Singaporean Scientist Wins ASEAN Award For Rice Research

Dr. Yin Zhongcao has received the Outstanding Rice Scientist of Singapore Award at the ASEAN Rice Science and Technology Ambassadors Awards held in the Philippines.

AsianScientist (Aug. 16, 2017) – Dr. Yin Zhongchao, a Senior Principal Investigator at the Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory (TLL), Singapore, has been conferred the Outstanding Rice Scientist of Singapore award at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Rice Science and Technology Ambassadors Award held at the Bureau of Soils and Water Management Auditorium in Quezon City, Philippines.

In conjunction with ASEAN’s 50th Founding Anniversary, the award highlights the key role agriculture and rice plays in the ASEAN economy and culture as well as the increasing importance of scientific research towards ensuring food and economic security in the region.

Yin and his team have, over the years, isolated various specific resistance genes leading to the generation of rice lines that have broad-spectrum and durable resistance to many strains of Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae, a bacterium which can cause significant devastation in rice fields.

They have also developed new and improved rice varieties using marker-assisted selection to breed and develop rice varieties that have many important agronomic traits, leading to increased yields and resilience to biotic and abiotic stresses. Their research has appeared in many scientific journals and is widely cited by the scientific community.

Yin’s work extends beyond the lab where he has been active in sharing knowledge and building capability with researchers from various ASEAN countries in the area of rice research. His collaborators include scientists from China, Indonesia, Laos, the United States. He also works closely with the International Rice Research Institute which has facilities located across the world.

Cooperating with the Syiah Kuala University on the development of rice lines that are suitable for cultivation in Aceh, Indonesia, Yin has contributed towards the rebuilding of communities in Aceh after the 2004 Tsunami. More recently, Yin’s efforts have also contributed towards the deposition of Singaporean rice varieties at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a backup secure seed facility to ensure security and availability of seeds to future generations to overcome the challenges of climate change and population growth.

“I would like to congratulate Yin for his outstanding work and for the recognition he has received,” said Mr. Peter Chia, Chief Executive Officer of TLL. “I hope this would serve as an example to inspire more scientists in pursuing breakthrough science, and beyond that achieve impact to communities. We look forward to more collaborative opportunities to work with our partners in ASEAN to meet the growing aspirations of our region.”

Yin’s research was the subject of an entry that won first place in the youth category at the 2017 Asian Scientist Writing Prize.


Source: Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory; Photo: Shutterstock.
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