|Asst Prof Adriana Lopes dos Santos||I am marine microbial ecologist interested in understanding the structure of marine eukaryotic phytoplankton communities and how environmental factors shape their diversity. They are the core of globally important cycles such as carbon and oxygen and understand the factors that control and maintain their diversity and the structure of their communities, is fundamental to understand our planet. My work combined traditional culture isolation and laboratory studies along with cutting-edge DNA sequencing approaches to elucidate the patterns of marine eukaryotic phytoplankton communities across a wide range of marine environments.
* Marine microbial ecology
* Molecular diversity and taxonomy
* Biogeography of eukaryotic marine phytoplankton
* Dynamics and interactions eukaryotic
|Assoc Prof Ajai Vyas||My main interest is consequences of Toxoplasma gondii infection in its intermediate hosts. Toxoplasma is a protozoan parasite that infects humans and a variety of livestock species. This parasite causes fetal death in sheep and goat when contracted during early and mid-phase of the pregnancy.
Most of Toxoplasma infections in herbivore hosts are initiated through food contaminated with cat fecal material. This is because cats are essential for the sexual phase of Toxoplasma life cycle. Cats are infected when they eat small rodents infected with Toxoplasma, leading to shedding of stable oocysts into the environment in cat poo. Thus the transmission from small rodents to cats provide a bottleneck to Toxoplasma transmission; one that could be useful for control of Toxoplasmosis. I am interested in how Toxoplasma circumvents this bottleneck through biochemical and hormonal subterfuge. I have also shown that Toxoplasma can be sexually transmitted from males to females through ejaculate.
My current research project is situated in Kangaroo Island south of Adelaide. Sheep in this island show remarkably higher rates of Toxoplasmosis compared to mainland South Australia. Conservation authorities are planning to remove all cats from Kangaroo Island in the next few years. This should lead to disruption of Toxoplasma life cycle which needs cats. My goal is to confirm that scientific prediction by measuring epidemiology of Toxoplasma in small rodents and sheep before and after cat removal. This project is in collaboration with the University of Adelaide.
|Dr Alessandra Bonanni||Biosensor technologies
Biosensors are analytical tools which combine a biorecognition agent which provides selectivity and a transducer that confers sensitivity and can convert the biorecognition event into a measurable electronic signal. The advantage of using biosensor over traditional techniques is represented by their low costs, small dimensions, portability, and fast response. The different areas for potential biosensor applications are mainly medical diagnosis, environmental monitoring and food analysis.
DNA analysis is of extreme importance to solve problems of different nature such as investigation on genetic diseases, detection of food and water contamination by microorganism, studies on breeding origins or tissue matching, and solution of forensic issues. The techniques for genome identification are nowadays mainly based on DNA sequencing by using fluorescent labels and optical detectors. They require a few days for the analysis to be completed and the costs are prohibitive to the general public. Demand has never been greater for innovative technologies which can provide fast, inexpensive and reliable genome information.
The focus of my research is on the development of analytical tools (biosensors) for the rapid, reliable and low cost identification of DNA sequences. In order to achieve that, different electrochemical techniques are used for the detection of the analytical signal. The developed biosensors are based on various platforms (such as gold, carbon and silicon) and different nanomaterials (i.e. gold nanoparticles, graphene nanoplatelets and several quantum dots) are employed for the amplification of the obtained signal and the improvement of detection limit.
The final step of this work is the application of the developed genosensor to real sample analysis. Once this second part is successfully accomplished, the analytical tool could be eventually integrated into a DNA amplification process, resulting in a portable device for point-of-care diagnostic tests and for very sensitive detection of SNPs correlated to different diseases.
This field includes research in the two following areas:
- Application of DNA genosensors to identify of DNA sequences correlated to bacteria involved in food contamination (i.e. Salmonella spp, Listeria monocytogenes, Escherichia coli)
- Development of electrochemical biosensors for the detection of antioxidant capacity of food and beverages
|Asst Prof Alexander Ludwig||Cell polarity is a fundamental property of almost all cell types, and its loss or deregulation frequently leads to human diseases such as cancer. My lab is interested in the mechanisms that establish and maintain apico-basal polarity of epithelial cells. We are particularly interested in understanding how membrane compartmentalization controls cell polarity, on the cellular, molecular, and structural level.
