Autophagy - NUS Medical Sciences Cluster



Autophagy is an evolutionarily well conserved process in which intracellular proteins and organelles are engulfed into autophagosome, which eventually fuse with lysosomes for degradation. At present, it has been well established that the autophagic process is controlled by a group of proteins encoded by autophagy-related genes (ATGs) and autophagy plays critical roles in many cellular processes including cell stress response, cell survival, cell death, metabolism, and immunity, etc. More importantly, autophagy is closely implicated in many important human diseases such as cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, metabolic diseases, infectious diseases and ageing. In 2016 Dr Yoshinori Ohsumi was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for his ground-breaking work in identifying the ATGs in yeast. Currently, autophagy remains an important research topic in biomedical research, with the aim to develop novel therapeutic approaches by targeting or manipulating autophagy for important human diseases.  

Our Mission

The MSC Autophagy Programme will provide a platform to bring together the researchers with a common interest in autophagy across the 5 basic medical science departments, but also facilitate collaboration and partnership with other researchers, including clinicians from Singapore and overseas in this exciting research field. Our ultimate aim is to build and develop a world-class research programme to perform cutting edge research in autophagy, from basic mechanisms to translational/clinical applications.


Who We Are

We are faculty members and researchers in the basic science departments within the NUS Medicine with a shared interest in study of autophagy, from basic mechanisms to translational/clinical application.


What We Do
At present, we already have a strong team working on the following topics related to autophagy:

  1. Autophagy in cancer cell biology, including cell death, cell cycle and cell survival
  2. Autophagy in neurodegenerative diseases including PD and AD
  3. Autophagy in ageing
  4. Autophagy in muscle biology
  5. Autophagy in immunity and infection
  6. Autophagy in nanobiology
  7. Selective autophagy, including mitophagy
  8. Lysosomal biology in neuroscience
  9. Development of novel techniques in study of autophagy


The Way Forward

The MSC Autophagy Programme provides an excellent platform to bring together all researchers in the cluster to work to achieve something pivotal and more significant on autophagy. Looking forward, we anticipate to establish closer collaborations between basic scientists and clinicians, researchers within and outside the cluster, and local and overseas autophagy researchers. We will establish a network to share knowledge/reagents, to build up state-of-art techniques/resources and to nurture young scientists, to be supported by program grants.


Faculty Involved in the MSC Autophagy Programme

Researcher Department Description of Research
Shen Han-Ming  (Facilitator) Physiology Autophagy in cancer cell biology,Lysosome


Bay Boon Huat Anatomy Autophagy in cancer biology,Autophagy in nanobiology
Hu Qidong Anatomy Autophagy in neurodifferentiation
S Thameem Dheen Anatomy Autophagy in neurodegenerative diseases
Baeg Gyeong Hun Anatomy Autophagy in redox signaling and stem cell biology
Markus Wenk Biochemistry Autophagy in lipid metabolism
Marie-Veronique Clement Biochemistry Redox biology and lysosome biogenesis
Long Yun Chau Biochemistry mTOR signalling and autophagy
Brian Kennedy Biochemistry/Centre for Healthy Ageing Autophagy and ageing
Alan Prem Kumar Pharmacology RNA helicases as drivers of autophagy in cancer
Fred Wong Pharmacology Autophagy in immunity and infection
Gautam Sethi Pharmacology Autophagy in Cancer Biology
Wang Jigang Pharmacology/Centre for Healthy Ageing Autophagy in Chemical Biology
Pervaiz Shazib Physiology Cancer cell signalling, apoptosis,reactive oxygen species
Celestial T Yap Suen Mei Physiology Cytoskeletal proteins and autophagy in cancer
Reshma Taneja Physiology Autophagy in muscle biology
Lim Kah Leong Physiology Autophagy in neurodegenerative disease
Soong Tuck Wah Physiology Autophagy in neurodegenerative disease
Lim Hsiu Kim, Lina Physiology Autophagy and viral infection
John Chua Jia En Physiology Autophagy in neurodegenerative disease
Mallilankaraman Karthik Babu Physiology Autophagy in mitochondrial biology
Tsai Shih-Yin Physiology Autophagy in ageing/muscle biology
Ling Shuo-Chien Physiology Autophagy in neurons and glia, neurodegeneration and ageing
Saji Kumar Sreedharan Physiology Regulation and roles of autophagy in synapses
Thiruma Valavan Arumugam Physiology Autophagy and stroke/ageing
Esther Wong Physiology/Centre for Healthy Ageing Autophagy/CMA and ageing