Academic Lead:
Caleon Imelda Santos

Dr Caleon Imelda Santos

National Institute of Education

Dr. Imelda Santos Caleon is an Assistant Dean on Partnerships at the Office of Education Research and Senior Education Research Scientist at the Science of Learning in Education Centre, National Institute of Education (NIE), Nanyang Technologi ...

Assistant Dean, Partnerships, OER Partnerships Senior Research Scientist, National Institute of Education - Office of Education Research Assistant Dean, Partnerships, National Institute of Education

Keywords: Education | Mental Health | Psychology | Science of Learning

Well-being refers to a positive experience of life with an adaptive level of functioning. There are two main ways in which well-being has been studied in research – subjective well-being, which is also known as hedonic well-being, and psychological well-being, which is also known as eudaimonic well-being (Deci & Ryan, 2008; Tov, 2018). Subjective well-being is focused on individuals’ positive affect, such as happiness, and sense of life satisfaction while psychological well-being is concerned about reaching one’s potential by fulfilling one’s developmental needs (Ryan & Deci, 2001). Additionally, psychological well-being entails a meaningful and purposeful life that optimizes human functioning (Ryff & Singer, 2008). Both subjective and psychological well-being are key research topics as they have been found to influence physical and mental health across different developmental periods and across the lifespan in children, adolescents, and adults (e.g., Keyes, 2006; Diener et al., 2016; Steinmayr et al., 2019).

Key Projects

Peer Power: How do Peer Relationships and Peer Network Attributes Influence Students' Academic, Motivational and Well-being Outcomes


Social networks are webs of relationships that serve as means for individuals to have access to knowledge, resources, support and opportunities. In particular, peer networks play a significant role in influencing students' behavior, dispositions, well-being, and academic performance, especially during secondary school years. They provide a venue for knowledge sharing, which guides the formation of self-identity and emergence of group norms. The present study is a longitudinal investigation aiming to examine (1) the nature and structure of students' friendship networks over time; (2) how students' network attributes influence achievement, motivational and well-being outcomes of students; (3) how the achievement, motivational and well-being outcomes of the students are associated with those of their close friend; (4) how students' inter-ability interactions influence the relationship between focal outcomes of students and of their friends; and (5) the processes and mechanisms involved in the students' peer selection and influence.

Funding body: MOE

Lead PI: Dr. Imelda Santos Caleon
Co-PIs: Liu Wei Cheng (MOE), Cecilia Ma
Collaborators: Siew Chin Hoong Addie (Edgefield Secondary School),  Ong Chin Leng (Dunman Secondary School), Mark Charles Baildon, Jenny Chua (SDCD, MOE)

Peer Power 2.0: A Longitudinal Investigation of Students' Peer Networks and their Academic, Motivational, Social and Emotional Outcomes


Peer relationships are influential in the development of behaviours, attitudes, and well-being of individuals.  Relationships serve as bonds or links between individuals to form peer networks; such networks become particularly important and powerful during secondary school years. They provide a venue for knowledge sharing that guide the formation of self and shared identity and the identification of norms that guide or constrain personal and group decisions and actions. Peer groups during adolescence also serve as a training ground for social relationships in adulthood and larger groups settings. 

Peer Power 2.0 (PP2) serves as a follow-up to the Peer Power Study 1 (PP1 [OER27/19 ISC], which focuses on adolescents’ peer networks in the first two years of secondary education (Secondary 1 [S1] and Secondary 2 [S2]). PP1 seeks to examine (1) the nature and structure of students' peer networks and how such networks change over two years; (2) how students' network attributes are associated with adaptive school outcomes and well-being; (3) how the degree of interaction among students of different academic abilities are associated with these focal outcomes, and (4) the processes and mechanisms involved in the students’ peer selection and influence. PP1 also compares students’ peer networks and the relationships between such networks and student outcomes for students’ attending mixed-ability form classes (i.e., with differing attainment levels), which is formed in schools piloting the Full Subject Based Banding (Full SBB) scheme; and similar-ability form classes, which is currently being formed in schools that are not piloting the Full SBB scheme (henceforth, non-Full SBB).   For PP2, our primary goals are to examine (1) how the students’ peer relationships change over four years in secondary school (S1 to Secondary 4 [S4]), thereby extending the timeline of PP1; (2) how such changes in peer relationships are associated with changes in student outcomes. Our additional goal, which was not addressed in PP1, is to examine (3) how students facing the risk of social isolation can be supported. The proposed study will also examine how the results of the investigation will differ for students attending mixed-ability (in Full SBB schools) or similar-ability form classes (in non-Full SBB schools). 

