Medical Sciences Cluster Day - NUS Medical Sciences Cluster

At the inaugural Medical Sciences Cluster (MSC) Day, held on 15th August, 2018 we welcomed back more than 200 academics, administrative and laboratory staff to celebrate the beginning of a new academic year. The day started with a short meeting in the CRC auditorium, followed by lunch and a concurrent exhibition by the various platforms (core facilities) in the ground level in MD6.

Professor Hooi Shing Chuan, Chair of MSC, in his welcome address, shared the cluster’s vision statement: “Inspiring Science for Health”.  This statement was conceived by the cluster leadership and it is closely aligned with the recently unveiled vision statement of NUS Medicine: “Inspiring Health for All”. Prof Hooi then proceeded to outline the activities of MSC since its formation, and emphasising that the main focus of MSC is to bring the medical sciences community closer together through the integration of impactful research and high quality education. To  achieve some of these goals,  MSC decided to (1) provide 3 grants directly to three of our research programmes, (2) collaborate with Biomedical Institute for Global Health Research and Technology (BIGHEART), in conjunction with the Office of the Deputy President (Research and Technology), Centre for Healthy Ageing, and the Department of Surgery to jointly launch a seed grant call to support projects in the area of Microbiome in Health, Disease and Ageing, and (3) to initiate a ncRNA Core Facility Service Grant.

Subsequently, Dr Cheong Jit Kong (Dept of Biochemistry) who heads the MSC ncRNA Core facility, briefed everyone on the ncRNA Core Facility Service Grant and encouraged interested researchers to apply. This joint grant call is established in partnership with MiRXES, a local startup company founded by Prof Too Heng-Phon (Dept of Biochemistry).

Dr Chen Zhi Xiong (Dept of Physiology) who is the lead in the education initiative in MSC then updated the meeting on the establishment of the newly formed Asia-Pacific Biomedical Science Educators Association (APBSEA) and urged everyone to join as members. He also outlined the aim of the Educators’ Matching Scheme, which is to connect MSC educators with NUH clinicians in the teaching of medical students. Such initiatives are helpful to expand educators’ network and reinforce curriculum integration.

At the exhibition, various research core facilities and platforms put up interactive booths to showcase their services and technologies. They include data analytics, drug discovery and optimisation, electrophysiology, confocal microscopy, flow cytometry, electron microscopy, neuro-phenotyping, lipidomics, transgenic and gene targeting and xenograft cancer models. The purpose was to heighten awareness of their availabilities and create opportunities for collaboration in the MSC and the School. The newly formed NUS Medicine Postdoctoral Association was also present with the aim of a membership recruitment drive.

A new year means new beginnings. As a community, let us explore new opportunities, and meaningful collaborations as we strive towards “Inspiring Science for Health”!