NUS Alumni COVID-19 Heroes

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Shout-out to all NUS Alumni COVID-19 heroes!

COVID-19 has disrupted our world in a myriad of ways, yet the NUS spirit of giving powers through our alumni community. While some are working tirelessly at the frontlines, others have found different ways to step up and serve the community.

Kudos to fellow alumni who make us so proud with their selfless contributions
in the fight against COVID-19.

If you know of an alumnus who deserves to join our list, please write in to oarconnect@nus.edu.sg.

Thank you to all our alumni heroes!


Engineering Good, a Singapore-based non-profit organisation led by NUS Engineering alumnus Johann Annuar, started an initiative to fix old laptops for students from low-income households who may not have access to working laptops for their Home-Based Learning. Read more here and here


Tuesday, 12 May 2020, was International Nurses Day – a big thank you to all our alumni from the NUS Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies who have shown tremendous commitment and dedication to safeguarding Singapore from COVID-19! alumnus and nurse Priscilla Chen, who works at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases, shares her thoughts on working on the frontlines and the support she and her fellow nurses have received from the public. Read more here.


NUS Business School alumnus Jocelyn Chng’s company, Chef in Box, is partnering with #OpsRoofUp to provide meals for those who are on Stay Home Notices or Leaves of Absence but are not able to afford food delivery. They also take orders for those who wish to sponsor a meal package for someone else on SHN or LOA. Read more here


Upon seeing the rise in the number of foreign workers contracting COVID-19 and the subsequent urgent call for more interpreters and translators, NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine alumnus Sudesna Roy Chowdhury worked overnight with her family to build an online translation portal for the medical teams. Read more here.

For her website for COVID-19 related translations (Bengali), please click here


Dr Chua Ying Xian, a family physician at Pioneer Polyclinic and alumnus of NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, has been volunteering at a mega dorm shortly after the first COVID-19 dorm clusters were discovered. When he is not at the dormitories, Dr Chua continues to work at the polyclinic, managing patients with COVID-19 symptoms. Read more here.


During the circuit breaker, many journalists were on the frontlines, helping to deliver news about the COVID-19 situation to those of us who were at home. NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences alumnus Pearl Forss was at the dormitories filming One Of Us, a documentary on the living conditions of migrant workers and how COVID-19 has impacted their lives. Watch the documentary here.


Also on the frontlines are NUS alumni who are working as news reporters, covering important COVID-19 daily updates and changes in policies during the pandemic. To deliver accurate reports on what is happening in our communities, these journalists often have to travel to higher-risk areas such as hospitals and cluster sites. Click here to read about the experiences of Yale-NUS College alumni Timothy Goh, Justin Ong, and Jane Zhang, who are contributing to the fight against COVID-19 by writing about it.


Project Stable Staples, an initiative started by NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences alumnus David Hoe, has currently raised $69,000 to buy and distribute supermarket vouchers for families whose income has been adversely affected by COVID-19. This initiative is a collaboration with Bringing Love to Every Single Soul (BLESS), a non-profit organisation founded by fellow Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences alumnus Francesca Wah. Read more here


SGDormBot, a multilingual artificial intelligence-powered chatbot developed by the National University Health System (NUHS) and local healthtech startup Bot MD, is now used in six NUHS-managed dormitories in Singapore. The chatbot, which reminds and allows migrant workers to log their vital signs daily, sends doctors an instant SMS alert whenever there are abnormal vital signs reported, enabling them to intervene quickly. NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine alumnus Dr Jen Wei Ying is one of the doctors who worked on the chatbot. Read more here.


Pasar Glamour co-founders - NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences alumnus Janice Koh, NUS School of Design and Environment alumnus Pam Oei, and fellow actress Petrina Kow - managed to raise $100,000 within 3 days for the Pasar Glamour Art Aid – to help freelancers in the performing arts cope with job and income losses due to COVID-19. Read more here.


You have probably seen her viral comic on ‘How Coronaviruses Spread’ on your social media pages at some point – artist and Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences alumnus Kow Weiman has been contributing to the COVID-19 fight by creating educational comics to do with COVID-19. These include comics on hand washing and hand sanitisers, and she has plans to create a set of comics on parenting during the crisis. Visit her page here


NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine alumnus Dr Jade Kua – who is at the frontline of the pandemic – recently blogged about being socially responsible in order to ease the burden on our healthcare system. Read more here


KampungKakis is a ground-up initiative, co-founded by NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences alumnus Michelle Lau, to support the elderly, low-income families, and vulnerable residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through their initiative, volunteer kakis are paired with kakis-in-need in a buddy system – this limits the number of people that the more vulnerable residents are exposed to. Visit their site here


Done in collaboration with Gov.sg, NUS School of Design and Environment alumnus and artist Lee Xin Li has created an illustration depicting life during the Circuit Breaker. The illustration also highlights the various ongoing efforts by our everyday heroes who are working hard to keep Singapore going despite COVID-19. View the illustration here


Biolidics – a Singapore-based medtech company – has received approval from the relevant authorities to distribute and sell its COVID-19 rapid test kits in the United States. The company was co-founded by Prof Lim Chwee Teck, Director of IHealthtech NUS, and their Interim Chief Executive is Dr Leong Man Chun. Read more here.