Funding body: MOE ERFP

Lead PI: Dr. Imelda Santos Caleon
Co-PIs: Dr Chan Chee Yeen Melvin, Mr Liu Wei Cheng (RMID, MOE), Dr Sharifah Mariam Aljunied (Special Educational Needs Division, MOE), Ms Lijing Huang (Student Development and Curriculum Division, MOE), Ms Angelia Chua (Special Educational Needs Division, MOE)
Collaborators: Dr Shaun Kok Yew Goh, A/P Mark Charles Baildon (United Arab Emirates University), Mr Ong Chin Leng (Dunman Secondary School)
Consultant: A/P Christian Steglich (University of Groningen)

Understanding the Development and Drivers of Adolescents' Educational Pathways: The Singapore Longitudinal Cohort Study


Objectives: This study seeks primarily to understand (a) the nature of educational pathways made by students through secondary education, (b) the drivers of the decisions made about educational pathways through secondary education (especially self-identity and agency, school and career aspirations, and social and relational contexts), (c) the stability and change patterns of educational pathways as well as factors that may be associated with change. We expect the drivers of educational pathways to be interrelated, and (d) throught retrospective investigation, the factors at early childhood and primary school that contribute to educational pathways. Furthermore, this study will allow focus on educational pathways of specific subgroups to understand the differential impact of educational pathways for (e) students with special educational needs (SEN) and (f) for students from financially disadvantaged environments.

Method: This study employs a mixed longitudinal design where a representative sample of 7,000 participants are recruited when they are in Secondary 1 and follow-up yearly until they complete their secondary education in Secondary 4 or 5. All will participate in the main survey study but others will participate in sub studies that might involve other approaches such as more surveys, direct observations of behavior (e.g., testing), interviews, and/or surveys with their classmates.

Potential Contributions: The findings from this study will provide a student-centric approach to understanding the impact of educational pathways within secondary education, how they may differ for different subgroups, as well as to provide insight into the development and wellbeing of adolescents in secondary schools.

Funding Body: Ministry of Education (Commissioned Study)

PI: Prof Kenneth Poon Kin Loong 

Co-PIs: Dr Chee Yeen Melvin Chan, Dr Lu-Ming Trivina Kang

Navigating and Negotiating Pathways through Secondary School and Beyond 


Project 1 aims to examine adolescent precursors of significant milestones and pathways starting from and through secondary schooling and beyond. Through this study, we hope to paint a rich picture of how students navigate through the different pathways through secondary school, and interdependent relationships of the range of skills, knowledge and dispositions. In examining the nature and drivers of different pathways, key antecedent and consequent constructs will be examined and monitored over time to identify which facilitate and which hinder progress, which has compensatory effects (i.e., where one resource substitutes in the absence of another) and which has long-term consequences. Key constructs of interest include direct and indirect influences of social structures and individual agency. Structural factors are important considerations as they define the range of opportunities and constraints from which students choose and pursue goals through the social contexts in which they live. However, individuals do not passively reproduce given social structures but, through their agentic capacity to take action, construct life paths, conjure alternative routes to adapt to uncertainty and the evolving world of work. Individual agency comprises cognitive, regulatory and affective factors. Cognitive factors reflect the skills students need to be successful (e.g., academic achievement, social and cooperative skills, complex communication), regulatory factors focus on self-awareness attributes such as students’ sense of self-efficacy, motivation, adaptability, curiosity, and openness to diversity, and affective factors refer to traits such as emotional competence. Further, what students value in school and life, the identities the ascribe and construct, and the characters they develop are all integral affective perspectives in the study of human development and life pathways. Findings will provide important insights on multiple fronts. It will add to a number of important topics on adolescent development that are currently not well researched in Singapore, particularly on educational pathways. It will highlight key indicators of successful school transition and development trajectories, key competencies and values that are associated with post-school career readiness, how successful pathways can be supported (e.g., factors and contexts), and how adolescents negotiate life choices and challenges. Findings will also have major implications for school and social policy. It will deepen our understanding of students’ pursuits of and practices within schools that shape lifelong learning, and guide career guidance efforts, and highlight identifiable and actionable levers of support for meeting future-readiness needs and challenges. 

