Public Release: 

18-year-old Singaporean student to present stem cell research paper at conferences in US and UK

Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore

Most young Singaporean students who will be traveling next week and during July will be vacationing, relaxing and sightseeing.

But not 18-year old Nicholas Tan Xue-Wei, who will soon depart for the U.S. to attend - and present a research paper - at The 2007 World Congress in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Applied Computing (WORLDCOMP'07), June 25 to 28, in Las Vegas.

Before returning home to Singapore, Nicholas will continue to represent the Bioinformatics Institute, one of the 14 research institutes of Singapore's A*STAR (Agency for Science, Technology and Research), by presenting his research paper at the World Congress on Engineering 2007 (WCE 2007), July 2 to 4 in London.

At WCE 2007, Nicholas will be giving a presentation that was nominated for Best Paper Awards competition.

At specified times during each conference program, Nicholas will speak about his research paper, titled, "Towards A Serum-Free Medium: Growth Receptors And Signaling Pathways That Regulate Multipotency In Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells."

He will describe the results of a preliminary screening of human growth factors and molecular pathways that would allow a type of stem cell commonly isolated from bone marrow to be grown in the laboratory under conditions that are safe for clinical trials. When grown under safer conditions, these cells (Mesenchymal Stem Cells) will have many therapeutic implications.

When conference attendees attend his presentation - and read the data that it presents - it will be Nicholas, not the Bioinformatics Institute (BII) scientists, who will be answering the questions.

"Being nominated for the Best Paper Award at the World Congress on Engineering 2007, in competition with established researchers and Ph.D. students, is a rare and commendable achievement for an 18-year-old and a good testimonial of the work Nicholas carried out at BII," said his mentor, Dr. Vivek Tanavde, a research scientist at BII.

Nicholas came to BII last October during a one-month research attachment, a result of his selection as one of the 100 recipients of the 2006 A*STAR Junior College Science Award.

Despite a hectic training schedule with Singapore's National Swimming Squad and rigorous coursework at the Raffles Junior College, he excelled at using computer software to analyze data from the laboratory of biologists to come up with predictions of biological events. The predictions made in this research study will be useful for the development of serum-free culture media, which is a safer and a better alternative to current methods.

Commenting on Nicholas' success, BII research scientist Dr. Tanavde said "Nicholas was an enthusiastic student who worked with me for a month. Unlike most other students, after finishing his project, Nicholas diligently collated his findings to communicate the results to two international conferences. I wish Nicholas all the best in his scientific endeavour."


For more information please contact:

In Singapore:
Ms. Lina Tan
Senior Corporate Affairs Officer
Bioinformatics Institute of A*STAR, Singapore
Tel: +65 6478 8352
Mobile: +65 9791 4785
Fax: +65 6478 9048

About Bioinformatics Institute

The Bioinformatics Institute (BII) is a member of the Agency for Science and Technology Research's (A*STAR) Biomedical Sciences Institutes. Funded by the Biomedical Research Council (BMRC) of A*STAR, BII was set up in July 2001 as part of the national initiative to foster and advance biomedical research and human capital for a vibrant knowledge-based Singapore. With a multi-disciplinary focus and collaborative outlook, BII recognises the need for depth and breadth in all its activities for building a thriving world-class biomedical research, graduate training and development hub in Singapore. In addition, BII is proactively involved in building a national resource centre in bioinformatics to meet the evolving needs of the scientific community in Singapore.

For more information on the BII's key research areas, please visit


The 2007 World Congress in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Applied Computing (WORLDCOMP'07) comprised of 25 major conferences. The 2007 International Conference on Bioinformatics & Computational Biology is one of the premier conferences in WORLDCOMP'07 that present advances in their respective fields. All conferences will be held simultaneously from 25th to 28th June 2007 in Las Vegas, USA. For more information on WORLDCOMP'07 conferences, please visit

About WCE 2007

The World Congress on Engineering 2007 (WCE 2007) is organized by the International Association of Engineers (IAENG), a non-profit international association for the engineers and the computer scientists. WCE 2007 comprised of 15 major conferences and The 2007 International Conference of Systems Biology and Bioengineering is one of the conferences, which serves a good platform for like-minded researchers to meet and exchange idea. All conferences will be held simultaneously from 2nd to 4th July 2007 in London, UK. For more information on WCE 2007 conferences, please visit

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