Published on 08 Aug 2022

Frontiers in Peptide Science and Drug Discovery: A Scientific Symposium in Honour of Professor James Tam

Jointly organised by the School of Biological Sciences (SBS) and IAS | 5 August 2022, SBS Classroom 1

The symposium was held in honour of Professor James Tam’s outstanding research works and lifetime achievements. It was noted that the 20th Anniversary celebration of SBS took place the day before on 4 August 2022. It is indeed very meaningful to hold the two events back-to-back given that Prof Tam is the school’s Founding Dean.  He is also the Founding Director of the Biological Research Center and the Founding Director of the Double-Degree Program in Biomedical Science and Chinese Medicine at NTU. Several hundreds of undergraduate and post-graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and visiting scientists have been trained in his laboratory throughout the years.

Prof Simon Redfern (Dean, College of Science) congratulating Prof Tam as Prof Nordenskiöld (Chair, SBS) looked on.

The participants repeatedly cited Prof Tam’s scientific contributions, such as the invention of peptide dendrimers as synthetic vaccines and protein quaternary structure mimetics, development of chemoselective peptide ligation methods and the discovery of peptide ligases, the discovery of ultra-stable cysteine-rich peptides from medicinal plants and their use as a therapeutic modality for disease treatment. Many of his publications have become classic works with profound impacts on chemical biology and drug discovery, which won him various prestigious awards, including the Bruce Merrifield Award from the American Peptide Society, Ralph Hirschman Award from the American Chemical Society, the Akabori Memorial Award from the Japanese Peptide Society, and the Josef Rudinger Memorial Lecture Award from the European Peptide Society. Prof Tam is also well recognised as an accomplished educator and administrator.

The symposium was attended by about 120 participants from academia and industry, including 40 attending virtually from Hong Kong and mainland China, USA and Europe. Three poster presenters were awarded the best poster awards. The one-day event began with the welcome address from the symposium chair, Assoc Prof Liu Chuan Fa. Prof Simon Redfern (Dean, College of Science) and Prof Lars Nordenskiöld (Chair, SBS) delivered their congratulation remarks at the opening ceremony.  

[From left] Prof Xiaoliang Wang, Prof Lars Nordenskiöld, Prof James Tam, Prof Simon Redfern, Prof Joshua Mylne, Prof Xiaoyuan (Shawn) Chen, Prof Shiroh Futaki, Prof Yoshio Hayashi, Prof Hironobu Hojo and Prof Hirokazu Tamamura.

The symposium featured 12 eminent speakers who gave 8 on-site and 4 online talks:

  • Prof Kit S. Lam (online) | UC Davis School of Medicine, USA
  • Prof Xiaoyuan (Shawn) Chen | National University of Singapore
  • Prof Shiroh Futaki | Kyoto University, Japan
  • Prof Joshua Mylne |Curtin University, Australia
  • Prof Kimberly Kline | University of Geneva, Switzerland and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • Prof Lei Liu (online) | Tsinghua University, China
  • Prof Hironobu Hojo | Osaka University, Japan
  • Prof Yoshio Hayashi |Tokyo University of Pharmacy and Life Sciences, Japan
  • Prof Xiaoliang Wang |Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences
  • Prof Hirokazu Tamamura | Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Japan
  • Prof Jean Martinez (online) |University of Montpellier, France
  • Dr Chunlin Chen (online) | Founder and CEO of Medicilon, China

                                   Q&A session with Prof Kit Lam who delivered his online talk from California, USA.

It was closed by the conclusion message given online by the symposium co-chair, Dr Lianshan Zhang, Senior Vice President and Global R&D President of Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine.

Prof Tam cutting a cake in celebration of his 50 years of research in peptide science and drug discovery at the symposium dinner.

View the program and abstract booklet.

Assoc Prof Liu Chun Fa | School of Biological Sciences, NTU