Operational Team

Professor Staffan Kjelleberg

Professor Staffan Kjelleberg

SNBC Director

Staffan is a Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the Nanyang Technological University and is also the Centre Director and Research Director (Microbial Biofilms) of SCELSE. Staffan’s research interests include bacterial biofilm biology, chemically mediated interactions used by bacteria and higher organisms, and harnessing/controlling biofilms for engineering and public health applications. Staffan employs a multidisciplinary approach for advancements in microbial ecology, as well as for the merger of the previously disparate fields of environmental microbiology, eukaryote ecology and environmental engineering. His work on bacterial adaptive responses and biofilm biology has provided insights into the predominant modes of life of bacteria in the environment. Discoveries of interactions at different scales, ranging from within the biofilm, between biofilms and their surrounding environment, to those with higher organisms, have contributed to ecological theory and biofilm control outcomes.

Mr Michel Birnbaum

Mr Michel Birnbaum

Technology Commercialization

Michel is currently Director of Entrepreneurship and Research Translation at NTU, working on technology commercialization via spinoffs in healthcare primarily and strategy. Michel is lecturer for MIT-SMART Academy teaching the course “Lab to Market”. He is co-founder and CEO of Mindsigns Health Inc a software neuroscience platform spun out of NTU. Michel’s career spans operational, advisory and investments internationally. He began his career at General Electric Military Engine Group. Michel has held board positions with a number of technology and healthcare growth companies internationally, operational advisory roles and has managed technology & healthcare IPOs on both European markets and NASDAQ as well as M&A and investments. Formerly, Michel has served as Vice Chairman of the Singapore Venture Capital Association (SVCA) and was a member of the Executive Council of BioSingapore. Michel holds a B.Sc. in Aerospace Engineering from the NYU Tandon School of Engineering (PINY) and attended General Electric’s Advanced Engineering program. Michel was an early graduate of General Electric’s Edison Program. He earned his MBA from the London Business School

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Dr Maria Yung

Dr Maria Yung

SNBC Program Manager

Maria is the program manager for SNBC and assistant director of Research Management & Business Development at SCELSE. She oversees day-to-day activities at SNBC. Maria started her scientific career as a research fellow in 2011 and worked in laboratories at both NUS and NTU examining microbiomes in various settings. Maria then joined the St John’s National Marine Laboratory as a manager in 2016 to oversee the refurbishment of the national facility. She is the co-investigator for two of the projects funded by the MSRDP program in collaboration with SCELSE to examine microbial pathogen fate and transport in the marine environment. She has experience providing technical solutions and building collaborations locally between IHLs and industry and has provided consulting services to local startups. She enjoys working with colleagues across different disciplines in SCELSE. Maria holds a BSc (Hons) and a PhD in Microbiology from the University of New South Wales.

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Ms Smitha Velayil

Ms Smitha Velayil

SCELSE Manager

Smitha’s role at NTU cuts across various centres and job functions including strategy, international partnerships, grant management, and governance of a non-profit organisation. At SCELSE, she manages its seamless integration with Singapore National Biofilm Consortium (SNBC), oversees partnership with National Biofilms Innovation Centre-UK, administers GenomeAsia 100K project, and promotes science planning through the organisation of strategic meetings. She also coordinates the activities of the NTU Integrated Medical, Biological and Environmental Life Sciences (NIMBELS), a strategic platform for life sciences discussion and planning. Smitha holds a Dual Master’s degree in Biotechnology and Business Administration, and a Bachelors (Honours) degree in Biological Sciences with a Minor in Psychology. Prior to joining SCELSE, she has held various roles in clinical research, technology development and sustainable investment research.

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