Dr. Bruno Reversade is the inaugural winner of the A*STAR Investigatorship Award, and leads a multi–national team in human embryology and genetics research at the Institute of Medical Biology. A Branco Weiss Fellow, Dr. Reversade chose to be based in Singapore over Europe, Japan and America.
Initiating breakthrough research
He points to Singapore’s ever–changing environment and adaptable mentality. “Things here are unusually flexible, and move at a significant pace compared to France, where there’s a feeling of inertia in Science.” Prior to relocating here, Dr. Reversade conducted his research in both Europe and the United States. Dr. Reversade also cites the range of talents and resources available as excellent reasons for him to be here. “The funding is generous and allows me the freedom to pursue my research. I fully intend to live up to Singapore’s expectations while at A*STAR,” he says. “Besides,” he adds with a certain sense of humor, “why do you want to go anywhere else? Only in Singapore is the temperature as hot as the action.”
Dr. Reversade’s research has an application in regenerative medicine. Because the investigations involve the natural cloning effect seen in identical twinning, he also hopes to create an impact on the public perception of cloning, much like the way In–Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) has now found general acceptance. The 36–year–old’s favourite thing about his job is its uniqueness. “I’m doing what no one’s ever done before. We get to test our own ideas, and in the end, I can make a lasting impact towards human knowledge. It’s a privilege – scientists are artists.” One of his objectives of being here is to pass on his drive for research in order to build up Singapore’s human capital in the scientific arena. Singapore is heavily invested in the biomedical sciences.
A collaborative working environment
The Reversade Lab (www.reversade.com) is situated in Biopolis, a biomedical science Research & Development hub featuring world–class facilities. The complex integrates private and public–sector research institutions for optimal collaborative opportunities. “Collaboration is encouraged, and it is as straightforward as simply walking over to the next lab for a discussion.”
The scientist’s life revolves very much around his work. “I wish I could tell you I’m out partying every night, but that’s not the case.” He smiles when asked about what he does during his free time. “I can be at the lab seven days a week, sometimes till past midnight, because we deal with live animals.” Dr. Reversade’s work also frequently leads him out of Singapore, hot on the trail of unusual twinning incidences or rare medical cases, which he trawls the news for. His office wall is plastered with relevant articles and pictures.
Life outside the lab
When not looking after frogs, fish and mice at the lab, Dr. Reversade has his own two children to tend to. His daughter is 4 years old and attends a local preschool. “She speaks Mandarin,” Dr. Reversade marvels. “It instills a sense of tremendous pride in me, for my child has already outperformed my abilities to learn another language. This alone justifies all our efforts, lah.” His 2–year–old son has an even stronger local connection – he was born here. Dr. Reversade’s wife works in International Relations at the Singapore Art Museum, a position which helped clinch his move to Singapore. “She has her own career to nurture, so her being able to blossom in Asia was a major consideration in my accepting this endeavour,” Dr. Reversade notes.
Dr. Reversade is comfortable with life in Singapore, and has even developed an acquired taste for durians. He likes them “yellow–yellow” . Home is in the Bukit Timah area. His Vespa scooter gets him to work in five minutes, and also does the duty of bringing his wife to the MRT station two minutes away, and the kids to childcare across the road.
When he’s not taking the children to the zoo or the botanical gardens, he may be found at the Ghim Moh Market. He insists, “You won’t catch me in a shopping mall!”
Article last updated in 2010