During her childhood, Dr Shao Huilin was surrounded by her grandmother’s dementia. Sunbird Bio’s founder, a university professor, scientist, and biotech start-up, spearheads the development of groundbreaking tests to detect the disease earlier and provide more individualized treatment options.
Scientist Dr Shao Huilin first encountered dementia as a child when a loved one was diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disease.
Although she was never diagnosed with a specific kind of dementia, she died of it when she was five or six years old, she recalled. “I remember my parents brought her over to stay with us so they could look after her and help with her daily functionalities like feeding and bathing.”
Scientist, who is in her thirties, admitted she was too young to recall specific details, but the memory remained etched in her mind.
From her own experience, she said, “Apart from the inability to perform daily activities, the loss of memory is the most painful aspect of dementia, not only for patients but also for loved ones caring for them.” Because we share bonds and memories with loved ones, we relate to them.”
Early experiences like these planted the seeds for Dr Shao’s lifelong pursuit of earlier diagnosis and better treatment.
She founded Sunbird Bio in Singapore in 2020. Since then, the biotech company has developed blood tests to detect dementia earlier using molecular diagnosis, a cutting-edge science that analyzes biomarkers and genetic material for early diagnosis before symptoms appear.