Department of Biological Sciences 70th Anniversary

In celebration of Singapore bicentennial, Faculty of Science’s 90th Anniversary and Department of Biological Sciences 70th Anniversary.

Public Lecture 1

From cloning to commercialization – Academia feeds the biomedical industry by Professor Ding Jeak Ling

Venue: LT 32, Science Drive 4, Department of Biological Sciences, NUS, Singapore 117558

Date/Time : Friday, 29 March 2019 | 7pm

Target audience: Public; Secondary school students and above




Brief Synopsis

During Gram-negative bacterial infection, endotoxin is released from the outer membrane of the bacteria. Endotoxin interacts with the host, resulting in inflammation and fever. In severe persistent infections, excessive endotoxin may induce septic shock and death. The ubiquity of endotoxin poses a threat to the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. The quality assurance of parenterals (injectable drugs and surgical/medical implants)- to be free of endotoxin, started with the slow, less efficient and expensive rabbit pyrogen test. In the mid-1970s, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the horseshoe crab, Limulus amoebocyte lysate (LAL) for testing endotoxin contamination. However, the LAL test requires harvesting and bleeding of the horseshoe crab and LAL suffers seasonal and geographical variations in sensitivity to endotoxin. Problems with the sensitivity of LAL to endotoxin and threats on horseshoe crab extinction called for an alternative more reliable endotoxin test. This talk will provide an overview of the genetic engineering efforts to clone a recombinant endotoxin-biosensor as a synthetic rapid alternative test for endotoxin. This diagnostic kit (PyroGene®) is US FDA- and EU Pharmacopeia- approved.



Public Lecture 2

Toxins are NOT villains but unsung heroes: Fascinating future in toxin research by Professor R M Kini

Venue: LT 20, NUS

Date: Friday, 26 April 2019 | 7pm

Target audience: Public; Secondary school students and above




Brief Synopsis

Toxins are thought as villains as they cause death and debilitation. In reality, they have contributed more to improving our lives than cause death. Toxins have played crucial roles in the discovery and development of therapeutic and diagnostic agents for human diseases. They have also contributed as important research tools and helped us to understand molecular mechanisms of normal physiological processes such as neurotransmission, blood coagulation and platelet aggregation. Our lab in NUS has been studying structure-function relationships and mechanism of actions of novel toxins from various sources. Our research has contributed to both basic and applied sciences. Based on the functional sites of the toxins, we have developed a number of therapeutic agents for various human diseases. This talk will provide an overview of toxin research and the distinct dimension of both basic and applied research in the field. I will describe the development of cardiovascular drugs in our lab along with recent advances and future prospects in toxin research 




Contact person: Miss Reena Samynadan

Contact no.: 65162711; Email: