Programme Director: Yusuf ALI
Co-Director: LIM Su Chi
Starting as the Metabolic Disorders Programme at the inception of the medical school, this Programme has been expanded in 2021 to include the gastrointestinal system (GI) and nutrition, a reflection of the key determinants of obesity, diabetes, related gut and metabolic disorders that are acutely felt in a rapidly ageing population of Singapore.
The Metabolic/GI/Nutrition Programme is co-located with several other LKCMedicine research programmes, and it sits in the epicentre of the Novena Health City to reflect our research and clinical partnerships within as well as outside Nanyang Technological University Singapore (NTU) and the National Healthcare Group (NHG).
The overarching aim of the Metabolic/GI/Nutrition Programme is to understand the developmental and environmental basis of obesity, diabetes, related gut and metabolic disorders and to translate this understanding into disease alleviation and prevention so as to maximise our human potential. Our current areas of research include, but are not limited to:
• Elucidating the molecular basis of type-2 diabetes and related metabolic disorders such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease with high, and notable varying, degree of prevalence across our different ethnic groups. This may inform better therapeutic strategy for each patient.
• Understanding the impact of nutrition on obesity, gut physiology and whole-body metabolic homeostasis to utilise food and diet strategies to improve metabolic health outcomes.
• Deciphering the genetic and environmental contributors to insulin-producing cell (β-cell) fragility and overall insulin insufficiency in East Asians, a current major national research priority. This may guide us on treatment to preserve β-cell function among East Asians.
• Tracking changes in inflammatory signatures and states from a healthy to a metabolically imbalanced phenotype to uncover underlying mechanisms responsible for different trajectories towards disease. Understanding the process of maladaptation to excess adiposity will improve our clinical management.
Our team comprises of research leaders with different expertise, brought together by a shared vision of alleviating obesity, diabetes, related gut and metabolic disorders diseases, and on improving metabolic health in our society. We actively seek to partner other research and clinical organisations both locally and internationally to co-develop research projects and to leverage on our cutting-edge research capabilities in the Metabolic/GI/Nutrition research space.