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  Newsletter Issue 3, 31 August 2013

Gold Sponsor


"Early Human Development & Fetal-Maternal Medicine"

18 -19 November

Matrix Building Level 2 & 2M
30 Biopolis Street, Singapore 138671

Silver Sponsors

Bronze Sponsors













Dear Members, Delegates, Friends, and Colleagues

With the Newsletter, Issue 3 we continue to update you about the upcoming Stem Cell Society Singapore Symposium 2013.

Issue 3 features abstracts, bios and questionnaires of Larry Stanton from Genome Institute of Singapore and of Jan Brosens from the Division of Reproductive Health, Warwick University, UK.

The symposium will provide excellent and exciting networking opportunities for you to meet fresh up with your friends, colleagues and collaborators in the stem cell field. You will also learn more about the role of stem cells in early development and the possible use of in fetal-maternal medicine.

We would like to congratulate our last week's featured speaker Fuchou Tang for the publicaton of an excellent paper:

Single-cell RNA-Seq profiling of human preimplantation embryos and embryonic stem cells. Yan L, Yang M, Guo H, Yang L, Wu J, Li R, Liu P, Lian Y, Zheng X, Yan J, Huang J, Li M, Wu X, Wen L, Lao K, Li R, Qiao J, Tang F. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2013 Aug 11. doi: 10.1038/nsmb.2660. [Epub ahead of print]. View abstract.

Count Down: only 80 days remaining to the symposium!

Information for Exhibitors:

If you are interested in exhibiting with us to showcase your capabilities, services and products, to your customers check out your opportunities HERE. Booths are selling fast and there are only limited opportunities left!

Further Updates:

Symposium hotel: For our overseas attendees, we have negotiated a special room rate at our symposium hotel which is just across the road and in walking distance to the venue. The hotel is also close to public transport facilities such as buses and the MRT. If you would like to consider staying in this hotel, click here.

Poster abstract submission:

1 October 2013

Poster abstracts can be submitted during your online registration.


To register and submit your abstract, click HERE.

To learn more about the symposium, follow this LINK.

Contact us HERE.

With best wishes and with the hope to welcome all of you at the Symposium in November,

The Organizing Committee Stem Cell Society Singapore Symposium 2013

Featured Speakers  


Genome Institute of Singapore

A Long Non-coding RNA interacts with Sox2 to regulate neurogenesis


Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are abundant in the mammalian transcriptome, and many are specifically expressed in the brain. Using a loss-of-function screening approach, we previously identified a set of human lncRNAs that are indispensable for neurogenesis. Recent work in our lab now provides mechanistic insight into the role of one of these lncRNAs in modulating neurogenesis.  Biochemical studies revealed that lncRNA RMST physically

associates with SOX2, a key transcription factor known to control neural stem cell fate. By means of genome-wide chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) and chromatin/RNA association analyses, we show that RMST behaves as a transcriptional co-regulator of SOX2, and that this SOX2/RMST complex regulates many common target genes.


Biography PubMed


Lawrence Stanton holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the State University of New York, Stony Brook and trained as a Research Fellow in the laboratory of Dr J. Michael Bishop, Nobel Laureate, at University of California San Francisco. He has 25 years of experience in applying molecular biology approaches to understanding a variety of biological problems. He joined the Genome Institute of Singapore in 2002, where he serves as an Associate Director. He holds Adjunct Professorships at the Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, and School of Biological Sciences, Nanyang Technological University. His current research is focused on the molecular characterization of transcriptional regulatory networks in stem cells and disease-specific iPSC cells with the aim to direct the growth, differentiation, and reprogramming of these cells into therapeutically useful tissues and models of human diseases. 

He began his studies on differentiation of human embryonic stem cells while Director of Functional Genomics at Geron Corporation.  Prior to that, he worked at Agilent Technologies and Scios Inc, where he held senior research and management positions in drug discovery. He has authored more than 70 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals, is an inventor on 11 patents, an active member of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR), is on the editorial board for the journals Stem Cells and Current Molecular Medicine, and serves on the Executive Committee of the Stem Cell Society of Singapore.  In 2011, together with colleagues from GIS, he was awarded the prestigious President’s National Science and Technology Award (Singapore).

What was the first phenomenon you can recall that fascinated you to do science?

I come from a family of tropical fish enthusiasts and it was fascinating to me at a young age the mating behaviours of fish the we raised.

