A kid who used to spend her weekends with her dad at Sungei Buloh and MacRitchie Reservoir, Juliana Chan went on to earn a PhD in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US. While abroad, she noticed a vacuum in the coverage of Asian research by Western-centric science magazines and so founded the Asian Scientist magazine in 2011 to give exposure to the growing demographic of scientists, engineers and doctors from Asia.
Reflecting this shifting face of science, Asian Scientist has produced more than 2,500 stories and profiled prominent opinion leaders to Nobel laureates. In April this year, the World Scientific Publishing Company took a minority stake in the venture, pumping in a high six-figure sum that will allow the young start-up to expand its reach.
Chan’s own track record in research — she has designed nanoparticles for drug delivery and grown blood capillary networks in microfluidic devices — has not escaped the attention of the scientific community. She jointly holds three international patents and was recently appointed an adjunct assistant professor at the Nanyang Technological University, which comes with a $1 million research grant.
Despite her personal success, Chan will have you know that women remain “severely under-represented” in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. “But while more women are taking up PhDs in general, very few women are the decision-makers in industry, universities, and the corporate sector,” the wise-beyond-her-20-something-years says. “I’ve been quoted before as saying that women in R&D need to work twice as hard to be taken seriously and I still believe so.”