President’s Message​

I am honoured and humbled by the opportunity to serve as the President of the Singapore Society for Microbiology and Biotechnology. Established in 1972, the society received strong support from members of the academia as well as industry to promote research and development in the field of microbiology and biotechnology. With the rapid changes in research landscape, it is crucial that fellow microbiologists and biotechnologists keep abreast of developments in the field. We hope to enhance the society as a networking platform to strengthen the exchange and sharing of microbiological knowledge. The society also endeavours to do a part for the advancement of microbiology and biotechnology through community engagement and education. Outreach efforts are focused to nurture the next generation of microbiologists and biotechnologists.  As we live with the new norm that the COVID-19 pandemic brings along, I sincerely hope that everyone will stay safe and continue to render support to SSMB so that we can work together to bring the Singapore Microbiology and Biotechnology scene to greater heights.

Associate Professor Justin Chu
President of SSMB

A Brief History Of The Society

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)] 

Description of SSMB Logo and The Constitutions Of The Society​

Microbiology encompasses many fields such as bacteriology, mycology, virology, protozoology, immunology and molecular biology. The petri dish in the SSMB logo (outermost ring) is used to represent microbiology, as it is a common apparatus used in all fields of microbiology.

The second ring of dsDNA depicting cell and molecular biology forms the link between microbiology and the developing field of biotechnology.

Biotechnology is said to have commenced with the cutting and splicing of DNA by Cohen and Boyer, which permitted the first gene cloning in 1973. Hence, the use of a plasmid with a foreign gene as the third ring serves to represent biotechnology in the logo.

The horizontal lines which form the background for the three concentric rings represents gene amplification by PCR, a vital technique in microbiology and biotechnology, The abbreviation of SSMB for the Singapore Society for Microbiology and Biotechnology is written horizontally to lessen the monotony of the ring design.