Microbiology in Singapore had its origin in the investigation and control of infectious diseases of humans and animals. Both veterinary microbiology and medical microbiology played a significant role in the evolution of the science of microbiology locally.
The formation of the Singapore Society for Microbiology (SSM) in 1972 provided an impetus to the development of microbiology in Singapore*. The society was inaugurated by the founder, A/P Chan Yow Cheong at the college of medicine building (now Ministry of Health building).
The President of the 1st Council was the then head of department of Bacteriology, University of Singapore, Prof. Lim Kok Ann and A/P Chan Yow Cheong was the Secretary with the Mr J.J Periera the Treasurer and other council or active participating members include Mr Lim Ek Wang, Dr Jimmy Sng, Dr Goh Kee Tai, Dr Chan Kai Lok, Dr Chua Sin Bin, Dr Ho Hong Fatt, Dr Tham Sai Keong, Dr May Lim, Dr Moses Yu, Dr Ling Ai Ee, Dr Mavis Yeo , Dr Selena Lam and others.
Thus, the first executive committee of SSM comprised scientists from NUS and Nanyang University, Malayan Breweries from the industry and the Primary Production Department of the Ministry of National Development.
In 1997, the name of the society was changed from Singapore Society for Microbiology (SSM) to the Singapore Society for Microbiology and Biotechnology (SSMB). This was the logical direction for the society as it moves towards the 21st century and it signals the society’s commitment to expand its agenda to encompass the biotechnology.
[* Source: The origin and development of microbiology in Singapore by Chan Yow Cheong (extracted from Jan-Mar 1997 issue of Singapore Microbiologist)]