COURSE INSTRUCTORS

Danielle ANDERSON, PhD, is the Scientific Director of the Duke-NUS Medical School ABSL3 laboratory and her research interests include understanding the virus/host relationship of a diverse group of medically important negative-stranded RNA viruses that includes Measles virus, Mumps virus and Nipah virus. These paramyxoviruses are not only responsible for a high degree of morbidity and mortality worldwide but also cause encephalitis.  In addition, Dr Anderson utilises novel diagnostic platforms for the identification of not only new paramyxoviruses, but also other clinically relevant emerging infectious diseases, such as MERS and Zika virus.

Sarada BULCHAND, PhD, is a scientist and educator. She is currently a Senior Research Fellow with the Office of Education at Duke-NUS. She leads faculty development projects at the Academic Medicine-Education Institute and is a key member of the Career Development Program at the Office of Graduate Studies. She received her PhD from NUS in Molecular Biology for research on the genetic underpinnings of muscle development. Her postdoctoral work at Duke-NUS led her to investigate the metabolic condition of obesity induced insulin resistance. As an educator she is trained in Team Based Learning and has served as guest faculty at the Centre for Excellence in Basic Sciences, University of Mumbai, and at the Fellowship in Team Based Learning at Duke-NUS. In exploring new educational ventures, she led the Science Communication Office at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai. She aims to blend her extensive research experience with innovative areas of education to foster life-long learning.

CHAN Kuan Rong, PhD, is a virus immunologist, specializing in elucidating the role of antibodies in dengue virus infection. Dr Chan is a Senior Research Fellow in the laboratory of Professor Ooi Eng Eong in the Programme of Emerging Infectious Diseases at Duke-NUS. During his doctoral studies, Dr Chan identified two co-receptors, Fc-gamma receptor IIB and leukocyte immunoglobulin-like receptor B1, that are involved in antibody-mediated dengue virus neutralization and infection enhancement, respectively. He translated his in vitro findings into a proof-of-concept clinical trial, where he showed that a narrow range of cross-reactive antibodies can enhance dengue virus infection clinically. Dr Chan’s postdoctoral research focuses on exploring the use of cross-reactive antibodies to boost efficacy of live vaccines, with the ultimate aim to develop vaccines that are safe and immunogenic.

LEE Cheng Jie Irene, PhD, was a biochemist/cell biologist working extensively to characterize the underlying signal transduction involved in unfolded protein response, a homeostatic cascade activated to combat cellular stress. Failure to respond to cellular stress often results in cell death and the pathogenesis of human diseases. She has extensive research experience using gene-editing technology, RNA interference, immunoprecipitations, cell imaging, gene-array/ribosomal profiling and chemical genetic screening to dissect the molecular function of key proteins.  Recently, with her strong passion in medical education, she is now a post-doctoral fellow in medical education at Medical Education, Research and Evaluation department, Duke-NUS. Given her vast research experience, she is tasked to promote the improvement of preclinical education at Duke-NUS, i.e., the basic science curriculum. In addition, she will also be conducting educational research to encourage innovation and promote the science of education. She aims to combine her past experience and passion for teaching in promoting excellence in medical education.

Suhail Ahmed Kabeer RASHEED, PhD, is a molecular biologist keen on elucidating the role of complex signaling pathways in tumorigenesis, metastasis and drug resistance. He is an Assistant Professor in the Programme of Cancer and Stem Cell Biology at Duke-NUS. In addition, he is a trained expert in Team Based Learning and is a co-coordinator of the GMS1000 module. He has recently shown that a specific GTP binding protein (G13, encoded by GNA13) is highly expressed in solid tumors including prostate, breast and head and neck cancers and induces drug resistance by inducing a cancer stem cell like program in these solid tumors. Using overexpression and ShRNA mediated knockdown of GNA13 in primary cancer cells he is keen on elucidating the mechanisms that mediate the induction of cancer stem cells and drug resistance in variety of solid tumors. He is an expert in genome editing using CRISPR/CAS9, post transcriptional gene regulation through microRNAs and mouse xenograft models to test drug resistance and cancer stem cell phenotypes. Ultimately, Dr. Rasheed aims to understand the mechanisms that drive drug resistance and metastasis in solid tumors and identify novel targets to treat cancers in the future.

WONG Peiyan, PhD, is an animal behavior neuroscientist. She is currently a Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Pharmacology at NUS, where she manages the Neuroscience Phenotyping Core Facility. In addition, she is a Senior Research Fellow at MERE, Duke-NUS, where she is the co-director of the GMS1000 module and a facilitator of the Molecules, Cells and Tissues course. She has devoted much of her research career to understanding how the brain works. This is because she has always found the complex organisation of the human brain and the amazing cognitive abilities that it allows to be fascinating. Her work at the core facility gives her the opportunity to work with animal models for a variety of neurological disorders. However, her personal interest lies in furthering the understanding of the neurobiological underpinnings of neuropsychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, by using mouse models that have dysregulated homeostasis of their neurotransmitter systems. She hopes that her work will contribute to the development of better therapeutic agents for these neuropsychiatric disorders.

YAP Yan Wen Lynn, PhD, is a stem cell biologist, specialising in the maintenance and differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells. She uses biologically relevant tissue-specific matrix called laminin to replace mouse tumor matrix extract (Matrigel). Laminin provides specific signaling to the stem cells for pluripotency maintenance or germ layer specification to differentiate stem cells into specific cell types such as cardiomyocytes. She is a Senior Research Fellow in the Programme of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disorders under the supervision of Professor Karl Tryggvason. In her post-doctoral research, she showed that the cardiovascular progenitor differentiated with her defined laminin-based protocol is able to regenerate injured myocardium and subsequently identified a set of cardiovascular progenitor signature genes.

ZHOU Jin, PhD, is a cell biologist focusing on the role of autophagy in glucose and lipid metabolism, as well as the dysregulation of autophagy in metabolic diseases and aging. She is currently a Senior Research Fellow from the Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disorders Programme at Duke-NUS. She has recently demonstrated the dysregulation of autophagy and mitochondrial turnover in muscle from aged mice, which is associated with a metabolic signature contributing to insulin resistance. She has ongoing projects investigating the underlying mechanism in genetic mutation caused defective autophagy and lipid metabolism. The ultimate goal is to offer autophagy inducers as pharmacological intervention in metabolic diseases and aging.