In the Year of Celebrating SG Women, we present stories which showcase and celebrate women’s multi-faceted contributions and progress at SNEC and SERI.
Join us to honour and acknowledge our team of amazing women who have made impact in the field of Ophthalmology, inspiring those around them with their brand of ethos in life.
Dr Vandana RamachandranDirector, Research & Academic Affairs, SERI
What do you enjoy about your current role?I find my role to be very exciting and dynamic. I get to work closely with the Executive Director of SERI to ensure the overall stewardship of research, including setting a strategic vision, ensuring fiscal viability, and forming strategic partnerships with various organisations for research as well as joint PhD programmes.
What was it like transitioning into eye health in your career journey?When I joined A*STAR after a post-doc in Malaria, it was a transition to Stem Cells, Genetic Diseases, and Skin Biology. 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.
What are some of your biggest achievements to date?Being passionate about the career development of our post-docs, I had the opportunity to start a career-development webinar series at SERI, in collaboration with Duke-NUS; it has been well-received. In addition, I am the co-founder of Singapore Women in Science (SgWIS), and have been actively promoting female participation in science through networking events with women leaders in STEM, and hosting talks by these professionals. We act as a support group, facilitating collaborations, mentorship and promoting women in STEM.
SgWIS hosted the 2019 Gender Summit in Singapore, in partnership with the rest of the Women in Science organisations — it was truly a wonderful opportunity to get all the groups together and address the issues of gender in research and innovation. The summit took place only five months into my current role, but I had the full support of my bosses, Prof Aung Tin and Prof Wong Tien Yin, both of whom made me feel that SERI is all for the advancement of its female staff. It’s always good to have male champions in leadership positions who support such causes.
What message do you have for young girls contemplating a career in STEM?For those interested in a career in STEM, I would say, “Just go for it; the sky’s the limit!” I would also like to quote Sheryl Sandberg, “In the future there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.”
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Women of Vision series.
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