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Nobel laureate Sydney Brenner, who helped shape Singapore into biomed powerhouse, dies at 92

NOBEL Laureate Sydney Brenner, the man who played a key role in shaping Singapore's biomedical push, died on Friday morning (April 5). He was 92.

The molecular biology pioneer, who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2002, established the roundworm C. elegans as a model for studying developmental biology.

Dr Brenner first visited Singapore in 1983 to advise the Government on what it would take for the Republic to create a biotechnology industry.

He was associated with the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology - Singapore's first biomedical research institute - since its inception in 1985, and saw it grow into a world-class institution.

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In 2000, he joined the second phase of building scientific research and development in Singapore at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star).

For his contributions to the development of the life sciences in Singapore, Dr Brenner received the Distinguished Friends of Singapore award in 2000, and became the first honorary citizen of Singapore in 2003.

He was scientific adviser to the chairman of A*Star and head of its Molecular Engineering Laboratory at the time of his death.

THE STRAITS TIMES