December 2014 | ISSUE 15
News roundup

NTU ranks high in Nature Index
NTU has debuted in the top 50 in the inaugural Nature Index, which seeks to provide an indicator of patterns of high-quality research output across the globe. The index also includes national research organisations. NTU was ranked 42nd worldwide. At the country level, Singapore ranked 17th internationally.

Click here to read more on TODAYonline, The Straits Times, Lianhe Zaobao and 938LIVE on Xinmsn.


Gut-residing microbes influence blood-brain barrier permeability
On 20 November 2014, The Straits Times reported that a study in mice showed that the natural gut-residing microbes can influence the integrity of the blood-brain barrier, which protects the brain from harmful substances in the blood. According to the international team of researchers led by LKCMedicine’s Professor Sven Pettersson, the findings provide experimental evidence that our gut microbes contribute to the sealing of the blood-brain barrier before birth. Published in Science Translational Medicine, the team demonstrated that the transport of molecules across the blood-brain barrier can be regulated by gut microbes, opening the possibility for better treatment for diseases including brain cancers and enabling healthy ageing.

Read the research paper here and The Straits Times article here.


LKCMedicine’s innovative approach to teaching gets School shortlisted for the 2014 Wharton-QS Stars Awards
LKCMedicine’s innovative and technology-enhanced approach to learning was shortlisted for a Wharton-QS Stars Awards 2014: Reimagine Education. The awards, which were given out at a gala ceremony on 9 December 2014 at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, USA, are the ‘Oscars’ of innovation in higher education.

LKCMedicine’s shortlisted entry showcased the School’s innovative, paperless and completely mobile curriculum built around Team-Based Learning. The global competition received more than 400 submissions from universities and enterprises hailing from 43 countries. The judging panel of 25 international experts then selected the 21 winners.


NTU hosts symposium to showcase best female scientific minds
In conjunction with Marie Curie’s 147th birthday, NTU held its inaugural Women in Engineering, Science and Technology Symposium on 7 November 2014. Aimed at attracting more women to the fields of engineering and science, some of the best local and international female scientists took to the stage during the event, which attracted more than 200 participants. LKCMedicine Professor of Structural Biology Daniela Rhodes FRS was among the speakers who talked what they did and why they became scientists. NTU President Professor Bertil Andersson said a key issue facing a developed economy including Singapore is that women are dropping out of engineering and science at various stages of their lives.


NTU/LKCMedicine-NHG research seminar on neuroscience and mental health
LKCMedicine hosted the fifth NTU/LKCMedicine-NHG research seminar at its Novena Campus on 13 November 2014. The jointly-organised seminar, which focused on neuroscience and mental health, saw various speakers from LKCMedicine and the Institute of Mental Health giving their take on the topic. From LKCMedicine, Professor of Molecular Medicine Dean Nizetic and Associate Professor Daniel Fung presented on a range of topics including modelling ageing and neurodegeneration using induced pluripotent stem cells and serious games as therapy for mental disorders.

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LKCMedicine guest lecture on microcircuits in the mouse striatum
On 4 November 2014, Karolinska Institutet Associate Professor Gilad Silberberg delivered a guest lecture on Microcircuits underlying multisensory integration in the mouse striatum. Assoc Prof Silberberg discussed the importance of unravelling the functional connectivity between different neuronal types to understand how activities within the striatum are orchestrated. He also shed light on the striatal integration of sensory inputs and presented studies where bilateral and multisensory inputs are integrated into the striatum using in vivo patch clamp. 

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LKCMedicine guest lecture on the role of integrins
On 14 November 2014, Dr Srikala Raghavan, Group Leader at the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, delivered a guest lecture titled Breaking barriers: Role of integrins in epithelial homeostasis and sterile inflammation. She discussed the phenotypes of the conditional KO of integrin b1 in skin and how b1 integrin expression in keratinocytes is critical for normal ECM organisation in skin. Dr Raghavan also shared her findings on sterile inflammation in the integrin b1 KO skin, revealing the recruitment of macrophages and T-cells in embryonic b1 KO skin.

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LKCMedicine outreach to introduce Team-Based Learning
Over the last two months, LKCMedicine has given talks and conducted workshops to familiarise teachers, educators and learning designers with Team-Based Learning (TBL), including key concepts such as the flipped classroom, as well as hands-on experiences. The outreach included a training workshop conducted by LKCMedicine Deputy Director for Pedagogical Practice Dr Red Mendoza, which was attended by faculty and learning designers from NTU, NIE and Thailand’s Mahidol University. LKCMedicine Head of Educational Development & TBL Facilitation Dr Preman Rajalingam delivered a keynote presentation at Nan Hua High School’s annual Professional Learning Day, which was attended by more than 150 teachers from 15 schools. 

