From an early age, Pooi See Lee was interested in how science could be used to find solutions to everyday problems. Lee moved to Singapore to start her research career after completing her education in Malaysia. She joined the School of Materials Science and Engineering at Nanyang Technological University in 2004.
For her contributions to the field of nanomaterials, Lee has been a torchbearer for interdisciplinary research in materials science, breaking down traditional barriers between disciplines. She strives to spur innovative and sustainable solutions for energy, electronics, and healthcare applications with her research. Lee wants to translate research into real solutions.
She is an elected fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, the highest professional distinction accorded to academic inventors. Who are you role models? I was fascinated by how science addresses fundamental questions in our daily lives.
In order to solve real-world challenges, I developed a strong interest in science and engineering. My parents encourage me to make my own decisions and to accept unexpected opportunities in life, they are very supportive of my pursuits. What do you enjoy most about your work?
Being a professor in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics allows me to impart knowledge and cultivate future thought leaders. Whenever my co-workers or students achieve their goals, discover their talents and make contributions to our society, it brings joy to me. We can make a better future.
While the many "aha" moments brought delight and excitement, a STEM profession also requires multiple skill sets, lots of discipline and perseverance along the way. Constantly trying for funding or grant support to continue our efforts in the laboratory is a challenge in pursuing an academic and scientific research career. During difficult times, I persist with an open mindset and focus on creativity and team work to make a difference.
Do you think women are well represented in your field? I am fortunate to be given similar opportunities to pursue my dream of being a scientist. There is more that can be done to encourage girls and women in all parts of the world to choose a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Getting girls exposed to science early and exposing them to role models in the fields from young age may help to excite them to pursue interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Reducing the barrier for young women to continue their career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics is one way to retain them. What is the most significant contribution you have made to your field?
The use of advanced nanomaterials for soft electronics and energy devices in the field of built environment, wearables, and human-machine interface is one of my most impactful contributions. We are collaborating with clinicians to deploy our technology for rehabilitation and personal health monitoring. Is there a topic you can comment on in your Advanced Energy Materials article?
The article talked about the development of stretchable energy storage device. It is an important milestone in the advancement of fully bendable, roll-able, and Wearable electronics. What do you like to do outside of the lab?
I like music and the arts. I am now learning to play the cello. Despite our busy schedule, it is important to practice work life balance.
I like to spend time with my friends. It is my belief that everyone can make time for relaxation as it allows them to be more productive.