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Jing Mei Li

Li Jing Mei

“There are some cancers which you die with and some cancers which you die from — my aim is to contribute to the understanding of the genetics and biology underlying the mean cancers,” says Dr Li Jing Mei, one of 15 women from around the world to be awarded the L’Oréal-Unesco Women In Science International Fellowship this year. Prior to that, the 31-year-old was a research fellow with the Genome Institute of Singapore under A*Star. As part of the Human Genetics group, her research delved into the genetic determinants of complex diseases, particularly, breast cancer. Today, she is based in Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet under the aegis of the L’Oréal-Unesco International Fellowship and is working on discriminating aggressive cancers from those with a more favourable outlook. “The path I took wasn’t very rational,” says Li of focusing on breast cancer research. “But it’s very much like falling in love — you don’t know how it happens until you fall right smack into it.”