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  Newsletter Issue 2, 6 September 2016




"Modeling Cell Fate & Development"

7 - 8 November 2016

Matrix Building

30 Biopolis Street, Singapore 138671












The second newsletter of the Stem Cell Society Singapore Symposium 2016 is featuring two symposium speakers:

Hongjun Song, Johns Hopkins University, USA.

Hongjun will talk about the use of brain organoids derived from human stem cells for studying disease mechanisms of the Zika virus infection. Given the recent emergence of the virus in Singapore, this talk certainly is timely and it will help to understand how the virus might cause microcephaly in unborn babies. Unravelling the underlying mechanisms how the virus causes damage in human brain development is a first step towards a targeted cure.

Akshay BHINGE, Genome Institute of Singapore.

Akshay will share with us some insights into using iPSC-based disease modeling of the
progressive neurodegenerative disease Lateral Amyotrophic Sclerosis (ALS).

Travel and Student Fellowships

The Stemcell Society Singapore offers Travel and Student Fellowships supporting students with limited access to funds to participate in our symposium. Deadline for applications is the
11 September 2016
(only 5 days left for submitting an application). Find more information
about the fellowships here.

Deadlines nearing: The early-bird registration and the oral-abstract submission deadline end on the 13 September 2016. Take this last opportunity to submit an oral abstract with your registration and be selected as a speaker to further your career by presenting your work to global experts.

To learn more about the symposium, please proceed to our Symposium Webpage.

Booth at the exhibition hall are selling fast and booth sales will end on the 30 September 2016. More information for Exhibitors


Important deadlines for the Symposium 2016:

Fellowships application: 11 September

Early Bird registration: 13 September

Oral Abstract submission: 13 September

Poster abstract submission: 26 September.

Online registration closes: 24 October.

To register, click HERE.

Contact us HERE.

We look forward to welcoming you in Singapore soon!

The Organizing Committee "Stem Cell Society Singapore Symposium 2016"


Featured Speakers  

Hongjun SONG

Johns Hopkins University, US

Understanding Zika virus-induced microcephaly using brain organoids


In response to the current global health emergency posed by the Zika virus (ZIKV) outbreak and its link to microcephaly and other neurological conditions, we employed human stem cell-based platforms to model ZIKV infection. Transient ZIKV exposure of brain forebrain-specific organoids leads to preferential, productive infection of neural progenitors, as well as increased cell death and reduced proliferation, resulting in decreased neuronal cell-layer volume resembling microcephaly.

From a drug repurposing screen of ∼6,000 approved drugs and drug candidates, we identified compounds that either inhibit ZIKV infection or suppress infection-induced caspase-3 activity in different neural cells.



Biography Lab webpage PubMed


Hongjun Song, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Neurology and The Solomon Snyder Department of Neuroscience and Director of the Stem Cell Biology Program at Institute for Cell Engineering of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The research in Dr. Song’s laboratory focuses on plasticity in the adult mammalian nervous system, in particularly, adult neurogenesis and neuroepigenetics. His laboratory also uses patient-derived stem cells to model brain development and neurological disorders.

He was listed as a Thomson Reuter Highly Cited Researcher in 2014. He serves on a number of editorial boards and is currently Editor-in-Chief of Frontiers in Biology. Dr. Song has won several awards including the Klingenstein Fellowship Awards in the Neuroscience, McKnight Scholar Award, Young Investigator Award from the Society for Neuroscience, and Jacob Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award from National Institute of Health.


_Genome Institute of Singapore

Pathways dysregulated in ALS identified by genome editing, iPSC modelling and RNA-sequencing  

Although mutations in several genes with diverse functions have been known to cause Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), it is unknown to what extent, if any, causal mutations impinge on common pathways that drive neurodegeneration. In this study, we combined iPSC-based disease modeling with genome engineering and deep RNA-sequencing to identify pathways dysregulated in human motor neuron (MN) due to SOD1 and FUS mutations.

Gene expression profiling and pathway analysis followed by pharmacological screening identified several pathways commonly perturbed in ALS MN. Our results indicate that networks dysregulated in ALS converge on specific drug-responsive pathways and provide immense therapeutic potential.

Biography PubMed  

Dr. Akshay Bhinge obtained his degree in Clinical Medicine and Surgery (M.B.B.S.) from Grant Medical college, Mumbai, India and his Masters in Biomedical Engineering (M. Tech) from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, India. He joined Dr. Vishwanath Iyer's lab at the University of Texas at Austin, USA for his doctoral work graduating with a Ph.D. in 2009. His doctoral thesis focused on identifying downstream targets of oncogenic transcription factors and microRNAs in human primary and cancer cell lines by developing novel genomics tools based on next-generation sequencing technologies.

In 2010, he joined Dr. Lawrence Stanton's group as a postdoctoral fellow at the Genome Institute of Singapore. His postdoctoral work aims at modelling human neurodevelopment and neurodegeneration using pluripotent stem cells. He has published more than 20 peer-reviewed articles and is also a recipient of the Career Development Award, Singapore.

© 2016 Stem Cell Society Singapore