June 2014 | ISSUE 12
LKCMedicine hosts inaugural neuroscience workshop

LKCMedicine hosted the inaugural Neuroscience Workshop on Saturday and Sunday, 26 and 27 April 2014. Chaired by LKCMedicine Vice-Dean for Research Professor Philip Ingham FRS, the two-day workshop was enthusiastically received by key basic and clinical neuroscientists from NTU and the wider Singaporean research and healthcare community as well as overseas research partners. The workshop saw high quality presentations spanning molecular and cellular neuroscience to circuits, systems, cognition and clinical neuroscience.

Prof Ingham delivering the Welcome Address at the two-day workshop, which saw enthusiastic participation by key basic and clinical neuroscientists from across Singapore and from overseas research partners

Professor Andrew Jackson from the Medical Research Council’s Human Genetics Unit at the University of Edinburgh gave the keynote lecture on organism growth, brain size and cerebral organoids. Professor Tan Eng King, Director of Research at the National Neuroscience Institute and an NMRC STaR Investigator, shared findings from his team’s translational research on the role of Lrrk2 in neurodegeneration; and Associate Professor Sim Kang from the Institute of Mental Health presented on the testing models of brain dysfunction in psychosis using neuroimaging.

Captivating the audience with the neuro-information processing in sleep and sleep deprivation was Professor Michael Chee from Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School and another NMRC STaR Investigator. Associate Professor Soong Tuck Wah, Head of Department of Physiology at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, shared his insights on RNA editing and alternative splicing of Cav1.3 channels.

From left to right: Prof Jackson delivering the keynote lecture; Imperial's Prof Matthews talked about ways to address major healthcare challenges through targeted discovery and translational neuroscience

From left to right: Other speakers from Imperial Prof Reynolds talking about molecular mechanisms of disease progression in multiple sclerosis; and Prof Knopfel talked about using genetically encoded voltage indicators to illuminate cortical circuit dynamics

From the Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, were Professor Paul Matthews, Head of the Division of Brain Sciences, Professor Richard Reynolds, Deputy Head (Research), Division of Brain Sciences, and Professor Thomas Knopfel, Chair in Optogenetics and Circuit Neurosciences. Prof Matthews introduced the neuroscience and mental health research programme’s structure and strategy at Imperial, while Prof Reynolds shared his latest research on the molecular mechanisms of disease progression in multiple sclerosis, from human tissue to animal models. Prof Knopfel presented on the illumination of the cortical circuit dynamics with genetically encoded voltage indicators.

Prof Knopfel’s presentation set the stage for LKCMedicine Professor of Neuroscience and Mental Health George Augustine, who presented an exciting lecture on optogenetic circuit mapping. Professor Balazs Gulyas, LKCMedicine Professor of Translational Neuroscience, shared his vision of the School’s translational neuroscience programme. LKCMedicine Professor of Molecular Medicine Dean Nizetic presented an isogenic Down Syndrome induced-pluripotent-stem-cell system to model defects in neurogenesis, neuron connectivity and Alzheimer’s neurodegeneration; while Associate Professor Tan Hao Yang, LKCMedicine Visiting Professor, shared his insights on the cognitive brain circuitry and pharmacogenetics in psychosis. Professor Tibor Vellai from Eötvös Loránd University spoke on the autophagy (cellular self-eating) pathway in stem cell maintenance and tissue regeneration.

Novel cutting-edge research in systems and cognitive neuroscience as well as neuroengineering was also presented by leading neuroscientists from NTU’s School of Biological Sciences, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanyang Business School, School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering and School of Electrical and Electronics Engineering.

The resounding success of the Neuroscience Workshop was evidenced by the many new avenues of collaboration and integration highlighted for LKCMedicine with the NTU and Singapore neuroscience community as well as with the neuroscience faculty at Imperial.