In the last years, he suffered from lung disease that required a constant supply of air from an oxygen tank. Brenner had a major contribution for the development of science. He came up with the idea of setting up the first major research institute for science in Singapore – the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) – which was launched in 1985. “That is what I do – discover new things, things that wouldn’t be known if not for me. I am always asking questions,” he once declared. Scientists from all over the world mourned his death.
“Sydney was a pioneer and a leader of the molecular biology revolution and the father of biomedical sciences in Singapore,” said Sir Richard Sykes, former Rector of Imperial College London and former chairman of pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline. “He was always thinking of new concepts and projects, even until his last days. His enthusiasm was contagious,” IMCB professor and research director Byrappa Venkatesh said. For his contributions to the development of the life sciences in Singapore, Dr Brenner received the Distinguished Friends of Singapore award in 2000, and became the first honorary citizen of Singapore in 2003.