February 2018 | Issue 34


LKCMedicine hosts Global Young Scientists Summit 2018 participants

On 24 January, a group of brilliant young minds gathered at the Experimental Medicine Building (EMB), as participants of the Global Young Scientists Summit (GYSS) 2018. This visit to the medical school was part of a wider tour of NTU's Yunnan Garden campus. Hosted by NTU this year, the participants comprised outstanding PhD and post-doctoral fellows under the age of 35 hailing from prestigious universities such as University College London, Karolinska Institutet, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, National University of Singapore and many others.

Over the course of five days, the GYSS provides a stimulating platform for promising students to interact with eminent scientists and researchers from all over the world. At LKCMedicine, the participants first met with LKCMedicine Nanyang Associate Professor of Molecular & Cellular Biology and National Research Foundation Fellow Karen Crasta, who presented on the School's research strategy and themes. Assoc Prof Crasta also shared about the different labs located at both EMB and the Clinical Sciences Building at LKCMedicine's Novena campus. Following her presentation, the participants asked many questions about the School's research themes and the Postdoctoral Research Fellowship.

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Assoc Prof Crasta shares the LKCMedicine research values and themes to the participants

Suthat Saengchoowong, a 34-year-old PhD student at Chulalongkorn University-University of Liverpool in Thailand listened to the presentation with keen ears as he recognised a similarity between one of LKCMedicine's research themes and his research interest in mycobacterium resistance against the influenza virus. Speaking about his interest in seeking collaborations with like-minded researchers, he said, "It is exactly this opportunity to learn from experienced scientists and researchers and the collaboration possibilities that prompted me to join the GYSS." Suthat added that he saw Singapore as a good ground for research collaboration and looks forward to such opportunities in the near future.

Assoc Prof Crasta, who was a GYSS mentor herself in 2013, said, "It was gratifying to know that the young scientists were genuinely considering Singapore and LKCMedicine as a choice to pursue their scientific career path." Having received the National Research Foundation Fellowship in 2013, Assoc Prof Crasta joined her first GYSS that year as a newly-minted Principal Investigator. The GYSS reinforced a sense of responsibility in her as a Principal Investigator to be a mentor to young minds starting to learn about science.

The next stop for the participants was the Cognitive Neuroimaging Centre (CoNiC), where LKCMedicine Deputy Director and Head of Operation for Centre for Neuroimaging Research Dr Parasuraman Padmanabhan guided the visitors around the state-of-the-art facilities, which included a 3-Tesla MAGNETOM Prisma MRI scanner.

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The participants visit CoNiC, awed by the state-of-the-art-facilities 

Another highlight for the GYSS participants was the zebrafish laboratory, in which Assistant Professor of Developmental Biology Tom Carney explained his latest work which makes use of zebrafish as an experimental model to find out more about epidermal development and disease. For many of the participants, this was their first time stepping into a zebrafish nursery. They left the lab intrigued, excitedly chatting about their experience.

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Asst Prof Carney introduces his research in zebrafish to the participants​

"The main aim of GYSS is to inspire and inculcate the joys of scientific discovery in young scientists," said Assoc Prof Crasta, who strongly recommends the summit as an excellent opportunity for budding scientists and researchers to gain insights.