Recipient: Tay Wei Hong
A man can be as great as he wants to be. If you believe in yourself and have the courage, the determination, the dedication, the competitive drive and if you are willing to sacrifice the little things in life and pay the price for the things that are worthwhile, it can be done.
~ Vince Lombardi
These words caught Tay Wei Hong’s eyes when he first stepped into the Plant Systems Biology Laboratory in the Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory at the National University of Singapore (NUS). There, he worked on a project titled “Elucidating the Role of Phosphatidic Acid in Terminal Flower Expression in Arabidopsis Thaliana”. This project recognises the importance of lipids as novel signaling molecules in plant cells and sheds light on how they are involved in the activation of enzymes and recruitment of proteins in plants which is important in plant development and maturation.
Wei Hong devoted a lot of time and effort on this project, sometimes coming in at the break of dawn and leaving only past midnight to complete his experiments. His perseverance and determination paid off as his project was selected the Best Project at the Temasek Applied Science School’s Major Project Symposium. His research data and results will in fact form part of a scientific research article submitted by his mentor, Dr Yuki Nakamura, in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Wei Hong’s work indeed surpassed the expectations of the three judges for the Best Project Prize. They felt that his investigations have led to a deeper understanding of molecular techniques carried out on plants and that the project has shed light on the little-known roles of lipids in plants as signaling molecules. They felt that the scope of his project was very broad and acknowledged that it was difficult to perform. To top it off, he was very confident and impressive when presenting and handling questions posed the judges.
To his mentor, Dr Yuki Nakamura, Wei Hong is especially grateful for his praiseworthy and exceptional mentorship, and his unconditional support throughout the project. He also believes that this accomplishment would not have been possible without the valuable insights and tips provided by his colleagues during the course of the project as well as the guidance, continuous support, invaluable training and constructive criticism he received from his lecturers and Company Principal Investigator, Dr Toshiro Ito. Wei Hong also thanks his family members and friends who, with their companionship, words of encouragement and kind advice, were a constant source of motivation that spurred him on.
Wei Hong is currently working at the Defense Science Organisation and is awaiting enlistment for National Service, after which he hopes to pursue a degree in Biological Sciences at the National University of Singapore.
Liaison Officer: Mr Kok Chor Wee
Evaluator: Dr Jason Chang
Principal Investigator: Dr Toshiro Ito