Melissa Fullwood

According to Melissa Jane Fullwood, the path of a researcher is one of long hours, stiff competition and criticism. Compounding the situation is the notion that scientific research is typically a man’s domain — making it difficult for women to establish themselves. “It can be quite nasty sometimes. I have had people tell me things like: ‘Oh it’s easier for you to get this job or award because you are a Singaporean woman’,” says Fullwood.

All that negativity has never deterred Fullwood, who is today a junior principal investigator at the Cancer Science Institute and the Institute for Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB), as well as an associate professor at Nanyang Technological University’s School of Biological Sciences. Her current research focus is on blood and gastric cancers.

Fullwood also has many awards to her name, with the most recent being the A*STAR/SNAS Young Scientist Award in 2014. “You just have to believe that what you are doing is something that will pay off in the end,” she says. “We do research for our children’s children.”