Frontiers in Biology Series for Teachers

Frontiers in Biology Series for Teachers

The Frontiers in Biology Series for Teachers aim to invite school teachers to learn the latest advances in biological research from leading scientists of various life sciences disciplines at the Department Biological Sciences (DBS), National University of Singapore (NUS).

Jointly organized annually by DBS, NUS, and Academy of Singapore Teachers, the seminar series features an exciting hour-long lecture and an engaging Q&A session. It offers a unique opportunity for school teachers to interact directly with our professors.

The first talk of the series will be held on 11 April 2018, beginning with the application of fundamentals of genetics to application and industrial use.


Talk 1

Wednesday, 11 April 2018 | 3.30pm | LT 21 (link to map)

Speaker: Dr CHEW Fook Tim
Associate Professor (Biological Sciences), Vice Dean (Faculty of Science)
Department of Biological Sciences, Functional Genomics Laboratories, National University of Singapore, E-mail:

Genetics - Research and the Real World

New genetic and genomic tools have allowed scientists to evaluate the underlying mechanisms for disease as well as major phenotypes in agriculture production. One example that is very relevant to the Southeast Asian region is the application of genomic information in the improvement of oil palm yields.  Oil palm is among the largest source of edible oil which contributes to more than 30% of the world's production of oils and fats.  Recent advances – particularly in the application of large scale quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis, genetic association studies, and genomic selection models, in combination with the application of network biology and functional genomic tools – present opportunities to greatly improve productivity.  In this presentation, the basic tools used by plant breeders and geneticists to identify and thereafter utilize markers linked or associated with key productivity related phenotypes (e.g., fruit size, oil yield, reduced height, disease and stress tolerance, etc. in the case of crop plants) in the breeding programmes are discussed.  Network biology tools (transcriptome, proteome, and metabolome analysis) used in tandem with the traditional genetic toolsets (linkage and association studies) and genomic selection models, can yield insights into underlying key processes controlling the complex multi-genic and interactive (gene-gene, gene-environment) nature of oil productivity.  These are generic tools which can easily be applied to many other agriculture products or disease discovery processes.  The presentation will link what we learn from the basics of Mendelian Laws to how these are being applied in industry for breeding and discovery of the genetic control of multiple traits.


For more information on the series, please contact

Reena Devi (Ms)
Tel: 65162711