Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory

Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory (TLL) was established in August 2002 and as a Singapore Non Profit Philanthropic Research Organisation focusing primarily on understanding the cellular mechanisms that underlie the development and physiology of plants, fungi and animals which provides foundation for biotechnology innovation.

Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory
EstablishedAugust 2002
1, Research Link, National University of Singapore
Singapore 117604
AffiliationsNUS, NTU

It is affiliated with the National University of Singapore and the Nanyang Technological University and is located within the campus of the National University of Singapore.

TLL has 230 researchers from about 20 different nationalities to engage in biomolecular science research and applications so as to benefit people in Asia and beyond. The mission of TLL is to harness the power of the life sciences and to improve lives through research excellence, economic relevance as well as providing public service.[1]


Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory (TLL) is a beneficiary of Temasek Trust which oversees the initial endowment of S$500 million by Temasek[2] to support corporate social responsibility philanthropic efforts in developing and delivering community programmes.

Board of Directors

  • Mr Teo Ming Kian, Chairman
    • Chairman, MediaCorp Pte Ltd
  • Prof Chua Nam Hai, Deputy Chairman
    • Andrew W Mellon Professor and Head of the Laboratory of Plant Molecular Biology, Rockefeller University
    • Chairman, Research Strategy Committee, TLL
  • Prof Chan Soh Ha, Executive Director
    • Emeritus Professor, Department of Microbiology, National University of Singapore
    • Member, Research Strategy Committee, TLL
  • Prof Chong Chi Tat
    • University Professor, Department of Mathematics, National University of Singapore
  • Mr Chua Phuay Hee
    • Retired Executive Director, Wilmar International Limited
  • Mr Richard Chu Dee
    • Chief Executive Officer, Unilab Biosciences Corporation Hong Kong Limited
  • Prof Soo Khee Chee
    • Director, National Cancer Centre
  • Prof James Tam
    • Professor, Drug Discovery and Herbalomics Laboratory, School of Biological Science, Nanyang Technological University
  • Mr Tan Suan Swee
    • Managing Director – Investment, Temasek International Pte. Ltd

Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory and Temasek

Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory (TLL) was founded in 2002 and funded by Temasek Trust, the philanthropic arm of Temasek. 

Academic Programmes

TLL offers various academic programmes at the tertiary level and is affiliated with the National University of Singapore and the Nanyang Technological University.

  1. PhD/Graduate Programme[3]

Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory (TLL) offers an intensive PhD programme in Singapore that fosters productive scientific interactions between students, postdoctoral fellows, and PIs. Past candidates have had their work published in prestigious research journals and travelled widely to present their findings at international conferences. 

2. Internship Programmes[4]

Research Attachment Programme (REAP)

The Research Attachment Programme (REAP) is jointly organised by the Ministry of Education (MOE), National University of Singapore (NUS) and TLL to groom local life sciences research talents.

The eight-week programme is designed for first-year Biology and Chemistry students in local junior colleges (JCs) to encourage these budding young science students to pursue a career in life sciences in future by stimulating their interest with hands-on training in research environment and interactions with professional scientists.

Undergraduate Programme (UTP)[5]

The Undergraduate Programme (UTP) promotes scientific exchange and research collaboration between TLL and the top-tier China and India universities, where final year undergraduates are given the opportunity to execute research projects at TLL for 3 to 4 months.

Graduate Attachment Programme (GAP)[6]

The Graduate Attachment Programme (GAP), which lasts for 3 to 6 months, exposes Singaporeans and Singapore Permanent Resident (PR) fresh graduates to the R&D environment to encourage them to pursue a career in research.

Other Training

TLL also participates in the attachment programmes offered by Nanyang Polytechnic, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Republic Polytechnic,Singapore Polytechnic, and Temasek Polytechnic.


Since its inception, TLL has made over 60 inventions and published over 730 papers in peer-reviewed journals, of which more than 25 percent are in high impact research journals like Nature. Headed by Emeritus Professor Chan Soh Ha, the research institute focuses on creating an environment which can attract the brightest young minds worldwide, support their research and challenge them.[7]

In 2011, TLL published 59 papers in peer-reviewed journals and made five discoveries including the specific Enterovirus 711 monoclonal antibodies which can be further developed as potential therapeutics.[8]

In 2012, TLL published 85 papers in peer-reviewed journals and made 11 discoveries, out of which five have been licensed.[9]

Research overview

At Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory (TLL), 230 scientists from about 20 countries undertake basic and applied research in cellular,molecular, and genetic biology.

The research efforts aim to address both the immediate and long-term needs of the life sciences industry with a particular focus on cell biology, developmental biology, genomes structural biology and molecular pathogenesis.

Notable research methodology includes the adaptation of a range of molecular and cell biology approaches and the use of computational data mining to understand the cellular mechanisms that underlie the development and physiology of plants, fungi and animals.[10]

One third of TLL’s research programmes is directed at practical research such as improving non-food biofuel sources and developing rapid diagnostic test kits, therapeutics and vaccines for emerging infectious diseases such as the H5N1 bird flu virus.[11]

Under the PhD/Graduate Programme, TLL supervised 90 PhD candidates with their thesis research being carried out in various laboratories within TLL.


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