News In Brief June 2020

LKCMedicine-Imperial College London Workshop on Covid-19 
On May 21, LKCMedicine and Imperial College London, in partnership with National Healthcare Group and National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID), held a workshop to share their latest Covid-19 research and clinical management approaches to tackle the virus. The workshop was organised and co-chaired by LKCMedicine Vice-Dean for Research Professor Lim Kah Leong and Imperial’s Chair of Immunology at the Faculty of Medicine Professor Charles Bangham. After welcome remarks by the Deans of LKCMedicine and Imperial’s Faculty of Medicine, Professor James Best and Professor Jonathan Weber, NTU Associate Vice-President for Biomedical & Life Sciences Professor Peter Preiser addressed the audience of 150 participants, highlighting the importance of this workshop in light of the current global Covid-19 pandemic.

The main programme kicked off with a special opening lecture by NCID Executive Director, Professor Leo Yee Sin, titled “Covid-19 – Singapore’s Perspective”. Rapid-fire presentations by Imperial and LKCMedicine faculty on their respective Covid-19 research and a roundtable discussion formed the rest of the workshop. Imperial Professor of Clinical Endocrinology Desmond Johnston, brought the workshop to a close, calling for closer collaboration among the institutions’ world-class faculty to understand Covid-19 and other diseases better.

First virtual LKCMedicine Governing Board meeting
Lessons, work and research were all conducted virtually during the circuit breaker, and the School’s regular Governing Board meeting was no exception. On May 13, the Board members joined the meeting from their homes in Singapore and London. It also welcomed its newest member Associate Professor Kenneth Mak, who was appointed to the Board in February when he took on the concurrent role of Director for Medical Services at the Ministry of Health. 

LKCMedicine launches two new lecture series 
During Singapore’s circuit-breaker period, LKCMedicine launched two new weekly lecture series called Learn with LKCMedicine and LKCMedicine Scientific Seminar Series. The Learn with LKCMedicine talk, which takes place every Monday, aims to cultivate life-long learning within and beyond the scope of study and career. The LKCMedicine Scientific Seminar, which is a revamp of the School’s Research Lecture Series, happens every Wednesday and will remain a regular fixture on the School’s calendar. It is a means through which scientists across Singapore can share their latest discoveries, exchange ideas and network.

LKCMedicine PhD students fly the LKCMedicine flag

Earlier this month, LKCMedicine PhD student Low Jian Hui was among 10 recipients, from mainland China and Singapore, of the prestigious 2020 Ray Wu Prize. The Ray Wu Prize for Excellence in Life Sciences was established to inspire Asia’s most promising young PhD students to become future leaders in life sciences.  The prize comprises US$5,000 (S$6,900), a medal, a certificate, and a citation by the Ray Wu Memorial Fund (RWMF). It also offers financial assistance to winners who wish to travel for career advancement purposes.


On May 7, third-year PhD student Wee Soon Keong from Associate Professor of Human & Microbial Genetics Eric Yap’s lab presented at AcinetoVibes 2020: International Virtual Conference on Acinetobacter. He shared part of his PhD project in a flash talk titled “Molecular epidemiology of non-hospital environmental Acinetobacter baumannii”. The international virtual conference attracted more than 400 attendees. Soon Keong said, “Learning and sharing never stop during circuit breaker in this pandemic!”

PPE training ahead of clinical postings for Year 4s

On April 22, LKCMedicine Year 4 students—little more than one year away from joining the healthcare workforce—prepared to return to their clinical postings in May. Ensuring they had up-to-date training in infection control and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was a crucial part of their preparation to keep them safe while they resumed their clinical training in hospitals and polyclinics across Singapore. Having received special dispensation from the Ministries of Health and Education for the session, the School implemented rigorous measures to ensure the students’ and instructors’ safety, employing temperature screening, safe distancing and enhanced cleaning practices. The students behaved impeccably and with professionalism at all times.

Sharing of blessings during Ramadan
To mark the end of Ramadan, the fasting month for Muslims, care packs were gifted to the essential services staff who remained on duty even during the circuit-breaker period. The packs were put together as a token of appreciation to the cleaners, gardeners, maintenance and electrical officers, technicians, security personnel and IT crew who kept the campus running while the majority of the LKCMedicine community worked from home due to the circuit-breaker measures. The care packs, signifying fellowship and compassion, comprised staple groceries and supermarket vouchers accompanied by a specially designed Thank-You card for each worker, who also received a bento evening meal – all sponsored by the School’s Muslim staff and students, and friends. There had been plans for a communal iftar or breaking of fast on campus, but this annual tradition had to be adapted to a virtual one: sharing photos of iftar at home by staff and students. 

NTU experts fighting the Covid-19 pandemic on all levels
Scientists, clinicians, communications researchers and engineers from across NTU’s schools and institutes including LKCMedicine’s faculty and staff are combining their expertise to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic on all fronts. This list highlights the faculty and staff who are contributing to Singapore’s fight against Covid-19 in laboratories, through research, by working with international partners and serving on the frontline in our associated hospitals.