Funding Body: Ministry of Education (Commissioned Study)

PI: Dr Chee Yeen Melvin Chan

Co-PIs: Dr Lu-Ming Trivina Kang, Assoc Prof Gregory Arief D Liem

Self-Beliefs, Motivation, and Sociocontextual Experiences


The objectives of PT2 of LCS are to examine (a) the changes in students’ self-concepts and motivation in Math/ English and their perceived sociocultural factors across the first four secondary school years, and (b) the contributions of changes in the students’ perceived sociocontextual factors to changes in their self-concepts and motivation in Math/English in the four secondary school years. Specifically, the main objectives (a) and (b) will be addressed among students in the FSBB and ability streaming systems to reveal potential differences and similarities between the two grouping systems as we transition between one system to the other. Students’ motivation includes theories of ability (incremental or fixed), achievement goals (performance-approach or personal best), and behavioral regulation (controlled or autonomous) in each of the core subjects (Math or English). Students’ perceptions of sociocontextual experiences and environments include their perceived teachers’ and parents’ academic expectations, autonomy support, and emphases on social and individualized comparisons in Math's or English, as well as perceived general satisfaction of their psychological basic needs (competence, autonomy, relatedness). The findings have the potential implications tfor educational policy and instructional practice that aim to foster students' well-being as well as their motivation and engagement in each of these two academic subjects. 

Funding Body: Ministry of Education (Commissioned Study)

PI: Dr Gregory Arief Liem

Co-PIs: Assoc Prof Woon Chia Liu, Dr Lu-Ming Trivina Kang, Dr Chee Yeen Melvin Chan, Dr Ser Hong Tan

Peer Power Plus - Social Relationships and their Influence on the Academic, Motivational, Social and Emotional Functioning of Secondary Students


Social relationships refer to meaningful connections that exist between individuals. Social relationships are influential in the development of behaviors, attitudes, and well-being of individuals.  In particular, peer relationships during adolescence serve as a training ground for social relationships in adulthood and larger groups settings. The primary goal of PT3 is to examine how the students’ social relationships change over four or five years in secondary school and how these changes are linked to students’ functioning in varied domains. The proposed study also seeks to examine the contextual factors and processes linked to students’ peer relationships, such as family and school climate and structures.  For the first year of Project 3 (Phase 1A, Wave1b), the main goals are to explore the nature and structure of students’ peer relationships and examine how such aspects of peer relationships are associated with the focal outcomes-- academic, motivational, social and emotional-- of secondary students (see Table H-3.2). 

For the second to fourth year of PT3, the main goals are to examine the changes in students’ peer networks and quality of relationships with key significant others (i.e., peers, parents and teachers), the influence of students’ peer networks attributes and quality of key relationships on students’ focal outcomes over time (controlling for baseline measures)

Another goal of PT3 is to explore how schools’ structures, programmes, and cultural practices affect the stability and change patterns in students’ peer relationships. We also examine the students’ lived experiences in their unique social spheres and contexts, how they make sense of and deal with such experiences, how such experiences shape their peer relationships and how peer relationships serve as barriers and enablers of their school adjustment and goal attainment. 


