Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Metabolomics & Lipidomics
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

A*STAR and NUS Launch Joint Centre

Published: Thursday, October 10, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, October 10, 2013
Bookmark and Share
The S$148 million centre will study the role of nutrition and early development in health and disease in Asia.

The National University of Singapore (NUS) and A*STAR will be jointly establishing the S$148 million Singapore Centre for Nutritional Sciences, Metabolic Diseases, and Human Development (SiNMeD). This collaboration between the NUS's Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (YLLSoM) and A*STAR's Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences (SICS) is set to become the leading centre in Asia for research in the nexus between nutritional sciences, metabolic diseases and human development.

SiNMeD will focus on fundamental, clinical and translational research to understand the role of nutrition and early development in the onset and progression of obesity and metabolic diseases like diabetes. Research on the nutritional needs of Asians is lacking and this will be a special focus of the programme. The key research programmes are in early development which will focus on mother and infant nutrition, growth and developmental epigenetics; nutritional sciences which aim to develop strategies for optimal nutrition; and metabolic diseases which will study obesity and insulin resistance in Asians. This is significant to Singapore as it addresses the rising incidence of obesity and diabetes in an Asian context, with up to 25% of the Singapore adult population projected to have type 2 diabetes by 2025.

These research programmes build on existing collaborations, which have already attracted significant investments from major food and nutrition companies who recognise the value of research to develop innovative products for their consumers. SiNMeD's research programmes will expand on the success of the unique and internationally recognised GUSTO birth cohort study, as well as the EpiGen consortium - an international alliance of the world's leading epigenetics researchers.

SiNMeD will be the focal point in Singapore for clinicians, scientists and companies to explore research collaborations in nutritional sciences, epigenetics, developmental determinants of chronic diseases and metabolic disease. "This is the time to bring these multidisciplinary and complementary programmes with NUS together under one umbrella. The SiNMeD investigators have demonstrated the ability to work together to garner both peer-reviewed academic support and to partner with industry in collaborative research programmes" says Professor Judith Swain, MD, Executive Director of A*STAR's SICS and Lien Ying Chow Professor of Medicine at NUS' YLLSoM.

There is growing interest in how the incidence, progression, and treatment of diseases may be different in Asia, and how Asian preferences and culture influence human development and the maintenance of health throughout life, especially the burning topic of "healthy ageing". As Singapore has excellent healthcare and research capabilities, and is well positioned to study health and disease in Asian populations, it provides a strong value proposition for companies seeking to develop products for Asia's diverse populations. Leading nutrition companies like Danone and Abbott have already established research units in Biopolis in Singapore, while others like Nestle have a strong history of research collaborations with A*STAR.

Dr Benjamin Seet, Executive Director of A*STAR's Biomedical Research Council said, "SiNMeD's research will help us to understand how the food we eat can lead to epigenetic changes in our DNA, which will in turn, either protect or predispose us to diseases like obesity and diabetes. This opens up new approaches to prevent and treat these diseases." He added, "This area of research represents a strategic research thrust for A*STAR and Singapore. If we do this well, it will provide a unique and very competitive platform that will conduct cutting-edge research, as well as serve to strengthen our partnerships with some of the world's largest nutrition companies."

SiNMeD will also serve as a focal point for talent development of all levels from undergraduate and graduate students, to post-doctoral and clinical fellows, both locally as well as internationally. SiNMeD will be a magnet for attracting the best young trainees and faculty who are interested in human development, metabolic diseases and nutritional science.

"Our knowledge of how optimal nutrition and lifestyle can delay or prevent disease onset in Asians is sadly lacking. SiNMeD will pool the expertise of NUS and A*STAR to greatly improve our knowledge of this area, to the betterment of society," said Prof Barry Halliwell, NUS' Deputy President (Research and Technology) and Tan Chin Tuan Centennial Professor.

SiNMeD will be headed by its Founding Director Associate Professor Chong Yap Seng of NUS, who also serves as the Deputy Executive Director of SICS. SiNMeD will be made up of a strong team of clinical and basic scientists from A*STAR and NUS, leveraging on the key capabilities of both institutions.

Associate Professor Chong Yap Seng explained how international and local researchers have been brought together to work on this important area in Singapore. He said, "The S$25 million Metabolic Translational and Clinical Research (TCR) Flagship Programme grant awarded by the National Research Foundation in 2008 brought clinical investigators from NUHS, KKH, SGH and TTSH together with researchers from SICS and other A*STAR research institutes. With our partners from the UK and New Zealand in EpiGen, we had the critical mass of talent and resources to compete on the world stage. We have never looked back since."

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,800+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Asia's First Under-One-Roof Nutritional Research Centre Set Up in Singapore
Singapore to be hub in Asia for nutritional sciences with Clinical Nutrition Research Centre.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Scientific News
Gut Microbes Signal to the Brain When They're Full
Don't have room for dessert? The bacteria in your gut may be telling you something.
Turning up the Tap on Microbes Leads to Better Protein Patenting
Mining millions of proteins could become faster and easier with a new technique that may also transform the enzyme-catalyst industry, according to University of California, Davis, researchers.
Drug May Prevent Life-Threatening Muscle Loss in Advanced Cancers
New data describes how an experimental drug can stop life-threatening muscle wasting (cachexia) associated with advanced cancers and restore muscle health.
Cancer-Fighting Tomato Component Traced
The metabolic pathway associated with lycopene, the bioactive red pigment found in tomatoes, has been traced by researchers at the University of Illinois.
Circadian Clock Controls Insulin and Blood Sugar in Pancreas
Map of thousands of genes suggests new therapeutic targets for diabetes.
Cellular Stress Process Identified in Cardiovascular Disease
Combining the investigative tools of genetics, transcriptomics, epigenetics and metabolomics, a Duke Medicine research team has identified a new molecular pathway involved in heart attacks and death from heart disease.
Predicting Adverse Drug Reactions with Higher Confidence
A new integrated computational method helps predicting adverse drug reaction—which are often lethal—more reliably than with traditional computing methods.
A New Way to Starve Lung Cancer?
Metabolic alterations in lung cancer may open new avenues for treating the disease.
Evidence of How Incurable Cancer Develops
Researchers in the West Midlands have made a breakthrough in explaining how an incurable type of blood cancer develops from an often symptomless prior blood disorder.
Building a Better Liposome
Computational models suggest new design for nanoparticles used in targeted drug delivery.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,800+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,000+ scientific videos