15 Apr 2021
JOINT STRATEGIC RECRUITMENT OF DR KEVIN WHITE BY GIS AND NUS
White’s appointment is part of GIS’ and NUS Medicine’s drive to recruit stellar
scientific and industry talent into Singapore.
SINGAPORE – The Agency
for Science, Technology and Research’s (A*STAR) Genome Institute of Singapore
(GIS) and the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore
(NUS Medicine) are pleased to announce the joint strategic recruitment of Dr
Kevin White. At GIS, Dr White will come on board as Programme Director of
Nucleic Acid Therapeutics (NAT), and Senior Group Leader, while at NUS Medicine,
he will be Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Precision Medicine
Translational Research Programme (TRP).
White most recently served in roles as President and Chief Scientific Officer
at Tempus, a multi-billion dollar precision medicine company in the US. He helped
to found and build the company from scratch, overseeing the work of several
hundred scientists who built genomic testing and predictive algorithms to treat
cancer patients and other disorders.
Tempus, Dr White was the James and Karen Frank Family Professor of Human
Genetics and Medicine at the University of Chicago, where he was also the
Founding Director of the Institute for Genomics and Systems Biology. He led the
Institute from 2006 to 2016, during which he recruited a new faculty while
raising more than US$150 million to advance precision medicine research.
research helped to pioneer the fields of functional genomics and systems
biology in the late 1990s, combining the generation and analysis of large-scale
biological data-sets to generate insights into complex biological systems.
Since the mid-2000s, he has focused his efforts on developing new approaches
for accelerating precision medicine through the analysis of large-scale omics
and clinical data.
recognitions for innovation include the Keck Biomedical Investigator Award, the
Beckman Young Investigator award, and the Crain’s Business ‘40 Under 40’ list.
He has served on the scientific boards of a wide range of start-up biotech
companies and foundations. In addition to Tempus, he is a founder of Provaxus
and HealthSeq (now Tempus Singapore). He has also held scientific advisory
board positions at institutions that include Harvard University, Yale
University, Northwestern University, and the National Cancer Institute.
At GIS, Dr
White will play a leadership role in orchestrating a multi-institutional
programme in NAT involving A*STAR and other ecosystem partners. He will direct
the NAT programme with a focus on translating NAT assets for clinical use. He will be responsible for coordinating
programmes with clear outcome-based milestones thataddress key challenges faced
by the industry and medical community in implementing nucleic acid based
therapeutics. Dr White will grow the NAT community in Singapore to build an
end-to-end value chain involving research scientists, medical practitioners,
industry partners, and regulatory stakeholders with the aim to create a vibrant
innovation ecosystem for NAT development in Singapore and the region. At NUS
Medicine, Dr White will lead a discovery programme in understanding the
function of genetic variation in disease and biology.
said, “We are at an exciting time in the evolution of precision medicine. We
are experiencing a rapid expansion of diagnostic and predictive analytic
capabilities for identifying patient-specific therapeutic targets, but those
capabilities are outpacing our ability to develop personalized therapeutics.”
He continued, “There is a growing need for low-cost, rapidly deployable, and
personalizable platforms for therapeutic development, and to advance this field
the NAT programme will be focused on translating cutting-edge RNA and DNA based
approaches into therapies and vaccines, using both viral and non-viral delivery
Tan, Executive Director of GIS, said, “Dr White will bring a wealth of industry
and scientific expertise, particularly in the conduct of early to mid-stage
biotechnology companies. He will establish a world-class translational engine
for NAT by working with the best that Singapore science has to offer, thereby
positioning Singapore as a thought-leader for NAT in Asia and the world.”
Medicine, Dr White’s recruitment is a timely move for Singapore as it advances further into precision
medicine, with customisation of healthcare tailored to individual patients or
subgroups of patients, an area that has been called the future of healthcare
and is supported by Singapore’s Ministry of Health.
Yap Seng, Dean of NUS Medicine, said, “Dr White is a fitting and valuable
addition to the School. His remarkable expertise in functional genomics and
precision medicine alongside his wide entrepreneurial and industry experience will
position the School as a thought leader
in precision medicine in Asia and beyond. Not only will he help foster
multidisciplinary collaborations between researchers in the medical sciences
and computing and engineering sciences, he will also provide valuable
mentorship to younger researchers, clinician scientists and graduate students
who work in this field, and help them to develop their talents and expertise.”
– END –