First ever meeting of EMBO Gold medalists attracts 300 researchers in Singapore
1. Twelve eminent scientists, winners of the prestigious European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO)
Gold Medal award from 1990-2008, will be in Singapore from 4 to 6 May at the Euro Gold Singapore 2009 symposium. Together
with researchers based here, they will discuss a range of topics in developmental, cell and molecular biology which have
widespread and profound implications on human health and disease.
2. Some topics that will be covered at the symposium include
(Click here for the detailed programme of the symposium):
"Origami with no hands: how genes influence growth and form" - an
opening talk by Enrico Coen 1 , from the John Innes Centre,
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, UK.
Professor Coen used a combination of approaches to demonstrate how
genes modify growth of multicellular tissues to give rise to different 3-
dimensional shapes of organisms during development. He has
developed models to describe how genes interact to dictate flower and
petal formation, and believed that the basic principles could be applied
to understand the development of shape and form in animals.
Metabolism to chromatin remodelling: the CLOCK connection" - a talk
by Paolo Sassone-Corsi from the University of California, Irvine, USA. Professor Sassone-Corsi will discuss the
molecular factors controlling circadian rhythms, which are intrinsic time-tracking systems in the body.
Disruptions in circadian rhythms can lead to a host of diseases including depression, insomnia and jet lag,
which is a huge concern of frequent intercontinental travellers or those on shift work.
"A paradigm for fear" - a talk by Dr Suresh Jesuthasan from the
A*STAR-Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Neuroscience
Research Partnership programme. Dr Jesuthasan is studying the
mechanisms of fear and anxiety in vertebrates at the molecular level.
He will share about his work using stress-induced pheromones to
evoke the "alarm response" that leads to behaviour like freezing or
darting, and how he uses this response to study the neural circuitry
underlying innate fear in the vertebrate brain.
"The role of p38MAPK with advancing age" - a talk by Dr Dmitry
Bulavin, from the A*STAR Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology.
Dr Bulavin will speak about the factors of aging at the molecular level.
He will demonstrate how modulation of gene activity in mice may
provide new avenues for treating certain age-related degenerative
3. Professor Philip Ingham, Deputy Director at A*STARís Institute of Molecular
and Cell Biology (IMCB), and the main coordinator for the symposium, said, "We are
extremely delighted to have such distinguished colleagues join us at this landmark
gathering. We hope that the intellectual discourse and exchange of ideas will foster
new collaborations and lead to ground-breaking solutions for existing clinical
4. Said Professor Neal Copeland, Executive Director of IMCB, "This meeting is
an excellent opportunity for networking and scientific progress. Increasingly, the
Biopolis is becoming the choice meeting point for such high-level, international
science meetings, and IMCB is proud to be part of this growth process. This is also
in line with IMCBís mission to develop and foster a vibrant research culture in
Singapore for the advancement of basic biomedical sciences."
5. Three hundred researchers will attend the Euro Gold Singapore 2009
symposium, which is organized by IMCB and jointly supported by the British High
Commission, swissnex Singapore and EMBO. It is incidentally the first organised
meeting for EMBO Gold medalists since the inception of the annual award in 1986.
6. Many of the invited EMBO Gold medalists, whose outstanding research
contributions had earned them the award when they were under the age of 40, have
since assumed key leadership roles in international research institutes. Past EMBO
Gold Medal winner Dr Jim Smith who now heads the National Institute for Medical
Research in UK, said, "I would like to congratulate and thank Prof Ingham and his
colleagues at IMCB for the successful organisation of this event. It is indeed an
honour to present my latest research findings at this backdrop of cutting-edge
research technologies at the Biopolis."
1 Professor Enrico Coen has won numerous awards and recognition for his work, such as a 1998 election to the
Royal Society in Britain and a 2001 election as a foreign associate of the National Academy of Sciences. He is
also author of the book titled, "The Art of Genes: How Organisms Make Themselves", that was published in
For more information, please contact:
Ms Wang Yunshi
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
Tel: +65 6826 6443
About the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB)
The Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) is a member of Singaporeís
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and is funded through
A*STARís Biomedical Research Council BMRC). It is a world-class research
institute that focuses its activities on six major fields: Cell Biology, Developmental
Biology, Structural Biology, Infectious Diseases, Cancer Biology and Translational
Research, with core strengths in cell cycling, cell signalling, cell death, cell motility
and protein trafficking. Its recent achievements include leading an international
consortium that successfully sequenced the entire pufferfish (Fugu) genome. The
IMCB was awarded the Nikkei Prize 2000 for Technological Innovation in recognition
of its growth into a leading international research centre and its collaboration with
industry and research institutes worldwide. Established in 1987, the Institute
currently has 35 independent research groups with more than 400 staff members.
For more information, please visit: www.imcb.a-star.edu.sg
About the Agency for Science, Technology and Research
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research, or A*STAR, is Singapore's lead
agency for fostering world-class scientific research and talent for a vibrant
knowledge-based Singapore. A*STAR actively nurtures public sector research and
development in Biomedical Sciences, Physical Sciences and Engineering, with a
particular focus on fields essential to Singapore's manufacturing industry and new
growth industries. It oversees 14 research institutes and supports extramural
research with the universities, hospital research centres and other local and
international partners. At the heart of this knowledge-intensive work is human capital.
Top local and international scientific talent drive knowledge creation at A*STAR
research institutes. The Agency also sends scholars for undergraduate, graduate
and post-doctoral training in the best universities, a reflection of the high priority
A*STAR places on nurturing the next generation of scientific talent.
For more information, please visit: http://www.a-star.edu.sg
About the EMBO Gold Medal
The European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) Gold Medal has been
awarded annually since its inception in 1986, in recognition of the outstanding
achievements and exceptional promise of a young scientist working in an EMBO
member state in the broad field of molecular biology. EMBO Gold Medal winners are
regarded as role models for other young scientists in Europe, and have invariably
gone on to become leaders in their fields.
For more information about EMBO, please visit: http://www.embo.org