Welcome to our first electronic Vital Science - a Duke-NUS Medical School publication that lets us share our latest advances in research and news about our students, key appointments and upcoming events.

Vital Science started on a modest note with just two 2 printed issues in 2008. As part of our plans to stay closely connected to our faculty, students, staff, donors and stakeholders, we will be communicating our updates through this electronic publication on a quarterly basis.

This first issue gives insights into our medical training and innovative learning methodologies, and also touches on our unique team based learning approach where students are challenged to think critically and creatively. 2 of our young faculty members also outline their exciting research plans - plans that will greatly be accelerated by their National Research Fellowship awards. Lastly, as we all gear up to move into our new building by the middle of this year, we take you on a visual journey of our spectacular campus at 8 College Road.

To kick off this inaugural e-version of Vital Science, I agreed to sit down with the editor for an interview…

The faculty at Duke-NUS describes themselves as charged with creating tomorrow’s leaders in medicine - and beyond that, giving their students a global perspective on emerging diseases. From devoting a year of the curriculum to research to ensuring close access to a world-renown faculty, the deans have initiated a new kind of medical training for their students.

This innovative, ambitious spirit perhaps is best witnessed in the classroom, where students team up to solve medical conundrums based on real clinical cases.

"For a traditional medical education, students sit through lectures and are expected to memorize information that quickly becomes out-of-date,” says Dr. Sandy Cook, Associate Dean of Education. “We hope to instill more than that. In an open, creative classroom where students solve problems as teams, we have the opportunity to draw their attention to the core vales of medicine - to emphasize professionalism and humanism as well as knowledge."

  Illuminating the pathways of
neural stem cells

The National Research Foundation (NRF) Fellowship awards provide funding to exceptional young researchers from around the world to do independent research in Singapore. This year, 2 out of the 10 winners of this prestigious research award are assistant professors at Duke-NUS Medical School - Dr. Lok Shee Mei and Dr. Wang Hongyan. Each with US$1.5 million to spend on their research over the next 3 years, Dr. Lok will use the most leading-edge technologies in her attempts to neutralize the dengue virus, while Dr. Wang plans to expand her studies of neural stem cell proliferation and brain tumor formation to other cancers and model organisms.

By end of May 09, all Duke-NUS staff will be moving into the new Khoo Teck Puat Building, located within the Singapore General Hospital grounds. Here is a sneak peek at some interior and exterior photos of the new premises.

Editor: Maureen Murray
A quarterly publication by the Office of Communications and Development.

For this issue, the banner features research from Dr. Wang Hongyan’s lab (one of the NRF award recipients). Dr. Wang shows that the overgrowth of neural stem cells in the drosophila (fruit fly) leads to brain tumor formation - lending insight into cancer.