Outstanding Young Alumni Award 2017

BSc (Hons) 2009
PhD 2013

Dr NEO Mei Lin, Marine Biologist at the St. John’s Island National Marine Laboratory and NUS’ Tropical Marine Science Institute, received the Outstanding Young Alumni Award 2017 for her world-recognised research on giant clams and their conservation efforts. Mei Lin graduated from NUS with a B.Sc. (Hons) in Life Sciences (2009) and a Ph.D. in Marine Ecology (2013). She has published more on giant clam biology, ecology, and behaviour than any scientist in past two decades and has established herself as the world authority on these threatened, reef mega-invertebrates. Mei Lin’s research has already had direct impacts on conservation efforts, as she currently co-leads the Giant Clam Restocking Project in Singapore, funded under the National Parks Board (NParks)’ Species Recovery Programme.

In recognition of her achievements, Mei Lin has received multiple awards and international accolades. In 2017, she was selected as a TED Fellow, the only Singaporean on the prestigious list. In 2015, she received the L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science National Fellowship (Singapore) for her study on the conservation of giant clams. She was also featured in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia list (2016), which recognises Asia’s brightest young entrepreneurs, innovators and game changers.

On top of her research, Mei Lin also practises science communication to make science more accessible to the public. She has participated in numerous events to raise environmental literacy and awareness on marine conservation issues, such as the annual Festival of Biodiversity. She also actively volunteers with WildSingapore to document seashores, and with Team Seagrass to survey seagrass areas in Singapore. During her time as an NUS student, Mei Lin represented Singapore as a youth representative in various biodiversity-related conferences. She was recently nominated by NUS to attend the Annual Meeting of the New Champions (2016, 2017) in China, organised by the World Economic Forum, in her capacity as a Young Scientist.

Her service contribution to NUS includes co-organising and chairing several workshops, seminars and symposia in NUS, such as The Future of Marine Science in Singapore Workshop (2015) and the annual Sunburst Environment Programme (2014-2016). She also taught at the Department of Biological Sciences during her Ph.D., where she received the NUS Faculty Part-time Teaching Assistant Award for three consecutive years (2011, 2012, 2013). Mei Lin continues to mentor Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme in Science (UROPs) and Final Year Project (FYP) students at the department