Boon Lim

boon lim

Community Bursary Award Holder

Joining us from: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

DPhil Synthetic Biology (2017)

Boon is a third year DPhil student in Synthetic Biology. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, obtaining a First Class degree with Honours in Biological Sciences-Biotechnology in 2016. Since joining St Cross, Boon has participated in many different community engagement projects. From volunteering as Sports Coordinator for KEEN Oxford, helping design and lead inclusive sports activities for disabled children and adults within the local community, to being elected Head of Decoration for the St Cross Summer Ball 2018, and winning First Runner Up in the 2018 St Cross Aidan Meller Art Competition. Boon is a passionate advocate for STEM and participated in organising the IF OXFORD Science and Ideas Festival, running experiments and educating members of the public on the latest biotechnological advanced. He has been featured on multiple Malaysian sites such as Malaysian Bioscience Scholars, 100 Scientists of Malaysia and Malaysian Student Hub, sharing his knowledge with many other high school and university students.

In 2018, Boon launched a start-up project, Spectre Bio with two friends in the Engineering Department to develop a bio-sensing device for environmental and medical use. This project went on to win the Best Biological Application Award for the 2018 Cambridge Biomaker Challenge, Third Prize for the 2019 Imagine IF final in Oxford, the Best Potential Investment award in the 2019 VentureFest Oxford pitching competition amongst others. Boon also got the opportunity to pitch at St James’s Palace for the Pitch @ Palace Global 2019 final, he was the only student among 38 other entrepreneurs selected in the UK.

Since January 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic was at its peak in China, Boon was asked by his supervisor to join a project to develop a rapid diagnostic kit for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The initial one-month project quickly turned into an international collaboration when the pandemic became a global threat. As the only DPhil student with molecular biology expertise within the team at the beginning, Boon’s role escalated significantly into managing and administering all the pre-clinical experiments to identify a working protocol for the team’s chosen molecular method. Boon had to halt his DPhil research to dedicate his full time to this urgent project to develop and optimise the diagnostic test together with a team of dedicated scientists from multiple departments and countries. Throughout the year, Boon has led experimental work across the Nuffield Department of Medicine and the Department of Pharmacology as well as clinical validation work in the Nuffield Division of Clinical Laboratory Science at the JR Hospital.

Read more about Boon’s work on COVID-19 below.

Boon Lim and team's rapid COVID-19 test rolled out at Heathrow and Hong Kong airports - 6 November 2020

Boon Lim's COVID-19 team awarded RAE President's Special Award - 17 August 2020

Boon Lim wins Oxford SU Special Recognition Award - 5 June 2020

Boon Lim Works on Rapid Coronavirus Detection Kit - 20 March 2020