 
Siege Advanced Manufacturing, led by NUS Engineering alumni Loh Chi Jie and Daphne Ting, has converted a majority of their 3D printing capacity to producing face shields for frontline workers. They are also donating 40,000 3D-printed ear savers, which pull tension caused by wearing face masks away from the back of the ears, to local beneficiaries. Read more here

If you know of any local beneficiaries that may need the ear savers, please write in to info@siegeadvancedmanufacturing.com  


A study in Singapore has found that COVID-19 patients could have an early immune system response that could cause respiratory distress – a finding that could help research into existing or new drugs that could help prevent harmful immune reactions that may worsen the disease. The team that conducted the study includes NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine alumnus Assoc Prof Jenny Low and Duke-NUS Medical School alumnus Dr Eugenia Ong. Read more here.


One of the many healthcare professionals fighting COVID-19 is Assoc Prof Ong Biauw Chi, Chairman of Sengkang General Hospital’s Medical Board. She was spotted leading by example by coaching swabbers and tending to migrant workers on the frontlines. Read more here.



Duke-NUS Medical School and US-based Arcturus Therapeutics are now conducting pre-clinical studies on a COVID-19 vaccine candidate they have developed. Should it be seen to be safe in animals and if studies suggest that it will be safe in humans, clinical trials could begin as soon as August. Working on the vaccine is Prof Ooi Eng Eong, who completed his Ph.D. in Molecular Epidemiology at NUS and who is a professor at Duke-NUS Medical School. Read more here

In mid-June, Singapore will begin human clinical trials for a potential treatment for COVID-19. The six-week trial is developed by Singapore-based biotechnology company Tychan, which was co-founded by Prof Ooi Eng Eong. The drug in question could potentially be used to prevent infections as well. Read more here.


Carousell has launched ‘COVID-19 Free Ads for Charity’, an advertising programme that will see $2 million of advertising inventory on its site given to relevant non-profit organisations or charities that are helping communities affected by COVID-19. These organisations will be able to advertise their causes on Carousell’s platform. Carousell’s co-founders, Quek Siu Rui, Lucas Ngoo, and Marcus Tan, are Outstanding Young Alumni Award winners. Read more here.


To help businesses comply with safety measures post-Circuit Breaker, StaffAny, a start-up founded by alumni Janson Seah, Eugene Ng, Jeremy Hon, and Lee Kaiyi, has launched a new mobile app called CICO (Clock-in, Clock-out), which has been integrated with SafeEntry’s workflow. StaffAny is making CICO free for local businesses for the rest of 2020. One of their clients is Foreword Coffee Roasters, which was founded by NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences alumnus Lim Wei Jie. Read more here.


NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences alumnus and TV presenter Diana Ser launched the #ShowWeCareSG campaign, enlisting the help of 80 local celebrities to champion her cause. The campaign managed to raise $334,000 for about 80 social service agencies in Singapore. Read more here.


Dr Judy Sng, NUS Faculty of Science alumnus and Senior Lecturer at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, has been volunteering by going door to door in the evenings to distribute Buka Puasa meals to healthcare workers and seniors in her community. She is part of SGUnited Buka Puasa, a ground-up initiative that provides 20,000 meals a day to healthcare workers and others in need during Ramadan. Read more here.


The issue of the technology divide has been a hot topic during the COVID-19 pandemic. To empower more than 30 million people with AI skills training for now and beyond, Sustainable Living Lab (SL2) has partnered with Intel to “Make Technology Fully Inclusive and Expand Digital Readiness” under the latter’s 2030 Corporate Responsibility Strategy. Veerappan Swaminathan is the Founder and Director of SL2, and he is also an NUS Engineering, NOC, and USP alumnus. See here


Healthcare workers and infectious diseases specialists have come together to urge Singaporeans to do their part by staying home in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Many NUS faculty and alumni appear in the video – including National University of Singapore's previous President and NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine alumnus Prof Tan Chorh Chuan. Watch here.

Curious as to what former President of NUS Prof Tan Chorh Chuan does in his current role as chief health scientist of MOH? The NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine alumnus spoke on the Straits Times’ ‘The Big Story’ on the lessons learnt during the Sars epidemic in 2003 and how these lessons have informed the way Singapore is fighting COVID-19. Read more here and watch the interview here.



