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NUS and UCL host virtual neurobiology symposium

The three-day symposium explored the potential for future collaborative neuroscience projects between NUS and UCL

NUS and University College London (UCL) hosted the three-day NUS-UCL Virtual Neurobiology Symposium on 2, 9 and 15 July 2020 to explore the potential for future collaborative projects and scientific synergies in neuroscience.

Neuroscience is a well-established area of research collaboration between both universities, and this recent symposium was established to strengthen this synergistic relationship. The event was co-organised by Professor Barry Halliwell and Professor Soong Tuck Wah from the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine on behalf of the University, and Professor Giampietro Schiavo and Professor Claudio Stern on behalf of UCL.

The symposium featured presenters from both universities working in neurodegeneration and aging. About 100 researchers attended each of the three sessions.

Professor Chen Tsuhan, NUS Deputy President (Research & Technology), said, “I am delighted to see this symposium come to fruition after a number of years of discussion between colleagues at UCL and NUS. NUS truly values its partnership with UCL and initiatives like this are an excellent way to deepen the links between our two world-leading institutions. This symposium showcases the excellent quality of research at both universities and we hope it is the first of many more to follow.”

“The global nature of the current pandemic demonstrates that international collaboration is vital to addressing major societal challenges,” said Professor Deenan Pillay, UCL Pro-Vice-Provost (International). “This three-day programme, involving world-leading scientists from NUS and UCL, shows how partnerships can continue to deliver impact, even during a period of remote working. I look forward to seeing the projects that I am sure will come out of the three days of discussion.”

The event began with a session chaired by Prof Soong and Prof Schiavo to discuss how neurons and glia interact in neurodegeneration. In that session, Prof Halliwell gave insights into the current research of novel anti-oxidants and neurodegenerative disease. During the symposium, scientists from both NUS and UCL also discussed topics on the biology of neurodegeneration as well as circuits and synaptic homeostasis.

Prof Halliwell said, “This exciting event highlighted cutting-edge research on a wide range of topics in neurobiology, but also helped spark ideas for future research, and pioneered new collaborations to accelerate innovation in the field.”

Building on the success of the symposium, UCL is planning to launch a seed funding scheme to support a series of follow-up visits to NUS. This will promote bilateral scientific collaborations and further consolidate the partnership, once travel restrictions due to COVID-19 are lifted.