From our nation’s early years, SG Women have progressed and set out towards achieving their goals. The women amongst us have shaped our communities and homes, thus bettering every aspect of our society with their efforts and labour.
The Ministry for Social and Family Development has declared that 2021 is the Year of Celebrating SG Women. In support, SNEC and SERI are seizing this opportunity to feature our own trailblazers and their personalised sharing.
Join us to honour and acknowledge our team of amazing women whose contributions are integral to the SNEC and SERI story.
These women are taking up multiple hats – at work, play and for the ones they love. They continue to make impact in the field of Ophthalmology, inspiring those around them with their brand of ethos in life.
Their stories are featured on
SNEC-SERI Facebook Page from March 2021 till the end of this year. Scroll down to read about their experiences and words of wisdom.
Prof Tina WongHead and Senior Consultant, Glaucoma Department, SNECDirector, Clinical Translational Research, SERIHead, Ocular Therapeutics & Drug Delivery Research Group, SERI
“My job is multifaceted. I get to work on projects that I am passionate about and interested in. Every day is exciting to me and not a chore, since I get up every day to do what I most enjoy. I also have the privilege to meet the most interesting people in my work.”
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Assoc Prof Eranga VithanaDirector, Laboratory Translational Research, SERIHead, Ocular Genetics Research Group, SERI
“I am passionate about mentorship and balanced, equitable scientific partnerships between Scientists and Clinicians. I am also passionate about translational/ bench-to-bedside research. I hope to make some significant impacts on these areas.”
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Dr Boey Pui YiHead & Senior Consultant, SNEC Eye Clinic @ BedokSenior Consultant, Glaucoma Department, SNEC
“Being part of the leadership team in SNEC has been a challenging yet fulfilling experience, due in no small part to like-minded female leaders in the team. We work together well, are respectful and kind to each other, and understand one another’s needs. We find ourselves advocating for similar things, such as support for working mothers and work-life balance.“
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Prof Saw Seang MeiCo-head, Myopia Research Group, SERI
Professor of Ophthalmology Research, Eye ACP, Duke-NUS Medical SchoolProfessor of Epidemiology, Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, NUS
Deputy Co-chair, NUS Institutional Review Board
"I like to lead by example, to show the team my passion for research, and provide them with the necessary support, guidance and mentorship. For each individual, I would like to groom and train them to take on larger responsibilities within the team."
Dr Anita ChanHead & Senior Consultant, Ocular Inflammation & Immunology Department, SNEC Clinical Director, Ophthalmic Pathology Department, SNEC
“I feel that it’s important as a HOD to guide and facilitate growth of our staff, just as you would for your own kids. Being a mother helps me in this role the best, as I like looking out for my staff, and hope that I can help them fulfil their potential at work.”
Dr Veluchamy Amutha BarathiHead, Ocular Translational Pre-Clinical Model Research Platform, SERI
“My administration style entails both hands-on and remote management. I have put together an excellent team — they are like the gears of a well-oiled machine. Time to time, I have to oil the process to prevent the gears from overheating. On any given day, to effectively lead my team, I have to assume many roles — leader, lecturer, researcher, mentor, discipline master, and even student.”
Dr Loo Jing LiangHead and Senior Consultant, Neuro-ophthalmology Department, SNEC
“Neuro-ophthalmology has a reputation of being staid and unsexy; I hope to change this misconception in how we teach it. I am working with members of my department to curate interesting and unusual cases we have seen over the past two decades in SNEC, and use them in various fun and engaging formats to reach out to different audiences.”
Clin Assoc Prof Anshu ArundhatiHead & Senior Consultant, SNEC Eye Clinic @ CGHSenior Consultant, Corneal & External Eye Disease Department, SNECProgramme Director, Fellowships, SNEC Clinical Director, Singapore Eye Bank
“Yoga, meditation and mindfulness have played important roles in my life, which has seen a fair share of ups and downs. When things go wrong, rather than focusing on the wrong, focusing on what can be done right has helped me through difficult times. I have always believed in doing my best, and live by the dictum 'whatever happens, happens for good'."
Assoc Prof Wang XiaomengPrincipal Investigator, Centre for Vison Research, Duke-NUS & SERI
“My job focuses on exploring the causes of many blinding eye diseases. It not only provides insights into the disease mechanisms, but also leads to the discovery of new drug targets and diagnosis/prognosis biomarkers. It is exciting to have the opportunity to translate basic scientific discoveries into clinical applications and improving human health."
