Report by Professor Richard Reynolds
On 18 November 2020, the Department of Brain Sciences and the UK Dementia Research Institute at Imperial College London hosted a joint neurodegeneration and dementia workshop with the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine) in Singapore, co-organised by LKCMedicine Professor of Neuroscience & Mental Health George Augustine and Imperial Professor of Cellular Neurobiology Professor Richard Reynolds. The virtual event, the first in a series, was attended by 150 researchers in the UK and Singapore and was aimed at promoting research collaborations between the two institutions in the area of Neuroscience and Mental Health. After an introduction by Professor Reynolds, Imperial Faculty of Medicine Dean Professor Jonathan Weber and LKCMedicine Dean Professor James Best followed with their opening remarks. Professor Paul Matthews and Professor George Augustine then gave short presentations on Neurodegeneration research at both institutions.
The event, chaired by Imperial’s Dr Johanna Jackson, included short talks on the role of genomics, environmental modifiers, molecular mechanisms and synapses from Imperial researchers Dr Raffaella Nativio, Dr Sam Barnes, Dr Marco Brancaccio and Dr Yu Ye, matched with presentations from LKCMedicine’s research faculty, Foo Jia Nee, Suresh Jesuthasan, Anna Barron and Tsukasa Kamigaki.
This was followed by a roundtable discussion with the presenters concerning ways to develop more collaborations to enhance research potential across Imperial Brain Sciences and LKCMedicine, which was moderated by LKCMedicine Vice-Dean for Research Professor Lim Kah Leong and Imperial Brain Sciences Advanced Research Fellow Dr Johanna Jackson.
During the workshop, participants expressed interest in collaboration and suggested creating a joint information portal for all researchers in both institutions to look for collaborative opportunities, as well as developing more joint international funding. A number of joint funding initiatives are being developed to stimulate exchange visits and to fund joint PhD studentships and postdoctoral fellowships. Full details of these schemes and how to become involved will be circulated when available.
The next workshop in the series is already being organised by a small committee of early career faculty and researchers and the topic and possible date will be announced shortly.