Teaching and Outreach


Undergraduate Research Projects (UROPS)

Clarissa Halim has recently successfully finished her UROPS project in the lab investigating scaling of the Drosophila embryonic gut. Her work is now being taken forward towards a publication.

In 2016 two new UROPS students will be joining the lab. One will be working on live imaging of organogenesis in Drosophila embryogenesis using lightsheet microscopy. The other student will be working in collaboration with Assoc. Prof. Antonia Monteiro to investigate patterning in the butterfly wing.

If you are interested in a UROPS project in 2017, please contact me to arrange a visit to MBI and to discuss possible projects in more detail.

Theoretical Biology

I co-lecture BL5234 graduate course on Theoretical Biology with Asst. Prof. Ryan Chisholm for 2015/16. Topics covered include the mathematics of the cell, stochastic processes, patterning and collective behaviour.

Biology/Biophysics Bootcamp

In August I run (with Assoc. Prof. Cynthia He) a two week Bootcamp (MB5104) for our new MBI graduate intake, in conjunction with SMART and CBIS. (2015 MBI Bootcamp on Mechanobiology) The course involves morning lectures that range from basic molecular biology through to coding. The afternoon sessions include experiments and microscopy, where students work as a team. The course is open to all new and first year graduate students at NUS (it is not restricted to MBI). Please contact me if you would like to join the 2016 class.

MBI Modelling, Theory and Simulation Club

We meet roughly every month to discuss interesting topics related to the use of mathematics and simulations in biology. Please contact Sabya Dagupta (s.dasgupta "at" nus.edu.sg) to find out more.



Science is Fun

A postdoc in the lab, Dr Anand Singh, has recently helped organise and run a series of workshops for schoolchildren in India promoting science education. The workshops focussed on hands on experience for the children, including making a microscope from a simple webcam. We have recently published an article in the journal Science in Schools, highlighting this work and to assist other scientists attempting outreach, particularly in poorer areas.

Nobel Science Camp

In November 2015 we had 160 school students from across Singapore visit MBI to find out more about how physicists are having an impact on biology. I talked to the students on the usefullness of physics in biology and also answered their (very varied!) questions for an afternoon.

School Research Projects

We had three school students in the laboratory 2014/2015 investigating the robustness of temporal development in Drosophila. One student, Tan Li Hao, won a Bronze medal in the Singapore Science and Engineering Festival for his project: "Paracetamol can affect the timing of embryo development".

The Science of Crowds

I have written about the physics of crowds in the journal Science in Schools (a peer-reviewed teaching journal that provides resources for people involved in science education). The article explores how physics can help in understanding crowd behaviour and how this knowledge can be used to improve, for exmaple, fire exit design.

I have also given talks on the academic career path (including recently to a Cambridge University careers event) and general science research.

I taught adult learners GCSE Biology 2009-2010. This involved teaching students with a wide range of abilities, from people who left school with no formal qualifications to people wishing to move into management roles. It was a particularly rewarding experience to take these students through to success in their exams. Coming from a physics background, it was personally challenging to ensure that I explained the biology clearly and precisely.


2015 science camp
Dr Saunders giving a talk to local science students during MBI's 2015 Nobel Science Camp


Cortical regulation of cell size by a sizer cdr2p, BITS Annual Conference of Molecular and Cell Biology, Nanjing, China, April 2015.

Temporal robustness in development, JSPS Waseda-MBI Joint Symposium, Singapore, September 2015.

Using lightsheet microscopy to quantify morphogen gradient dynamics, invited talk at the Institut de Biologia Molecular de Barcelona, Barcelona, October 2015.

Protein lifetime measurements can distinguish between models of gradient formation, Workshop on Microscopy, Institute of Medical Biology, Singapore, November 2015.

Experimental and theoretical approaches to understanding the temporal dynamics of morphogen gradients, 16th International Conference on Systems Biology, Singapore, November 2015.

Using lightsheet microscopy to reveal complex spatio-temporal dynamics in vivo, 4th International Conference on Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Singapore, December 2015.



The Saunders Lab is always looking for qualified individuals to join our group. Contact Timothy Saunders at dbsste "at" nus.edu.sg

Contact Us

Mechanobiology Institute, Singapore (MBI)
National University of Singapore T-Lab,
#10-01 5A Engineering Drive 1
Singapore 117411

Telephone: +65 66011552
Email: dbsste "at" nus.edu.sg