Funding Body: Ministry of Education (Commissioned Study)

PI: Dr Imelda Caleon

Co-PIs: Dr Chee Yeen Melvin Chan, Dr Lu-Ming Trivina Kang, Dr Liu Wei Cheng

Adolescent lifestyles, psychological wellbeing and health


PT4 proposes to examine adolescent lifestyles, psychological wellbeing, and health outcomes of different groups of students as they progress from early-adolescence to mid-adolescence. Lifestyles including social media use and wellbeing may differ based on varying student profiles and characteristics of their families, peers, and their home and school environments. PT4 also proposes to track adolescent wellbeing over time and to gain a better understanding of the kinds of changes that do and do not occur, and the factors that contribute to these trajectories. PT4 will also examine parents’ perceptions of their adolescents’ wellbeing. Parents’ perceptions may align or not align with those of adolescents’ own perceptions for various reasons, which will be insightful, and may shed light on parent-adolescent relationships within the context of the various systems that the adolescent is embedded in. This study will be able to contribute on the academic, applied and policy fronts with respect to more nuanced findings on the transitions over time on adolescent lifestyles and wellbeing, as well as to provide greater clarity to measurement issues in the area of wellbeing.

Funding Body: Ministry of Education (Commissioned Study)

PI: Prof Rebecca Ang

Co-PIs: Prof Kin Loong Kenneth Poon, Prof Chee Keng John Wang, Dr Ser Hong Tan, Dr Lim Choon Guan

Longitudinal Child Development—Cognitive, Psychological, and Socioemotional and Physical Health and Well-being


PT5 follows up on earlier cohorts in the SKIP and SKIP-Up studies as they progress through adolescence, continuing to examine how person, contexts, and processes interact to influence human development in cognitive, socioemotional, and physical domains (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006). Adolescence is a turbulent time of developmental and social change as well as increased risks, as children move away from the relative security of childhood and face new social and other stressors and challenges. Demands for their still-developing self-regulation in this developmental period are high, as are risks for developing stress-related disorders and other forms of psychopathology, as well as unhealthy physical and lifestyle behaviors (Kessler et al., 2007). Understanding risk and protective factors throughout childhood that contribute to cognitive, socioemotional, and physical health and well-being is an important undertaking towards a healthy society in which human health and potential is maximized. 

In this sub-study, we continue our focus on a few pertinent aspects of child outcomes. Under cognitive outcomes, we examine (a) executive functions, core prefrontal lobe functions supporting diverse higher order skills from academic skills to self-regulation, and (b) academic outcomes. Under psychological and socioemotional outcomes, we examine (a) socioemotional strengths and difficulties (e.g., externalizing, and internalizing problems; prosocial behaviors), common screeners for mental health/psychiatric disorders, (b) positive subjective well-being, and (c) stress and test anxiety. Under physical health outcomes, we examine (a) physical fitness and health status, and (b) health-related lifestyle activities (e.g., sedentary/ physical activities; social media addiction). In addition, we examine general self-regulation in everyday functioning, child environmental sensitivity, as well as measures of the home and school contexts, such as perceived family, peer and teacher relationships or support.

Funding Body: Ministry of Education (Commissioned Study)

PI: Dr Khng Kiat Hui, Fannie

Co-PIs: Dr Chee Yeen Melvin Chan, Dr He Sun, Dr Jose David Munez Mendez 

Predictors of Adolescents with Special Educational Needs in Secondary Schools that Flourish and those with Poor Outcomes


Most studies have focused on the specific needs of focused diagnostic groups. Few have focused on their needs in a more holistic manner (e.g., academic outcomes, school and career aspirations, self-identity, emotional wellbeing, lifestyle, relationships) and to understand how these may co-exist and/or impact subsequent outcomes. Whilst the NLTS has informed some of these aspects, development is embedded within educational contexts. Singapore is one that whilst lacking a legislative mandate for support, has a national, and well implemented, policy for the support of students with SEN in mainstream schools. This offers an opportunity to explore similar (but not identical) phenomena in a different context. Furthermore, the presence of one or more comparison groups will afford a sense of how strengths and difficulties may look like and develop over time. This study, hence, offers an opportunity to identify the broader patterns of outcomes (i.e., aspirations, self-identity, emotional wellbeing and lifestyle, and relationships) among adolescents with SEN in secondary schools, to understand how they may be similar to, or different from their peers, and how these may change over time. 

