February 2014| ISSUE 10
Inaugural LKCMedicine Postdoctoral Fellowship Awarded




By Lisa Li
Assistant Director, Communications & External Relations

The Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine) Postdoctoral Fellowship was established in 2013 to enable the School to nurture its own cadre of research fellows and clinician scientists in its identified research areas of interest who have the potential to eventually grow into full-fledged faculty roles at the School. The research areas cover neuroscience and mental health, metabolic disease, infectious disease, bioengineering including structural biology, and health services outcome research.

Open to new or recent PhD graduates who have received their PhDs within three years from a reputable university and possess a promising research record, each Fellowship award is for a period of three years with an annual research grant of up to S$100,000.

The first recipient of the LKCMedicine Postdoctoral Fellowship is Dr Hou Han Wei who began his appointment on 2 January. A National University of Singapore alumnus who graduated with First Class Honours and obtained his PhD in Bioengineering, Dr Hou received his postdoctoral training at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and he will bring to LKCMedicine expertise in the highly innovative microfluidics (”organ on a chip”) technologies that are being pioneered at MIT.

Dr Hou will be conducting his research project entitled “Microfluidic Technologies for ex-vivo modelling of Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB) function: Mechanistic Studies of gut microbiota-brain interactions” in the
laboratory of Professor Sven Pettersson and under the co-mentorship of Professor Pettersson and Professor Walter Wahli.

Dr Hou Han Wei in the lab

Explaining his research, Dr Hou says, “My previous research focused on high throughput microfluidics and blood-based biomedical diagnostics. At LKCMedicine, I aim to continue working in this area to
develop novel point-of-care technologies and at the same time, perform multidisciplinary explorative studies using microfluidic platforms to investigate biological phenomena in well-controlled microenvironment that are difficult to visualise and quantify in vivo.”

To aid his research, he is aiming for further collaborations within LKCMedicine and NTU’s College of Engineering (School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, School of Chemical and Biomedical
Engineering), as well as with external research institutions such as Singapore Institute for Neurotechnology (SINAPSE) and Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research & Technology (SMART).

Dr Hou says, “I am extremely honoured to be the inaugural recipient – it is an excellent opportunity to join a new medical school, and with an engineering background, I believe I can enhance my research experience repertoire through close collaborations with clinicians from LKCMedicine and hospitals. It will be challenging as well as rewarding to work with scientists from various disciplines and I am definitely looking forward to kick-starting my research journey with LKCMedicine!”

LKCMedicine invites applications for the LKCMedicine Postdoctoral Fellowship every April. To apply or for further information, please visit our website (www.lkcmedicine.ntu.edu.sg) or contact Dr Ng Sean Pin (seanngsp@ntu.edu.sg), Deputy Director, Collaborative Research and Contracts.