DId my undergraduate at the National University of Singapore and thereafter my PhD at the University of Oxford
Bachelor in Life Sciences; PhD in Zoology; Grade 8 Piano music
My uncle’s fruit store as a seller and National University of Singapore as a Teaching Assistant
Postdoctoral Researcher and College lecturer in innovative teaching and on clouded leopards
University of Oxford
Favourite thing to do in my job Create fun games and videos that teach animal behaviour and conservation biology!
I am a conservation biologist studying the Malaysian clouded leopard and I used to watch chickens and flies mate for my PhD.
I was born in Singapore and have spent the past 8 years in the UK, Oxford. My favourite hobby is dance, mainly the latin style, for example Samba and Paso Doble (Bull fight dance). Dance is also a mean for me to communicate the research that scientists do, you can watch some of them by clicking on the links below.
A video on same-sex behaviour in animals
Winner of Dance you PhD 2013 by Science:
Winner of Evolution 2012 Video Contest by NESCent (National Evolution Synthesis Center): https://vimeo.com/44808911
Winner of Dance your PhD 2012 (Biology category) by Science: http://vimeo.com/30211782
From the exciting sex lives of the chicken and fruit flies to the elusive behaviour of the forest clouded leopard and creative game design!
During my PhD (after undergraduate), I looked at how relatedness (e.g. brother-brother relationship) can affect the sexual interactions in a group of chickens and fruit flies. It was an exciting experience, watching animals do it while I record it as data.
Thereafter, I joined the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit which does research onto the wild cats and dogs of the forest. I am currently looking at the behaviour of the clouded leopards and how it affected by environmental factors like deforestation and human activity. I also design educational boardgames to teach biology and see how students react to them. I have a game where students are male chickens deciding which females to choose to mate with and another game where students have to move through forest to collect data on the clouded leopard.
My Typical Day
Accomplish work as efficiently as a superhero so that I have more time to sleep :P
Morning yoga, then superhero duties like playing games with students and research work into saving the clouded leopards. In between work time, I do a 5-10 min workout, the intense workout is better than coffee. After 7pm, I go for dance, or watch a film or hang out with friends. At 10pm, my battery is flat and its time for a superhero recharge.
When in the forest in Malaysia, we trek from 7am to 7pm, can be quite tough and our aim is to get to the cameras installed in the forest to collect data on clouded leopards. Another of our goal is not get into trouble with the wasps, snakes and poisonous plants.
What I'd do with the money
Create and distribute a game about conservation for kids and adults!
If I win this competition, first I would be just be over the moon! When I finally get back on the ground, I would be inventing a new fun game about saving the world’s wildlife. Players can be kids, their parents or anyone up for some superhero fun. They cooperate and power up to protect the forests and wildlife across the world before its too late! Of course, this won’t be just any other game, it would be based on real work that the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit does and we would have stories from the field (like my snake bite). The decisions players make will determine their fate! Here’s a teaser picture of the game.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Crazily enthusiastically quirky
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Chase after chickens
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
The animals, love them
Were you ever in trouble at school?
I was a good kid but occasionally the cat (clouded leopard) ate my homework
If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?
Teacher or game designer or professional dancer
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Disney! Though that’s not really a singer or band
What's your favourite food?
Mushrooms, I love the texture
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Climb trees and walk across them like an ape. I actually had a phobic of heights
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
Oh! First, I’d wish that we could love our forests more and take care of them. Second, I’d wish that animals and plants and humans could understand one another better (maybe through some form of telepathy. Third, I’d wish the first and second wishes can never be undone (just in case some other person had three wishes) haha
Tell us a joke.
Once, my housemate came in and showed me a news article titled ‘999 crew puts out fire’. I got furious and exclaimed ‘That’s where all our taxes go to, nine hundred and ninety-nine firefighter to put out a small fire?!’