Funding Body: Ministry of Education (Commissioned Study)

PI: Prof Kenneth Poon Kin Loong 

Co-PIs: Asst Prof Azilawati Jamaludin, Dr. Lim Choon Guan, Dr Mariam Aljunied, Dr Yu Ting Iris

Investigating At-Risk Etiologies and Educational Pathways through an Ecological lens 


In Singapore, Ng & Cheong (2015) found that ecological factors such as education pathways partially mediated the influence of SES on youths’ outcomes such as educational aspiration, self-esteem, and relational competence (Ng & Senin, 2018). Cognizant of the different interacting layers in an adolescent’s ecology that promote growth or inhibit negative outcomes, our overarching research investigation seeks to unpack how pathways and developmental trajectories differ for at-risk students from low SES backgrounds (Yeo, Tan, Jamaludin, 2022) through a bioecological lens (Bronfenbrenner, 2009). Specifically, we recognize bidirectional influences between low SES adolescents’ development and their surrounding environmental contexts, ranging from micro individual factors such as neurophysiology and lifestyle to macro factors such as socio-economic indexes and systemic safety nets. 

PT7 seeks to investigate pathways and developmental trajectories of at-risk adolescents defined as disadvantaged students in the bottom 25 per cent of Singapore’s socio-economic index. Specifically, we aim to understand developmental trajectories, developmental pathways, and predictive pathways of at-risk adolescents with a view towards expanding the knowledge base of at-risk etiologies and vulnerabilities while predicting protective or buffering factors towards desired adolescent outcomes (specifically resiliency, self-efficacy, socio-emotional wellbeing and educational achievement and future outlook, hereafter termed as RISE outcomes). 

Traditionally, students' SES has included parental education, occupation, income and home possessions (e.g., PISA ESCS index). In this study (and others that have been conducted in the local context), our measure of SES will include student-reported parent education, household type (public to private) and family economic resources (possession of car, availability of domestic help and international travels). Where data is available, we may include enrolment in specific social services for more refined selection. In our view, the indicators used in this study are consistent, in principle, with those employed internationally. Additionally, the research design of this programme also has a qualitative component that would provide in-depth investigations into the factors influencing educational pathways.

This sub study is anticipated to harness insights and recommendations for at-risk intervention researchers and practitioners.


Funding Body: Ministry of Education (Commissioned Study)

PI: Asst Prof Azilawati Jamaludin

Co-PIs: Dr Imelda Santos Caleon, Dr Ser Hong Tan, Dr Aik Lim Tan, Assoc Prof Andy Khong Wai Hoong


