From the Editor-in-Chief’s desk

Welcome to the first issue of MEDICUS in 2021. As we embark on a brand new year with hope, courage and a renewed vigour to get through the still rampant global pandemic, the MEDICUS team wishes you good health. Let’s all continue to play our part, so we can beat this—together!

Being an optimist, I feel that COVID-19 has taught us how to rise to a challenge and conquer it with resilience and adaptability. Emergency-use approvals of different vaccines brought some cheer, despite the recent emergence of highly transmissible variants of the virus. The novel self-replicating messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine—LUNAR-COV19 or ARCT-021—jointly developed by Arcturus Therapeutics and Duke-NUS has progressed to the next stage of development following positive Phase One/Two results. And we have more details on this important story.

Our lead story on the future of imaging and the potential that it has to improve lives has us hearing from our subject matter experts as they outline the evolution of medical imaging from a simple static tool to see inside the body to a dynamic and sophisticated source of information that can deliver personalised medicine.

“In Conversation With” features Professor Victor J Dzau, President of the US National Academy of Medicine (NAM), former Duke-NUS Governing Board Member and Duke University Chancellor Emeritus. Through the NAM, Prof Dzau is working to create a healthier future for everyone. He tells us what we can learn from the pandemic, how the NAM will deliver on its vision and why the little red dot will always have a special place in his heart.

There’s another story related to the NAM, and a positive, celebratory one at that—a wonderful profile of Professor Wong Tien Yin, Vice-Dean of Academic and Clinical Development at Duke-NUS, who was elected to the NAM in October 2020. Heartiest congratulations from all of us, Tien Yin!

In this issue, we also carry a story close to my and everyone’s heart in Duke-NUS—an initiative aimed specifically at female researchers that falls under the Women in Science (WinS) Network, called the WinS-Research Scientists Initiative, that aims to empower female scientists in every area of our work.

And we have a treat for you in yet another story in which we showcase the magic of computational biology. By just using EpiMOGRIFY, stem cell biologists can save a bountiful amount of time—and even costs—when culturing cells compared with the traditional methods. Isn’t that exciting?

As usual, we bring you news from our parent universities—Duke University and the National University of Singapore—and our partner, SingHealth, as well as the latest news and happenings from Duke-NUS. Lastly, I would like to remind you to be kind to yourselves, your colleagues and loved ones, because we are living in difficult times and we can only combat this pandemic with science and kindness.

I hope that these stories will be as inspiring to you to read as they were when we wrote them. This is solid evidence of how every day has been spent at Duke-NUS over the last 15 years (we commemorated our 15th anniversary last year and you can read all about it here) making greater things happen for Singapore and beyond.


Anirudh Sharma

Anirudh Sharma

Dionne Seah
Nicole Lim

Writers and contributors
Dionne Seah
Gauri Swarup
Jessie Chew
Nicole Lim
Sean Firoz

Editorial Committee
Christopher Laing, Duke-NUS
Foo Suan Jong, Duke-NUS
Jenne Foo, Duke-NUS
Jenny Ang Thar Bin, SingHealth
Michael Schoenfeld, Duke University
Ovidia Lim-Rajaram, National University of Singapore
Patrick Casey, Duke-NUS
Reza Shah Bin Mohd Anwar, Duke-NUS
Sandy Cook, Duke-NUS