Dr LAI Ghee Hwee
Research Fellow

Dr Lai Ghee Hwee works in SCELSE as a research fellow under Prof. Kjelleberg, to establish multi-species biofilm tracking capabilities at SCELSE in a joint SCELSE-UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) bioengineering collaboration platform. A biophysicist by training, he had graduated from Caltech (BSc, Applied Physics) in 2001 and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (PhD, 2011). Ghee Hwee was a research associate at UCLA (2010-2011), before joining A*STAR, where he worked in both the Science and Engineering (Data Storage Institute) and the Biomedical (p53 Laboratory) institutes. For the past year, wanting a more proactive approach to bring science and tech empowerment into everyday living, he joined A*STAR’s commercialisation entity, ETPL. He has learnt a lot as a manager in MedTech commercialisation, and believes SCELSE provides an opportunity for solid science with engaging outreach foremost to the public, and to industry.
Ghee Hwee’s research interests centre around converging physics and computation with biology and chemistry to study self-assembly and emergent behaviour in cell biology and microbiology, through microscopy tracking and small-angle X-ray scattering for different length scale dynamics. Other than biofilm tracking, he has studied how arginine-rich cell-penetrating and antimicrobial peptides that induce specific membrane curvature to punch holes through cell membranes. Here he discovered the critical apoptotic permeabilisation at the mitochondrial membranes by BCL2 family proteins is also governed by the same protein-induced curvature principles. He hopes his work in SCELSE will allow the centre to play a pivotal role in advising the ministries on infection control, and to discover ways to eliminate hospital-acquired infections without encouraging ‘superbugs'.”