Interventions to improve children’s lives often target singular health outcomes, despite psychosocial and physical health being intertwined.  We propose an 60 month (9,997,677 SGD), research program examining the impact of improving caregiver sensitivity; sensitivity predicts common psychological and biological mechanisms (e.g., prefrontal cortex development and cortisol) that support children’s executive functioning (EF) and emotional and physical wellbeing. Objective One: We will develop and pilot three programs.  The first two programs will target caregiver sensitivity, especially in health-related contexts:  O (Own-Video Feedback) will follow meta-analytic guidelines by providing individualized feedback to participants based on their own video recordings, and so will be unlike any other program offered in Singapore;  V (Vicarious Video Viewing) will follow O’s structure and deliver similar content but without individualized feedback.  E (NeuroEducation) will purposefully not target sensitivity instead focusing upon brain education. Objective Two: We will use an intention to treat Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) design, to test 3-arms (i.e., O, V, and E) in 636 lower SES dyads.  We hypothesize  O>E at post-2-months with regards to observed sensitivity and childhood outcomes (i.e., EF, externalizing behavior, and BMI). We additionally hypothesize O>V>E, given O’s individualized aspect.  To determine the best times to intervene we will examine child age (ranging from 2-5) as a moderator. In a subsample we will examine longer-term outcomes. Objective Three: To understand mechanisms of action, and to improve personalized treatment, we will create a neurobiological battery. We hypothesize moderating influences (e.g., child expressed dopamine-related polygenetic scores) and mediational pathways (e.g., hair cortisol, salivary insulin, EEG asymmetry). Objective Four: We will conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis comparing the approaches. Economic benefits include the potential to market V and E as self-administered programs, and O’s capacity, with support from MOE, ECDA, and Mendaki, to impact children’s EF, behavior, and health, and so ultimately human capital. 

Funding body: A*STAR Human Potential- Prenatal Grant 2023

Lead PI: Dr Anne Rifkin-Graboi

Team PI: Asst Prof Mary Chong Foong Fong (NUS), Prof Michael Meaney (McGill University)

Co-Investigators:  Dr Goh Kok Yew Shaun, Dr Khng Kiat Hui (Fannie), Dr Rosanne Jocson, Dr Astrid Schmied, Asst Prof Alicia Marie Goodwill, Assoc Prof Setoh Pei Pei (NTU), Dr Jack Fogarty

Collaborators: Dr Yang Yifan, Assoc Prof Victoria Leong (NTU), Dr Michelle Kee Zhi Ling (SICS, A*STAR), Prof Marinus van Ijzendoorn (UCL), Prof Marian Bakermans-Kranenburg (Inst. of Applied Psych., Lisbon), Adj. Assoc Prof Helen Chen Yu (Duke-NUS, KKH), Dr Dennis Wang (A*STAR Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences;  A*STAR Bioinformatics Institute, NUS School of Medicine; Genomic Medicine & Bioinformatics, Dept. Neuroscience and Computer Science, University of Sheffield)

Aims: International research finds Twenty-first Century Skills (21 CS) important to human capital, health, and school success. Determining how 21 CS's (e.g., emotional regulation, communication, perspective taking, planning, and flexibility) develop within Singapore's unique linguistic and cultural milieu can inform science and policy to help Singaporean families. Methodology: Recruitment of roughly 980 children from the Bedok and Punggol polyclinics will occur over 2 years. Children and their families will participate in a cross-sequential study, which is similar to a longitudinal study but with differing points of entry to minimize cohort effects. Recruitment will follow the health booklet schedule with children entering the study at one of four designated time points (4-5 months, 5-7 months, 16-19 months, or 34-38 months). Depending on the age of study entry children will take part in 2-8 clinic visits, with the last clinic visit occurring when children are 4 years of age. A combination of questionnaires, eye tracking, video recordings, and direct testing will be used to assess child development and environmental influences upon its growth. Importance of proposed research to science or medicine: By school entry children already display individual differences in 21 CS, and these early life differences may predict later mental health, educational success, well-being, and even physical health. Better understanding the development of individual differences within the local context will enable the creating of more targeted and cost-effective prevention and intervention programs at appropriate stages of early development.

Lead PI: Dr Anne Rifkin-Graboi

Co-PIs: Dr Yue Yu, Dr Yang Yang. Dr Peirina Cheung, Dr Zheng Lifeng (Duke-NUS), Assoc Prof Tan Ngiap Chuan (Duke-NUS), Dr Stella Tsotsi, Dr Quah Yan Ling (Duke-NUS, NTU), Dr Lee Ke Yao, Dr Jambay Dorji, Dr Goh Ziying, Dr Galih, Kunarso, Dr Waschl Nicolette Amanda Reed, Dr Goh Kok Yew, Shuan, Prof Poon Kin Loong, Kenneth, Dr Khng Kiat Hui, Dr Sun He, Dr Xie Huichao

