Mei Lin Neo

Marine Ecologist | Science Communicator | TED Fellow | WEF Young Scientist | Mothers in Science

About Me

Screenshot 2019-11-11 at 2.20.57 PM

Marine Ecologist | Science Communicator

TED Fellow | WEF Young Scientist | Mothers in Science

St. John’s Island National Marine Laboratory

Tropical Marine Science Institute and Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore

Contact email: tmsnml @

Educational background: Ph.D. (Marine Ecology, National University of Singapore)

My story: From a student to full-time staff, I have been conducting my research work at the St. John’s Island National Marine Laboratory. Trained as a marine ecologist, I had graduated from NUS with a B.Sc. in Life Sciences (2009) and Ph.D. in Marine Ecology (2013). While pursuing my degrees, I became inspired by the many local conservation workers, and took a strong interest in marine conservation issues. Through a serendipitous encounter, I found my favourite marine animal, the giant clam. My passion to save the endangered giant clams led to the genesis of two restocking programmes in Singapore, with the aim to breed and raise baby clams for putting back onto our reefs.

My big dream is to build up marine conservation awareness in Singapore and elsewhere through science communication. I believe that science can be used to change people’s mindsets regarding environmental issues, but science also needs to be relevant and relatable to people. That is why I am making science accessible to people through collaborations, engagements, and science communications – pushing the path to use science to generate societal impacts.

I’ve recently ‘upgraded’ to becoming a first-time mother to a baby girl! Motherhood has been emotionally gratifying, and I look forward to ensuring that I leave a positive environmental legacy for her to enjoy, as I had in my time. I used to actively volunteer with TeamSeagrass and Reef Friends to promote marine conservation and educate fellow volunteers. During my free time, I am an avid SCUBA diver and photographer, as well as volunteer with Mothers in Science.

I am a recipient of the World Future Foundation Ph.D. Prize in 2014, the L’Oréal For Women in Science National Fellowship in 2015, the NUS Outstanding Young Alumni Award in 2017, and the Singapore Youth Award in 2019. I was also selected as the only Singaporean TED Fellow for the Class of 2017, and gave my TED talk in Vancouver, Canada in April of 2017!

6 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Hi Dr. Neo,

    I recently heard your TED Talk and enjoyed it immensely. I am a graduate student with the University of Cincinnati studying professional writing. If you are available at all in the coming weeks, I would like to interview you for an article I am writing on giant clams. If you’re interested, please let me know and we can continue this conversation via email or Skype.

    Stacha Yundt

    1. Dear Stacha,

      Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m happy to hear that you liked my talk. Yes, of course – I’m happy to connect with you via email and let’s take the conversation from there? See if it’s possible for Skype (may have time differences). My email is listed on my page.

      Mei Lin

  2. Just saw your TED talk – I love how much you love giant clams! 😀

    Hopefully your restocking attempts prove successful. I’m off to read as much as I can about giant clams now 🙂

  3. Dear Dr Neo,

    On behalf of ITE, we would like to invite you to be one of our speaker for our Eco Conference on 16 October 2014 held at ITE College West. It would be a 20 minutes presentation on your Marine Life Park at Sisters Island sharing. At the end of the conference, there would be a panel discussion.

    Please email your response to me at I am contactable at 64111239.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Thank you.
    Sharon Yeo

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