February 2015 | ISSUE 16
Two promising scholars awarded LKCMedicine Postdoctoral Fellowship

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LKCMedicine Postdoctoral Fellows Dr Lim Shuhui and Dr Rathi Saravanan

LKCMedicine has awarded its prestigious Postdoctoral Fellowship to two promising young scientists, Dr Lim Shuhui and Dr Rathi Saravanan. Dr Lim aims to advance our understanding of the proteins involved in cell cycles, while Dr Saravanan will focus on the wound healing process. Both will take up their fellowships this year.

Launched in 2013, the LKCMedicine Postdoctoral Fellowship is awarded to new or recent PhD graduates with the promise of achieving research excellence and who have the potential to grow into full-fledged faculty roles at the School. The three-year fellowship comes with an annual research grant of up to S$100,000.

A total of 12 promising young scientists applied for the fellowship, but Dr Lim and Dr Saravanan impressed the judges most with their innovative research ideas, knowledge and experience. They join inaugural fellow Dr Hou Han Wei, who is working on microfluidic technologies to model the function of the blood-brain barrier.

Dr Lim, who holds a PhD in biochemistry, is currently working in Professor of Molecular Medicine Dean Nizetic’s laboratory as Senior Research Fellow, focusing on cell cycle control and DNA repair. Before joining the School, she was a graduate student and later a research fellow at A*STAR’s Institute of Molecular & Cell Biology from 2008 to 2013.

Over the three years of the fellowship, she intends to build on her research by studying the non-mitotic roles of cell cycle proteins.

“Since cell cycle protein accumulation is a common clinical feature of various neurodegenerative diseases, a better understanding of their roles in neurons may pave the way for the development of novel therapeutic strategies,” said Dr Lim, who is excited to embark on this new phase of her research career surrounded by world-class experts in neuroscience and state-of-the-art facilities.

Dr Saravanan completed her PhD on structural studies of antimicrobial peptides using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy at NTU’s School of Biological Sciences in 2011, for which she received a graduate scholarship from the university. Dr Saravanan was a postdoctoral research fellow at NTU’s School of Material Sciences & Engineering, focusing on peptide-based design of anti-virals, before joining LKCMedicine at the beginning of the year.

As part of the Dermatology & Skin Biology research theme at LKCMedicine, Dr Saravanan is focusing on endogenous peptides for wound healing and infectionmechanistic studies of host defence peptide-polymeric biomaterial interactions.

“My research will employ an integrated biological-engineering approach – from the discovery of novel antimicrobial peptides, nature’s own ‘antibiotics’, in blood and wounds, to the study of their function, and the potential use as clinically effective novel therapeutics for inflammatory disorders and invasive infections,” said Dr Saravanan.

She hopes to establish many productive relationships with colleagues at LKCMedicine during the course of her work. “I am looking forward to a rewarding career with a young and vibrant medical school,” she added.

Commenting on the fellowship awards, LKCMedicine Vice-Dean for Research Professor Philip Ingham FRS said, “Both scientists have excellent track records and their innovative project ideas nicely complement the School’s existing efforts. They are great additions to our disease research themes.”