What is your most memorable career achievement?

As a graduate student I was the first to clone and sequence the c-myc gene and show that it was activated by chromosomal translocation in B-cell tumors. I published 2 Nature papers in 1983-84.

Who are your scientific heroes/role models and why?

Linus Pauling. He was a great scientist (Nobel Prize in Chemistry) and used his scientific stature to influnece important social issues (Nobel Peace Prize). Of course he also posited that DNA was a triple helix and advocated mega doses of Vitamin C as health supplements.


What attracted you to a career in Science?

I like doing discovery work and figuring out how things work.

What's the best advice you ever had?

Go somewhere exciting to do a post-doc (I went to San Francisco).

What's the worst advice you ever had?

Buy stock in drug companies.

What’s your motto in life?

Life is unpredicatable.






Division of Reproductive Health, Warwick Univesity, UK


The role of endometrial progenitor cells in reproductive failure  

The human endometrium undergoes rapid cycles of proliferation, differentiation (decidualization), and menstrual shedding. Emerging evidence suggests that this process of constant renewal bestows plasticity on the endometrium, enabling it to adapt to reproductive failure. The endometrium is rich in mesenchymal stem-like-cells (eMSCs), which are immuno-privileged compared to other types of stem cells. Whether or not the eMSC population plays a role in early pregnancy failure is not known. A single marker (W5C5 / SUSD2) allowed rapid magnetic bead separation of W5C5(+) and W5C5(-) cells from timed mid-luteal biopsies from patients (n=54) suffering conception delay or recurrent pregnancy loss. W5C5(+) cells compromise 6.3±3.9% of stromal cells in the endometrium and are 11.5-fold [W5C5(+) median 2.3, range 0.2-11.2; W5C59(-) median 0.2, range 0-5.9] enriched in clonogenic cells. The relative abundance of clonogenic W5C5(+) or W5C5(-) cells in the endometrium does not change with age.

However, women suffering recurrent pregnancy loss have significantly lower levels of clonogenic W5C5(+) cells in mid-luteal phase of the cycle (P<0.001). Furthermore, there was significant correlation between the abundance of clonogenic W5C5(+) and the number of previous miscarriages. When expanded in vitro, W5C5+ cells give preferentially rise to W5C5(-) cells, and vice versa, thus restoring the ratio of W5C5(+) and W5C5(-) cells within 3 days of culture. However, the quality of the decidual response differs profoundly between primary cultures originating from purified W5C5(+) and W5C5(-) cells; characterized in the latter by heightened expression of anti-inflammatory and decidual markers. Taken together, our data show that both W5C5(+) and W5C5(-) cells undergo population self-renewal to maintain endometrial homeostasis. Relative deficiency of clonogenic endometrial progenitor cells is associated with an aberrant decidual response that predisposes for subsequent pregnancy failure.

Biography PubMed  
Jan Brosens graduated from the Catholic University Leuven, Belgium in 1990 and pursued postgraduate training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in the United Kingdom. He became a Member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in 1995 and a Fellow of the College in 2008. He obtained a Ph.D. from the University of London in 1999 working on the mechanisms underpinning the preparation of the lining of the womb  (endometrium) for pregnancy, a process called decidualization. He was awarded a Wellcome Trust Clinical Scientist Fellowship in 1998. He joint Imperial College London, first as Chair of Reproductive Sciences (2004) and then Chair of Reproductive Medicine (2008). In May 2011, he was appointed as Chair of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Warwick. In this capacity, he also leads the Division of Reproductive Health, one of six academic divisions that make up Warwick Medical School. He is a member of the editorial boards of Molecular Endocrinology and Hormones and Cancer and has authored over 135 papers and numerous book chapters on clinical and molecular aspects of reproduction and cancer.

Who are your scientific heroes/role models and why??

My father; 82 and still working away.

What influenced you to pursue stem cell research?

No escaping the topic when working on the endometrium.

What are the main issues confronting stem cell researcher?

A rigid and flawed concept of ‘stem cells’.

Which is the single most factor driving or inhibiting the broad clinical application of stem cells?

A rigid and flawed concept of ‘stem cells’.

What do you think about stem cells as a business model??

Let’s first work on the science!

What's the best advice you ever had??

Become a clinician scientist

What's the worst advice you ever had??

Become a clinician scientist

What would you tell a student asking you for advice whether to pick up a career in the stem cell field?

Think broad and laterally.