis of key biological questions in a phylogenetic context. A current research interest for Dr. Piel is the evolutionary convergence of key adaptations in orb-weaving spiders and pitcher plants.
See full profile »
Teaching Subjects
  • Scientific Inquiry
  • Human Biology
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Research Seminar

Vinod Saranathan

Research Areas
Dr. Saranathan specialises in the study of structural colouration, responsible for vivid hues such as blues, violets and greens in both extant and extinct animals. Such colours are ubiquitous in nature and form an important part of the phenotype of animals as they are often used in inter- and intra-sexual communication and camouflage. His integrative research interests lie at the interface of evolutionary and organismal biology, animal behaviour, structural biology, soft matter physics, materials science, (bio)photonics, and biomimetics. Specifically, he is interested in what he has termed “Evolutionary Photonics” – a precise, holistic understanding of the biophotonic nanostructures underlying organismal structural colouration (both iridescent and non-iridescent colours).
See full profile »
Teaching Subjects
  • Scientific Inquiry
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Foundations of Biophysics

Nicholas Tolwinski

Research Areas
Dr. Tolwinski specialises in analysing the early embryonic development of Drosophila. His research focuses on signal transduction, or the intra-cellular communication that organises groups of cells into tissues, and what goes wrong when cells disregard signals and form cancers. He has led a team of four to five researchers exploring these basic mechanisms of cancer. He has published in several journals, including Developmental Cell, EMBO Journal and PLOS.
See full profile »
Teaching Subjects
  • Research Seminar
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Cell Biology