Immunology

 

The LSI Immunology Programme at NUS brings together 30 immunologists at NUS and NUH. Its goal is to nucleate the immunology community and cement ties with local research institutions and hospitals for a seamless translation of basic science to clinical medicine.

Comprising 19 full members, the team is a multiskilled and multidisciplinary team of scientists with differing but complementary expertise. 10 of our principal investigators (PI) labs are now located under one roof at the Centre for Life Sciences, operating on an open laboratory concept, facilitating inter-lab communication and encouraging collaboration.

Our new core facilities, which will aid development of key technologies, include the following:

  • Flow Cytometry and Cell Sorting
  • Fluorescent and Confocal Microscopy
  • Dark Rooms – Biochemistry and molecular biology
  • Transgenic and gene knockout mice – Bacterial and viral containment

We have close links with researchers at Biopolis, NTU and Singapore’s hospitals. Internationally we have strong collaborations with Cambridge, University of Glasgow, Walter and ELISA Hall Institute, Monash and Melbourne Universities and Imperial and University College, London, MIT and Whitehead Institute, USA.

Key Objectives

  • To develop a world class centre for immunology research
  • To work with the hospitals to translate immunology research into clinical practice
  • To attract academic immunology talents to Singapore
  • To provide a cohesive platform for clinical and basic immunologists in Singapore to interact and exchange views

Research Areas

Research in the IP focuses on three fundamental aspects of the immune system: antigen processing and presentation, regulatory T cell networks, and inflammatory and infectious disease. Our expertise will be focused on four main areas: infectious disease, tumour immunology, vaccine development and clinical immunology.

Research Highlights

The programme is developing strengths in molecular immunology, monoclonal antibody technology, infectious disease immunology and transgenic mice. The “asthma mouse” project has succeeded in generating a CD4 T cell receptor (TcR) transgenic mouse that recognizes the major allergen of the tropical mite Blomia tropicalis. Generation of a corresponding dust mite-specific transgenic mouse is in progress.

A large grant has recently been secured in an existing collaborative project, bringing in two new members of the programme to produce CD8 T cell receptor transgenic mice to the same antigens. This has implications for both the pathophysiology of tuberculosis and tumour directed immunotherapy. There are currently over 40 collaborative projects between IP members and the hospitals (NUHS, SGH and TTSH).

Some of these have resulted in large grants (e.g. Dengue, SLE) and will lead to discoveries that improve the quality of life of Singaporeans and others in Asia. For example the Cambridge-NUS SLE study has already identified major genetic differences between north Europeans and Singaporeans. Within NUS, new links are forming, for example on the regulation of the IL-12 family of cytokine genes with Prof Fu, our new head of Biochemistry (discoverer of STAT 1, 2 and 3).

A strong partnership has been established between the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research (CIMR) and the IP around SLE and two major grants have been won here from the NMRC and from the MRC and Wellcome in the UK. There are strong links with the Inflammation, Infection and Immunity programme in Glasgow and two of the IP members are working there at present. Additionally new collaborations have developed with the Baden-Wurttemberg Universities in Germany, the Hebrew University in Israel, University College London in the UK, and with the Whitehead Institute and MIT in the USA.