Prof Gemmy CheungHead & Senior Consultant, Medical Retina Department, SNECHead, Retina Research Group, SERI
“I feel very honoured to be on The Ophthalmologist Power List 2021. It is heartening to see how much women are contributing to our profession. Those in leadership positions can lead by supporting and encouraging women at every level through their career development, as well as by creating opportunities for women to showcase their good work and be recognised."
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Dr Vidhya Venkatraman AnandalakshmiResearch Fellow I, Tissue Engineering & Cell Therapy, SERI
“I’ve always been curious and inquisitive, right from a very young age. And having my curiosity satisfied, no matter how complex or important the problem, made a deep impression on me about research. Growing up in an agrarian society offered me countless opportunities to acquire new information, new understanding, new facts, and new ways to improve our lives."
Dr Deborah TanHead and Consultant, KK Eye Centre, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital
Consultant, Paediatric Ophthalmology & Adult Strabismus Department, SNEC
“It’s of utmost importance that, as female leaders, we do not bow to outdated expectations of what a leader should be or do. Those traditional qualities that we associate with feminine styles of leadership — care, empathy, compassion, the ability to connect and relate — may well be what is needed to shape the future of leadership!"
Dr Lee Mei ChinSenior Research Fellow, Genetics Research Group & Genomics Platform, SERI
“The opportunity for me to participate as one of the lead basic scientists in an international multi-disciplinary glaucoma research team at SERI has been an absolutely enriching experience. It has been a learning journey, being able to make new glaucoma discoveries while working with well-known clinicians, fellow scientists and young people along the way."
Assoc Prof Audrey ChiaHead and Senior Consultant, Paediatric Ophthalmology & Adult Strabismus Department, SNEC
Co-Clinical Director, Myopia Centre, SNEC
Co-head, Myopia Research Group, SERI
“I encourage both girls and boys with the right interest, attitude and aptitude to come and join us in ophthalmology. Traditionally, however, Asian females may be too comfortable with taking the back seat; it would be nice to see more females taking up the challenge of playing a more active role in research and in becoming leaders in their own right."
Clin Assoc Prof Lee Shu YenHead and Senior Consultant, Surgical Retina Department, SNEC
Clinical Director, SNEC Retina Centre
“I do not feel that gender has any impact on the role of a HOD. I run a department in which I am the only female, but that doesn’t make things more challenging for me. We live in a meritocratic society. Talent, ability, commitment and dedication are important for our work — but these traits are not gender-bound."
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Dr Shweta SinghalConsultant, Neuro-ophthalmology Department, SNEC
Clinician Scientist, Neuro-ophthalmology Research Group, SERI
“Being a neuro-ophthalmologist, I hope in the next five to 10 years to have found a cost-effective and widely available solution to at least one significant and irreversible blinding condition of the optic nerve. As it is now, once the patient’s optic nerve is damaged, we have no treatment for him."
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Clin Assoc Prof Ho Ching LinSenior Consultant, Glaucoma Department, SNECDirector, Strategic Development and Philanthropy, Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences Academic Clinical Programme (EYE ACP)
“I hope to inspire and motivate women doctors — and women in general — to do more for themselves and the betterment of others. To have true gender equality, we first have to reshape how women perceive themselves: they must firmly believe and know that they are just as capable and deserving, if not much more so, than men."
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Dr Jacqueline ChuaOptometrist, Primary Eyecare Clinic, SNEC
Clinician Scientist, Ocular Imaging Research Group, SERI
“I am invigorated by my patients. What keeps me going is coming up with solutions that prevent patients from suffering unnecessarily due to late detection. That is ultimately more fulfilling than anything else. Hence, I always appreciate learning new things from cool people and enjoy tackling questions."
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Clin Assoc Prof Anna TanSenior Consultant, Medical Retina Department, SNEC Clinical Director, Low Vision Service, SNEC Co-Head, Ocular Imaging Department, SNEC
“To balance a fulfilling career and personal life, it’s important to take time to prioritise the important things in life and overall life goals. Only then are we able to effectively manage the limited time we have and put wholehearted efforts into achieving our aims. My advice to young women in STEM is to dare to dream big, expect that there will be some adversities, and invest in supportive relationships that will pull you through!"
