16 July 2019


NUS Biological Sciences Professors Conferred Emeritus Professorship Awards


Prof CHOU Loke Ming and Prof TAN Teck Koon from NUS’ Department of Biological Sciences (DBS) were appointed NUS (National University of Singapore) Emeritus Professors in July 2019.

The Emeritus Professorship is awarded to professors on retirement in recognition of their sustained contributions to teaching, research and service to NUS.


Professor Chou Loke Ming

Prof Chou obtained his B.Sc. (Hons) in 1969 and Ph.D. in Zoology in 1976 from the then University of Singapore. After his Ph.D., he turned his fascination with the sea into a 30-year career in marine ecology and conservation, gaining international recognition for his research expertise in coastal management and reef restoration. His research findings have been published in over 40 prestigious international journals, and covered extensively by news and scientific media.

He has partnered various national agencies - including the Singapore Tourism Board, Housing and Development Board, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore - and regional platforms like ASEAN-USAID, on collaborative marine conservation initiatives. Prof Chou also consulted with international agencies, such as UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation, the United Nations) and the World Bank on marine environmental management projects.

Prof Chou contributed actively to NUS. He was appointed Director of the new Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES) programme (2011 - 2014), where he oversaw the programme’s development, including planning new modules and hiring teaching staff. He has taught, and been on the Management Committee of the Masters in Environmental Management programme since its inception in 2001. Prof Chou also served as Master of Temasek Hall for 16 years since its establishment in 1988.

Prof Chou retired from DBS in October 2014 and was appointed Adjunct Research Professor at the Tropical Marine Science Institute in November 2014. He also held joint Adjunct Research Professorial appointments at DBS (2015 - 2016) and the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (2017 - 2018).

Prof Chou was a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (International Coral Reef Initiative), serving as its Chairman from 2003 to 2005. He is currently an Honorary Fellow of the Singapore Institute of Biology and a Fellow of the Singapore National Academy of Science. He also served as guest editor of special issues of various journals, including Ocean Science Journal, Ocean and Coastal Management, and Journal of Marine Science and Engineering.

Prof Chou has received multiple Faculty- and University-level awards for teaching excellence, as well as prestigious community and environmental awards, such as the then Ministry of the Environment’s Green Leaf Award (1994); the Ministry of Health’s Champion Blood Donor Award (1994); and the International SeaKeepers Society’s SeaKeeper of Singapore Award (2016).

Dean of Science Prof SHEN Zuowei said, “Prof Chou’s contribution to marine ecology and conservation has made a lasting impact, particularly in Singapore’s coastal management. Generations of students have also benefitted immensely under his tutelage. We are extremely proud that Loke Ming’s hard work and contributions have been well-recognised.”

On being conferred Emeritus Professorship, Prof Chou said, “I am glad to have participated in this journey to develop marine biology and conservation in Singapore and the region. I am very honoured to have mentored many of the younger professionals. My quest has been greatly facilitated by NUS to which, I remain most thankful.”


Associate Professor Tan Teck Koon

Prof Tan obtained his Ph.D. in Botany from the then University of Singapore in 1980 and recently in 2019, his post graduate qualification in Social Science (Professional Counselling) from the Swinburne University of Technology.

As an academic staff in the Botany Department and subsequently the Department of Biological Sciences (1981 - 2017), Prof Tan’s dedication to teaching impacted the lives of many undergraduate and graduate students who remember his nurturing ways. His leadership in education and research in mycology (fungal biology) saw him supervising research students, publishing in journals and book chapters, presenting at conferences, and providing consultation on fungal problems. Prof Tan contributed his expertise to multi-disciplinary collaborative research with NUS colleagues, such as research on fungal airspora that provided baseline data for setting indoor air quality standards; and the identification of local fungal allergens responsible for exacerbating asthma in children in Singapore.

Prof Tan actively promoted mycology as the Vice Chairman of the International Mycological Association Committee for Asia (IMACA), and biology as the President of the Singapore Institute of Biology (SiBiol). He was instrumental in encouraging SiBiol to bring the International Biology Olympiad (IBO) to Singapore, which subsequently hosted the 23rd IBO in 2012. For his dedication and professional contribution to biology, Prof Tan was conferred a Fellowship by the Singapore Institute of Biology.

In his 37 years with the university, Prof Tan concurrently held various administrative portfolios. He served as Sub-Dean / Vice Dean of Science (1993 - 1997), Vice Dean of Students (1999 -2002), Dean of Students (2003 - 2016) and Special Advisor for Student Life in the Office of the Provost (2017).

In each of these appointments, Prof Tan’s selfless devotion to the role and passion for his work brought changes and transformed the service under his charge. As Vice Dean of Science, Prof Tan brought the Faculty’s collaboration with the Ministry of Education (MOE)’s Gifted Education Branch to greater heights. A new programme, the Science Mentorship Programme (SMP) for upper secondary school Gifted Education Programme students, was initiated to complement the Faculty’s flagship Science Research Programme (SRP) for junior college students. For his contributions, Prof Tan received the Distinguished Service Award for initiating SMP, and the Long Service Award for Relentless Support and Contribution to SRP (1988 - 2007) by Gifted Education Branch / MOE.

Finding his passion in student life from his stint as Vice Dean of Students, Prof Tan wholeheartedly embraced his role as Dean of Students when appointed in 2003. His belief that an enriching campus life and student development are an intrinsic part of education and as important as formal teaching and research drove his relentless efforts in inculcating a student-centric philosophy and culture that enhanced student service and empowered student development. This instilled the NUS spirit, in the next 14 years until his appointment as Special Advisor (Student Life) in the Provost’s Office in 2017.

In recognition of his contribution, Prof Tan was conferred the Public Administration Medal (Bronze) and the Public Administration Medal (Silver) National Day Award in 2006 and 2014, respectively.

Beyond NUS, Prof Tan served as President of the Asia-Pacific Student Services Association (APSSA) and is its current Honorary Advisor. For his contributions, Prof Tan was accorded the Special Recognition for Outstanding Service and Leadership Award by APSSA in 2014. He is currently a Founding Member of the Singapore People and Career Development Association (PCDA) established in 2018.

Dean of Science Prof SHEN Zuowei said, “Prof Tan’s work and leadership in serving NUS students led to significant initiatives that have benefitted thousands of students over the years. We are very happy for this award conferred on our esteemed colleague and wish him the very best.”

Prof Tan said, “Serving the university in education, research and administration was extremely enriching, fulfilling and satisfying. It certainly enabled me to view students’ education and development in a holistic manner and contribute to it.”