News: Pushing new frontiers in biomedicine

By Kimberley Wang, Manager, Media and Publications, Communications and Outreach

On 14 and 15 February, LKCMedicine held a conference for our early career researchers to host and interact with accomplished scientists whose research would be of great interest to the School.

Aptly titled “New Frontiers in Biomedicine”, the two-day hybrid event was jointly organised by LKCMedicine Early Researcher Network (LEARN) and NTU LKCMedicine Graduate Students' Club (LKCMedicine GSC). Over 60 participants comprising young scientists, including LEARN and LKCMedicine GSC members, research staff, and LKCMedicine Principal Investigators joined in the event.

Formed in October 2020, LEARN is a club for, and run by, the research fellows at LKCMedicine. The goal is to create an interactive community among the early career researchers through social and scientific events, professional development workshops and collaborations with other schools of NTU.

Kicking off the conference, LKCMedicine Dean Professor Joseph Sung shared that the event aims to host distinguished speakers as well as spotlight the research of our young scientists.

“The School’s early career researchers, including postdocs, PhD students and other research staff, are provided presentation time in the same session as external speakers so that they would have a fruitful and informative exchange of ideas. We hope that it will benefit our young researchers.”

With a programme focusing on advances in neurobiology and cell biology, stem cells and developmental biology, public health and infection, and technologies in life sciences, the event featured 27 presentations, including talks by experts in the respective fields and poster sessions by young researchers.

 The speakers include:

  • Associate Professor David Lye, Director of the Infectious Disease Research and Training Office at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases, and Co-director of LKCMedicine’s Respiratory and Infectious Diseases Programme
  • Associate Professor Hallam Stevens, Associate Director (Academic) at the NTU Institute of Science and Technology for Humanity
  • Professor Hongyan Wang, Deputy Director of the Programme of Neuroscience and Behavioural Disorders at the Duke-NUS Medical School
  • Associate Professor Lim Su Chi, Clinical Director of the Clinical Research Unit at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, Clinical Director of the Clinician Scientist Development Office at the NHG Group Research, and LKCMedicine Associate Professor
  • Professor Rong Li, Director of the Mechanobiology Institute and Distinguished Professor from the Department of Biological Sciences at the National University of Singapore
  • Professor Thorsten Wohland, Director of the Centre for Bioimaging Sciences from the Departments of Biological Sciences and Chemistry at the National University of Singapore

In addition, the organisers arranged in-person networking sessions, in line with safe management measures, for participants to exchange ideas and forge collaborations among themselves and with leading scientists.

The conference culminated with the inaugural LEARN annual awards ceremony on 15 February that celebrated the outstanding efforts of early career scientists towards excellence in LKCMedicine and beyond. The awards recognise their contributions in research excellence, mentorship and community service.

LKCMedicine Vice Dean (Research) Professor Lim Kah Leong and Assistant Dean (Research​)​ Associate Professor Kevin Pethe presented the awards to the following winners: 

  • LEARN Mentorship Award – Dr Bilge Ercan, LKCMedicine Research Fellow, LEARN Grant winner (Yasunori Saheki lab); and Dr Ng Chun Yi, LKCMedicine Research Fellow (Christine Cheung lab)
  • LEARN Community Service Award – Dr Alvin Chew Bing Liang, LKCMedicine Research Fellow (Luo Dahai lab); Dr Harsha Mahabaleshwar, LKCMedicine Research Fellow (Tom Carney lab); and Dr Giuseppe D’ Agostino, LKCMedicine Dean’s Postdoctoral Fellow (Sarah Langley lab)
  • LEARN Research Excellence Award – Dr Dorrain Low Yanwen, LKCMedicine Research Fellow (John Chambers lab); and Dr Louisa Chan, LKCMedicine Dean’s Postdoctoral Fellow (Laurent Renia lab)
  • Best Poster Presentation Award – Ethiraj Lalith Prabha, LKCMedicine Doctoral Student (Tom Carney lab), for her presentation on “Bisphosphonate related osteonecrosis like lesions in zebrafish: A new comprehensive experimental model to investigate immunological elements”
  • Best Oral Presentation Award – Tay Kai Yi, LKCMedicine Doctoral Student (Christine Cheung lab), for her presentation on “Trans-interaction of risk loci 6p24.1 and 10q11.21 is associated with endothelial damage in coronary artery disease”

Prof Lim with the LEARN Mentorship Award winners

Prof Lim with the LEARN Community Service Award winners

A/Prof Pethe with the Best Poster Presentation (left) and Best Oral Presentation Award winners