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Research Programmes

A.   UHS-SPH Integrated Research Programme (USIRP)

The UHS-SPH Integrated Research Programme is a joint programme between the University of Health Sciences (UHS), Cambodia and the School. USIRP is led by Principal Investigator Associate Professor Hsu Li Yang and aims to “develop a strong infectious disease capability, and establish strategic regional and global partnerships in public health”. Together with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the team is also working on epidemiological, modelling and genomics studies with local partners in Cambodia such as the National Institute of Public Health.

B.  Breast Cancer Prevention

Led by Programme Leader Associate Professor Mikael Hartman, the Breast Cancer Prevention Programme centres on different stages of prevention through stratifying the population genetics, lifestyle and exposure to other environmental triggers.

The programme aims to decrease breast cancer mortality rates, without increasing the burden of breast cancer to the healthcare system. We are currently conducting projects interested in understanding the risk factors of breast cancer in the local population, diagnostics, prognostication and quality of life for cancer patients. We also collaborate with local, regional and international partners to assemble large population-level cohorts to study risk factors to breast cancer, and with clinicians at the Singapore General Hospital and the National Cancer Centre, develop screening regimes tailored to individuals.

Working with colleagues at the National University Hospital, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates, the programme investigates the incentives and factors influencing the behaviour to seek early diagnosis and treatment, and evaluate new techniques to perform early diagnosis. Our anthropological research looks at how populations across Asia behave in terms of BrCa.

For cancer patients, the programme has developed prognostic models specifically tailored to local populations to identify individuals with risk of complications. This includes the largest national-level programme focused on mammographic density, which brings together clinicians from five hospitals. We are also conducting research to study quality of life issues in cancer survivors, including returning to work, sexuality, body image concerns, long-term side effects, neuropathy and cardiovascular side effects.

C.  Public Health Genomics

The Public Health Genomics Programme is led by Programme Leader Professor Teo Yik Ying and comprises two sub-programmes in Pathogen Genomics and Regulatory Pharmacogenomics:

1. Pathogen Genomics

The Pathogen Genomics arm utilises next-generation sequencing technologies to survey the genomic diversity of infectious disease pathogens such as:

  • Dengue virus
  • Malaria P. falciparum parasite
  • Tuberculosis MTB
  • New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase 1 bacteria
  • HIV virus

We aim to develop and apply statistical methodologies to measure intra- and inter-patient pathogen diversity, and contribute to national efforts in infectious disease control and surveillance. A flagship initiative is the Southeast Asia Tuberculosis Network, which aims to establish a centralised and curated database for whole-genome sequence data.

2. Regulatory Pharmacogenomics

The Regulatory Pharmacogenomics arm targets the evaluation of public health implications to population-level differences at genetic variants functionally associated with adverse reactions and differential drug dosaging. We work closely with the Health Sciences Authority in areas of pharmacogenetics, pharmacovigilance and cost-benefit assessments of genetic screening. 

D. Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Programme 

Led by Programme Leader Associate Professor Hsu Li Yang, he aims to build a comprehensive antimicrobial resistance (AMR) programme at the School focusing on the public health aspects of the problem. This programme will leverage on existing strengths at SSHSPH (bioinformatics, health systems research, modelling, epidemiology, health economics, and public health network) while playing a coordinating and/or participatory role in other aspects of AMR research and control in Singapore and the region. 

E. Physical Activity and Nutrition Determinants in Asia (PANDA)

One of the School's interdisciplinary research programmes, PANDA aims to better understand and promote physical activity and nutrition behaviors in an urban Asian setting. An important focus is the interplay between individuals and their environment and the use of mobile technology to continually monitor lifestyle behaviors and their determinants. Insights from this research will be used to develop and implement novel interventions to prevent obesity and chronic diseases in the Singapore population. The programme is co-led by Assistant Professor Falk Müller-Riemenschneider and Associate Professor Rob M. van Dam and includes researchers with expertise in behavioral sciences, epidemiology, nutrition and physical activity assessment, and data analytics.

The programme comprises of three interlinked research areas, which build on each other. These key research areas are:

  1. Study of the physical, socio-cultural, political and economic environmental factors that influence food choice and physical activity.
  2. Evaluate how the interaction between individuals and their environment affect their diet and activity patterns in real-life, using mobile technology and ecological momentary assessment methodology. The adaptation and scientific evaluation of assessment strategies for diet and physical activity is a part of this research area.
  3. Develop and evaluate dynamically tailored real-time interventions in education and work settings. This will include the use of a combination of technology-based real-time interventions and environmental changes.


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