One line of research focuses on the apical junctional complex (AJC), an intricate membrane compartment that is located at the boundary between the apical and the lateral membrane. The AJC plays many important roles in epithelial cells; it connects adjacent cells into a tight monolayer, it controls the passage of molecules across epithelial tissues, and it serves as a diffusion barrier that physically separates apical and baso-lateral membrane components. In addition, the AJC serves as a signaling and trafficking platform for epithelial morphogenesis and plasticity, and it is linked to the cortical cytoskeleton to regulate tissue mechanics. We are interested in the nanometer-scale organisation of the AJC and in identifying and functionally characterising novel regulators of this intriguing multi-functional membrane domain.
Another line of research tackles the regulation of the protein network that sets up cell polarity in the first place. Here we focus our efforts on the polarity proteins Par, Scribble and Crumbs, which are central to the establishment and maintenance of cell polarity. We are interested in the molecular and spatial organization of the polarity network, and in understanding how this network functions in time and space.
My lab combines cell biological, biochemical, and structural approaches with high-resolution imaging including light and electron microscopy and correlative imaging.
|Assoc Prof Alfred Tok Iing Yoong||1) Carbon-based Field-Effect Transistor Sensors
The biosensors market, which is currently at USD 9.9 billion, is expected to reach USD 18.9 billion in 2019 (GIA Report, 2014) propelled by the growing population and health issues. Our group capitalizes on this emergent market and researches on disposable and low-cost sensor suitable for real-time sensing in field conditions. Our group focuses on sensors for biological and gas detection applications.
2) Synthesis of Nanostructured Materials using Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD)
Atomic layer deposition (ALD) has evolved to be a unique tool for nanotechnology with atomic level control of the depositions, 3D conformity and homogeneity. Film depositions can be realized for complex non-planar topographies for a wide range of applications such as energy conversion and storage, nanoparticle catalysts, nanostructures for drug delivery, gas separations, sensing, and photonic applications. Our group focuses on ALD materials for solar cell, hydrogen generation and smart window applications.
3) Hard & Tough Materials for Ballistic Protection Application
The next generation of military vehicular and soldier system requires light-weight materials with high strength-to-weight ratio. Our research focuses on the synthesis and densification of nanostructured materials & desired composite architecture to significantly raise the ballistic protection capability. The B-C-N-O group of compounds are potential candidates to form novel materials for ballistic protection application as they inherent the unique properties from both boron nitride and boron carbide which are known for their light weight, high hardness, low friction coefficient and high wear resistance. Prof Tok leads a team of collaborators in armour material research ranging from high temperature synthesis of novel superhard materials and consolidation by state-of-the-art Spark Plasma Sintering to advanced characterisation techniques such as depth of penetration test using Two-Stage Light-Gas Gun.
4) Institute for Sports Research
Our group is involved in the Institute for Sports Research, working on the damping property of midsoles which is based on carbon nanotube (CNT). CNT’s high aspect ratios (length/diameter) is particularly desirable for mechanical reinforcement, and it is found that the vertical aligned (VA)CNTs perform well in damping, to dissipate the energy absorbed under compression (Figure 7). Our present job is to tune the damping property of VACNT by adjusting the length, diameter and area density etc. parameters and try to reinforce the polymer with VACNT to fabricate midsole material with better cushion property.
In accordance with the objectives of the Energy Thrust Program of the NRF-CREATE Project, our group is focused on the design and synthesis of highly functional nanomaterials, which enables energy harvesting and conservation. Recently, novel graphene oxide synthesized nanoballs and nanoflowers were synthesized. These exhibit potentials for supercapacitors and energy applications. In general, these activities results in above 50 publications, 17 patent applications and projects discussions with companies regarding commercialization possibilities.
|Assoc Prof Ali Miserez||Structural properties of biological materials from the macro-scale to the nano-scale
Multi-scale structural and mechanical properties of biological materials, including biominerals.