Collaborators: Nah Yong Hwee, Ms Tanjilyn, Chen Mo, Jose David Munez Mendez, Dr Ng Ee Lynn, Dr O'brien Beth Ann

Selected Projects


In the early years of childhood, the brain undergoes various stages of neurodevelopment and remodeling based on a child’s experiences. In particular, children between the ages of 4 to 5 years will significantly advance their skills in observing and interacting with the world around them. It is also between the ages of 4 to 5 years that most children will develop the skills to focus attention for extended periods, recognize previously encountered information, recall old information, and use it to make decisions in the present. During this stage of development, long-term memory in children begins to form that involves storing information about the sequence of events during familiar situations. Another emotional capacity that develops during early childhood that is an important component of positive social behavior is empathy. Children with empathy can understand the causes, effects, and behavioral cues characteristic of various emotions in a sophisticated way. As a result, they start to understand that certain emotional cues can suggest what another person is feeling. Cues may include another person's facial expressions, spoken thoughts, or behaviors such as laughing or crying. In view of a child’s development during the younger years, several environmental factors have been proposed that heavily influences a child’s neurocognitive, physical, emotional and psychological development. Two of the biggest environmental factors in today’s context have been identified that is physical activity (or lack of) and sedentary behavior associated with digital media use. Longitudinal studies in adults and older children have found clear positive associations between physical activity on cognition and emotional functioning. Further, other studies have reported poorer psychosocial and emotion wellbeing associated with greater use of digital media platforms. However, the role of physical activity and digital media use play in younger children (4 to 5 years), on cognitive, physical, emotional and psychosocial wellbeing are less understood. Considering the prevalence and ease-of-access to digital media devices such as handphones and tablets, this study will have direct implications for policies and guidelines around the use of digital media and physical activity during and outside of school hours. In collaboration with the SUNRISE project, a global study of physical activity levels in young children, we aim to use non-invasive gold standard physical activity monitoring methods (i.e. hip-worn accelerometers) and established international protocols to 1) provide first-hand evidence for the level of physical activity in younger children in Singapore and 2) make direct comparisons to other cohorts of different geographical, cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Further we aim to use age-appropriate gold standard physical and cognitive tests to ascertain the level of physical and mental development of younger children in Singapore. Additional to the physical and cognitive tests, parent and teacher questionnaires will be used to evaluate social and emotional skills both during and outside of school hours.

Funding body: Education Research Funding Programme (Tier 1)

Lead PI: Asst Prof Teo Wei Peng 
Co-PI: Dr. Kiat Hui Khng, Prof Michael Chia Yong Hwa
Collaborator: Prof Anthony Okely (University of Wollongong)


The aim of this interdisciplinary study is to investigate the effectiveness of leucine versus protein supplementation on enhancing quality weight loss in elderly. Specifically, whether leucine or protein supplementation can preserve or improve: 1) muscle mass and outcomes relating to sarcopenia (age-associated loss of muscle mass, strength, and/or physical function), 2) body fat reduction, 3) bone mass, bone mineral density (BMD) and overall bone health, 4) health biomarkers relating to diabetes, cardiovascular, liver and kidney profiles, as well as 5) cognitive function and psychological measures of mood, hunger, appetite and satiety, during 4-weeks of alternate-day fasting in older men (≥ 60 y). A 3-arm double-blind randomised controlled study design will be employed with leucine and protein supplementation adjusted to body mass. The main hypothesis of this study is that leucine and protein supplementation would improve or preserve muscle and sarcopenic outcomes during weight loss in older men compared to control, with no significant difference in outcomes between the leucine and protein groups.

Funding body: MOE AcRF Tier 1

Lead PI: Dr Yang Yifan
Co-Investigator: Dr Zhao Yan (SBS, NTU)
Collaborator: Dr Bobby Cheon (NIH; USA)