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Dr Liu Yu-ChiClinician Scientist, Cornea and Refractive Surgery Research Group, SERI Junior Principal Investigator, Tissue Engineering & Cell Therapy Research Group, SERI
“Women now make up 20–30% of all ophthalmologists around the world. There are many outstanding female HODs, ophthalmologists, surgeons, physicians and scientists around me, and I always learn a lot from them about having vision, courage, focus and strategic planning. My dad, who is also a medical doctor, has been telling me since I was a little girl, 'Do not struggle with the fear of making mistakes, and be confident in yourself."
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Senior Consultant, Oculoplastic Department, SNECProgramme Director, SingHealth Ophthalmology Residency Programme, SNEC
“Having been given the role of Programme Director in the SingHealth Ophthalmology Residency Programme, I am also thankful for the opportunity to impart what I have learnt to the junior doctors. I hope to continue expanding my repertoire of clinical work and develop my skills as an educator. This will enable me to guide and mentor the next generation of ophthalmologists."
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“My current research focuses on understanding how impairment in the components of the visual function system impacts functional health in the elderly. This work, which is aligned with the Ministry of Health’s campaign to promote successful ageing, seeks to improve our understanding of the pathobiology of functional ageing. Moreover, these insights have the potential to shape interventions and systems of care, influence programme delivery, and guide policy improvements to enable older Singaporeans to live independently."
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Dr Chan Choi MunSenior Consultant, Medical Retina Department, SNEC Clinical Director, Electroretinography Service, SNEC
“I have always been proud to be associated with SNEC. I chose SNEC when I was starting my ophthalmology training back in the old days when trainees were still called BSTs or ASTs. That’s Basic or Advanced Surgical Trainees, respectively. To be involved in making plans and decisions that impact the future of SNEC is extremely meaningful and rewarding for me, and I hope to be able to contribute meaningfully."
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Assoc Prof Monisha Esther NongpiurClinician Scientist and Junior Principal Investigator, Glaucoma Research Group, SERI
“Changing perceptions can open up immense opportunities for women to progress and excel in scientific and engineering fields. At the workplace, steps that would go a long way to increase the representation of women in the STEM workforce include creating an inclusive environment that does not penalise career breaks, supporting flexible work arrangements that do not jeopardise output rate or performance quality, and providing equal opportunities that are focused on competency."
Dr Yew Woon SiHead, Anaesthesiology Department, SNEC Senior Consultant, Department of Anaesthesiology, SGH
“My sons’ school motto is, ‘The best is yet to be’. I don’t believe I’ve achieved something at this level. Hopefully, if you ask me the same question in a year or two, I’d be able to answer that. I am working towards providing the disadvantaged in society employment within our operating theatres (OT). If we can open up OT — by nature a sterile, exclusive environment — to the disadvantaged, it will set a precedence for them to be allowed to work in many other clinical areas in SNEC or other healthcare institutions. If I succeed in this area, it truly will be the biggest achievement in my life!"
Dr Natalia PorporatoClinical Research Fellow, Glaucoma Research Group, SERI
“I was hooked on Ophthalmology because of all gadgets, devices and images of the eye that my father — also an ophthalmologist — used to show me. I was struck by the interaction between technology and medicine that this field offers. I wanted to figure out the answers through research, and dive deeply into what was next. For me, this really came together at SNEC/SERI, where I can be at the forefront of research, but remain anchored to patients."
Dr Susan JiangResearch Fellow, Ocular Imaging Research Group
“I realised that the more I learnt, the less I knew. I also saw that I needed to find a place where I could learn more. I finally found it after migrating to Singapore and finding employment at SERI. Three years have passed; deep within me, I feel that this is the place where I want to be, where there are people I want to work with, and where I want to settle down as a scientist to further my career."
Dr Rachel ChongConsultant, Glaucoma Department, SNECClinician Scientist, Glaucoma Research Group, SERI
“I enjoy the extremely ‘visual’ nature of our work in every possible sense of the word. The eye is a truly remarkable organ; to have the chance to study glaucoma, a common sight-threatening disease, in great detail has been a privilege. Research is the perfect fit for my extremely curious but slightly OCD tendencies!"
Dr Vandana RamachandranDirector, Research & Academic Affairs, SERI
“As a former scientist, I think we can adapt well in various fields of science; even though there’s always a learning curve that keeps things exciting. Transitioning into eye health has been eye-opening, to say the least! I work among the global leaders in eye research, and it has been fantastic thus far. There is certainly a lot more to learn, but I see it as a huge opportunity."
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