Elastomeric and structural properties of bioelastomers
Protein chemistry of sclerotized hard-tissues from marine organisms, such as Cephalopod
Single-molecular force spectroscopy of structural and elastic proteins
Underwater adhesion mechanisms of adhesive proteins
RNA-sequencing and proteomics of extra-cellular biological materials
Advanced Metal/Ceramic composites
Experimental Fracture Mechanics
|Asst Prof Amartya Sanyal||The main focus of our research is to understand 3D genome organization inside the nucleus and its impact on transcriptional regulatory code during mammalian development, differentiation and disease. Please visit Sanyal Lab webpage (http://www.ntu.edu.sg/home/asanyal).
Human genome is organized in highly complex conformations inside the nucleus. How this three-dimensional organization of chromatin affects gene regulation is largely unknown. Genome-wide annotations of genes and functional regulatory elements do not give an insight into which regulatory elements control any given gene. Long-range looping interactions between gene promoters and distal genomic elements such as enhancers are known to be important for regulation of transcription. The advent of Chromosome Conformation Capture (3C)-based techniques and its high-throughput adaptations has made it possible to detect spatial proximity and high-resolution chromatin interactions between genomic elements.
We are particularly interested in understanding how non-coding sequence variants identified by genome-wide association studies (GWAS) contribute to human disease risk and pathogenesis. In the past decade, genome-wide scans of SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) in populations have identified many genomic loci associated with the predisposition to disease. The observed associations are possibly driven by linkage disequilibrium with the disease-associated region in vicinity. However, >90% GWAS SNPs do not map to coding regions suggesting these variants may, in fact, affect gene regulatory mechanism and involved in controlling the expression of distal target genes, the identity of which remain unknown. Connecting the GWAS SNPs to their target genes would aid in understanding genotype-phenotype relationships in disease and in designing effective treatment and therapeutics.
In our lab, we intend using high-throughput genomic methods, genome-editing and imaging techniques in combination with bioinformatics and computational approaches to understand structure-function relationship of chromatin. Overall, we are trying to decipher the regulatory mechanisms of cell- and tissue-specific gene expression in relation to 3D chromatin architecture, epigenetic mechanisms (chromatin modifications) and binding of trans-acting factors to understand various biological processes in normal and disease conditions.
|Assoc Prof Arindam Basu||Low-power Reconfigurable Mixed-signal design, Neural recording systems, Computational neuroscience, Nonlinear dynamics, Smart sensors for hearing-aids/ultrasound etc, Neuromorphic VLSI
|Prof Atul N. Parikh||Membrane biophysics
biologically inspired materials
synthetic chemical biology
|Asst Prof Ayumu Tashiro||Our lab studies the function of hippocampus circuitry through an interdisciplinary approach combining virus-mediated genetic manipulation, optogenetics and unit recording techniques in behaving rodents. The hippocampus is well known for its functions in memory formation. We are interested in how neuronal circuits in the hippocampus mediate these functions. We particularly focus on two distinct phenomena occurring in the adult hippocampus.
The first is adult neurogenesis (generation of new neurons), which occurs exclusively in a hippocampal subregion called the dentate gyrus and a few other area outside the hippocampus. We are interested in 1) how neural processing/activity in the dentate gyrus determines birth of new neurons and their subsequent functional integration into existing circuits and 2) how those new neurons integrated into circuits contribute to the hippocampal functions.
The second focus is the cellular mechanism of place-cell activity. Place cells are electrophysiologically-defined cell types found in multiple subregions of the hippocampus. When animals explore environments, place cells fire at specific locations in the environments, which suggests that place-cell activity mediates spatial memory processing in the hippocampus. We investigate cellular mechanism underlying properties of place-cell activity using virus-mediated local genetic manipulations.
Our goal is to understand physiological mechanisms in the hippocampus and to provide basic information which is critical to treat and cure brain disorders including dementia, neurodegenerative disease and depression.