Miranda Yap, Singaporean chemical engineer, Died at 67

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Miranda Yap died 14 October 2015, she was a well-known professor of Chemical and Bio-molecular Engineering at the National University of Singapore, and the Executive Director of the Bio-processing Technology Institute at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research of Singapore.

She was one of Singapore’s top scientists, Dr Miranda Yap, died on Wednesday 14 October, for more than four years after she suffered an aneurysm on the golf course.

Dr Yap, who was awarded the country’s highest science and technology honour in 2009, had since remained bedridden and was largely unresponsive.

Yap has been a lecturer in the Advanced Course in Cell Technology at the University of Minnesota.

She was top of her class and earned her PhD in chemical engineering at the University of Toronto, Canada in 1979; yap had previously received a basic degree in applied chemistry from University of Singapore, with a master’s degree in biochemical engineering at University College London in 1973.

Miranda returned to Singapore in 1982 to join NUS. With a government grant, where she helped to establish the Bio-processing Technology Unit (BTU) in the 1990’s.

Bio-processing Technology Unit (BTU) which was later renamed as Bio-processing Technology Centre (BTC) in 1995 as a National research centre for bio-processing technology with Yap as the Director.

In 2003, the centre was renamed the Bio-processing Technology Institute (BTI) and relocated to the new Biopolis research centre in Singapore.

She published 58 papers in peer-reviewed journals and she also founded two organizations, the Centre for Natural Product Research  now called Merlion Pharmaceuticals and the Bio-pharmaceutical Manufacturing Technology Center (now called A-Bio Pharma).

In February 2006, Yap was named a Foreign Associate to the United States National Academy of Engineering.

Yap election citation noted “her outstanding achievements in education, research and management in the field of mammalian cell culture.

Yap is the only female scientist and second Singaporean to be elected to the academy.
In November 2006, Yap served as Executive Director of A*STAR Graduate Academy (A*GA) focusing on talent management and development in collaboration with the Imperial College London.

Professor Miranda Yap is the founding Director of BTI, which is the pivotal institution in advancing Singapore’s bio-processing research and plays a critical role in Singapore’s success in the expansion of bio-manufacturing industry. Miranda has been instrumental in the nurturing of the BTI’s growth; transforming it from its non existence days as the Bio-processing Technology Unit in National University of Singapore to a renowned international institution today.

Miranda has trained numerous PhD and master students in many areas of biotechnology. Yap’s work in cell culture technology her work has spanned from early work on cellular physiology to recent transcriptome and proteome analysis for cell engineering.

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