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LKCMedicine hosts 9th International LAMS and Learning Design Conference
The LKCMedicine E-Learning & IT Services department, together with LAMS International, hosted the ninth International LAMS and Learning Design Conference on 26 and 27 November 2014. Attended by 120 international delegates, the conference offered an opportunity for the LKCMedicine team to share and discuss how LAMS can foster pedagogical innovation, enable a unique flipped classroom experience, and support a gentle learning curve for faculty in their learning design journey.

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LKCMedicine professor at Singapore-U.S. Strategic Dialogue on Biosecurity
Professor of Infectious Diseases and Lead for Global Health and Vaccinology Annelies Wilder-Smith participated in the US-Singapore dialogue on biosecurity held at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at NTU on 12 and 13 November 2014. The two-day dialogue covered many areas around biosecurity, including the exploration of how biosecurity preparedness has enhanced homeland security in Singapore and the US such as from upstream monitoring of state-of-the-art technologies to downstream implementation and deployment of feasible technologies. Prof Wilder-Smith gave a talk on the Ebola response, in particular the controversies around travel restrictions. 

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Visit by University of Health Sciences Cambodia
LKCMedicine hosted a delegation from the University of Health Sciences (UHS), Cambodia, on a four-day visit to Singapore. This followed a visit by an LKCMedicine team led by Dean Professor James Best in October to establish a strong relationship with UHS to explore research collaborations, outreach programmes, student exchanges as well as medical education teacher attachments. Besides hearing about LKCMedicine’s unique features and research strategy, the UHS team, who arrived on 26 November 2014, also had the opportunity to tour the Family Medicine Academy at Bukit Batok Polyclinic, the Institute of Infectious Disease and Epidemiology and Tan Tock Seng Hospital. 

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Visit by Vice President for Research at Northwestern University
On 31 October 2014, Professor Jay Walsh, Vice President for Research at Northwestern University visited LKCMedicine. Prof Walsh learned about LKCMedicine’s unique features, innovative curriculum and research strategy. This was followed by a discussion about the challenges in delivering an innovative medical curriculum as well as the potential areas for collaboration.

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Visit by Regius Professor of Physic and Head of the School of Clinical Medicine, University of Cambridge
Professor Patrick Maxwell, Regius Professor of Physic and Head of the School of Clinical Medicine at the University of Cambridge, visited LKCMedicine on 31 October 2014. Here on a three-day visit under the Biomedical Research Council’s Distinguished Visitor programme, Prof Maxwell was given overviews of NTU, LKCMedicine and insights into the School’s curriculum, research strategy and ongoing campus development. 

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LKCMedicine in the news
On 1 December 2014, Professor Annelies Wilder-Smith from LKCMedicine was interviewed on Channel NewsAsia programme, Between the lines, where she shared her opinions on the slowing down the AIDS trajectory; She was also called upon to share about the value of entry screening to prevent Ebola from entering countries in South China Morning Post on 2 November 2014.

On 12 November 2014, Channel NewsAsia reported that the Steering Committee for the new Science Centre Singapore has been formed, with Nanyang Assistant Professor Juliana Chan on the committee.

LKCMedicine Associate Professor of Exercise Physiology & Metabolic Disease Fabian Lim shared insights about the health benefits of weaving physical activities like cycling into daily living with The Straits Times on 25 October 2014.


LKCMedicine students celebrate Health City Day 
As part of this year’s Health City Day Celebrations by Health City Novena, essential packs of food items and daily necessities were distributed to needy residents of Whampoa on 25 October 2014. Eight LKCMedicine students volunteered to assist in ushering, conducting the morning exercise routine for the residents and distribute the packs. This event allowed students to volunteer alongside doctors and nurses from Tan Tock Seng Hospital and to gain an insight into the lives of the less fortunate in Singapore.

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Games extravaganza pits staff vs students and house vs house
The Staff and Student Games Meet-cum-Inter House Games 2014/2015 was held on 3 December 2014. This was the first year the two events were combined into one with the aim to promote interaction and familiarity between staff and students as well as within LKCMedicine Houses. Staff and students faced off against each other in games including bocce, quidditch and handball. After the end of an eventful day, Lim Boon Keng House emerged as the overall winner. The results from the day’s games count towards the year-long House championship, which concludes at the end of the academic year.

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