The Mentor for Hope programme – founded by NUS students Gwen Sim and Sharon Yeo, as well as NUS Faculty of Engineering alumnus Elise Tan and Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences alumnus Janet Neo – has garnered the support of over 250 mentors who will provide mentorship support to startup founders impacted by the pandemic. The programme is also raising funds for Willing Hearts Soup Kitchen and Beyond Social Services to deliver urgent help to those affected by the pandemic. Read more here.


Belanja Eat, a pay-it-forward free meal initiative launched by alumni Michelle Tan, Tan Shao Ming, and Goh Soo Lin, has received the support of more than 80 hawkers, and more than 300 meals have been donated. Visit their website if you are interested in being belanja-ed (Malay for ‘treat’), belanja-ing a meal for others, or starting a belanja eat initiative at your favourite hawker stall. Read more here


Lucence, a molecular diagnostics company founded and led by NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine alumnus Dr Tan Min-Han, has developed a viral sample collection medical device for COVID-19 diagnosis and surveillance. They are making up to 10,000 kits available at no cost to the scientific community. Read more here


Tan Min-Liang, CEO and Founder of Razer and alumnus of NUS Law, has been hard at work with his team to convert some of their manufacturing lines to produce surgical masks. Their intention is to donate up to 1M surgical masks to various global health authorities. Read more here.

To combat the global shortage of masks, gaming company Razer recently announced plans to set up an automated face mask manufacturing line in Singapore to produce millions of certified masks every month to supply the local and regional market. Read more here.

Gaming and tech company Razer will be distributing free surgical masks to Singapore residents aged 16 and above. The distribution will be done via vending machines at all malls under Frasers Property Retail and JustCo co-working spaces. Read more here.

 

NUS Faculty of Science alumnus Tay Wee Beng, Senior Curriculum Specialist (Biology) at the Ministry of Education, is part of the team that developed COVID-19 learning packages. These learning packages aim to aid students in developing scientific literacy, help them to better understand the science behind the pandemic, and keep themselves and their families safe from COVID-19. Read more here



Many of our NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine alumni have been working long hours daily to protect Singapore from COVID-19 - alumnus Dr Benjamin Tung is no exception. He shares his thoughts on the pandemic and the Government’s recent circuit breaker measures in a Facebook post. Read more here


NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences alumnus – and the man who still holds the national record for the 100m sprint – U.K. Shyam has started a movement to rally other national athletes to collect tech devices for less-privileged students who need these devices for Home-Based Learning. Read more here.

 
A group of NUS and NUS Overseas Colleges alumni, including NUS Business School and NUS University Scholars Programme alumnus Suphasak Udomkichdecha, has started FitTogether– a live online workout platform to encourage people working from home to stay active and healthy through live online community workouts. In the past 3 weeks, they have collaborated with various fitness instructors to conduct over 50 live online sessions for various workouts. The platform is also helping to raise funds for Project Stable Staples through an initiative titled ‘Live Online Workout For Good’. Read more here.  


NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine alumnus Dr Wang Mingchang (Medicine ’08), a sports and exercise medicine physician at the National University Hospital Sports Centre, has written about his experience volunteering on the frontlines at the dormitories – something that was very different from his usual routine of running sports medicine clinics. Read here


The biomedical company Proteona is taking the lead in forming an international alliance to develop neutralising antibodies for COVID-19 to provide protection for those who are more vulnerable. One of the founders of this joint NUS-A*STAR spin-off is NUS Engineering alumnus Dr Wang Yingting. Read more here


Using the technology available to him and his knowledge in 3D printing, NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences alumnus and iPad magician Alexander Yuen decided to do his part for the community by printing mask hooks to alleviate the discomfort that essential workers might face while wearing masks for the entire day. He has sent the mask hooks to nurses, security guards, NTUC staff, and Grab drivers – just to name a few.

If you need a mask hook or know of someone who does, Alex is also willing to send them at no cost to the requester. You can contact him via his website: https://www.alexanderyuen.com/ 


Homegrown biotechnology company MiRXES – founded by Assoc Prof Too Heng-Phon from the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS Faculty of Science and NUS University Scholars Programme alumnus Dr Zhou Lihan, and Singapore-MIT Alliance alumnus Dr Zou Ruiyang – has contributed to the scaling up of the production of a diagnostic test kit for COVID-19. Their tests have been used in Singapore and across the world. Read more here and here.


NUS-linked e-commerce companies Shopee, Carousell and ShopBack are seeing high transaction volumes, as well as a spike in demand for personal hygiene products and items that support a telecommuting work arrangement. These companies, led by various NUS Overseas Colleges alumni, are also contributing to the community by launching campaigns to support families and seniors in need during this challenging period. Read more here