A*STAR Biomedical Research Council

Updated October 2013

Background Information on the Organisationsingapore

Biomedical Research Council (BMRC) supports, oversees and coordinates public sector biomedical research and development activities in Singapore.

The overall focus for Phase 3 (from 2011 – 2015) is the greater integration of activities across the entire BMS community, including public and private sector performers, hospitals and government agencies. This would lead to achieving our Research, Innovation & Enterprise (RIE) 2015 vision to transform Singapore’s Biomedical Science cluster by drawing on its unique strengths and differentiating advantages to generate economic impact and innovative healthcare solutions.

Annual Research Budget

IMB (April 2011 to March 2013 – estimated SGD$10Mil)

GIS (April 2011 to March 2013 – estimated SGD$15Mil)

Stem Cell Strategy

This past year has seen a continuing focus on a molecular analysis of the pluripotent state as well as increasing research on the use of induced pluripotent stem cells in human disease modelling.  A lot of time has been devoted to discussing the alignment of BMRC research (including that with stem cells) with industrial and clinical needs.  This will be effected through the imposition of new funding structures.

Key Stem Cell Centres/Investments

Recent Research Achievements and Outputs

  • Lu X, Göke J, Sachs F, Jacques PE, Liang H, Feng B, Bourque G, Bubulya PA, Ng HH. “SON connects the splicing-regulatory network with pluripotency in human embryonic stem cells.” Nat Cell Biol. 2013 Oct;15(10):1141-1152. doi: 10.1038/ncb2839. Epub 2013 Sep 8.
  • Göke J, Chan YS, Yan J, Vingron M, Ng HH.” Genome-wide kinase-chromatin interactions reveal the regulatory network of ERK signaling in human embryonic stem cells.” Mol Cell. 2013 Jun 27;50(6):844-55.
  • Aksoy I, Jauch R, Chen J, Dyla M, Divakar U, Bogu GK, Teo R, Leng Ng CK, Herath W, Lili S, Hutchins AP, Robson P, Kolatkar PR, Stanton LW.”Oct4 switches partnering from Sox2 to Sox17 to reinterpret the enhancer code and specify endoderm.” EMBO J. 2013 Apr 3;32(7):938-53
  • Narayanan K, Schumacher KM, Tasnim F, Kandasamy K, Schumacher A, Ni M, Gao S, Gopalan B, Zink D, Ying JY. “Human embryonic stem cells differentiate into functional renal proximal tubular-like cells.” Kidney Int. 2013 Apr;83(4):593-603.
  • Lorthongpanich C, Cheow LF, Balu S, Quake SR, Knowles BB, Burkholder WF, Solter D, Messerschmidt DM.”Single-cell DNA-methylation analysis reveals epigenetic chimerism in preimplantation embryos.” Science. 2013 Sep 6;341(6150):1110-2.

New Funding Initiatives

  • A*STAR BMRC Institutes will continue to be funded for stem cell-related research from intramural funds. A portion of the funds will be allocated to more translational and clinical research activities as well as research with industry relevance.
  • Universities and hospitals used to get a major portion of their biomedical research funding through A*STAR.  From April 2011, they will be funded directly by the National Research Foundation, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health and the National Medical Research Council (NMRC).
  • An Open Collaborative Fund has been set up to encourage more inter-institution collaborations and A*STAR Institutes will eligible to apply for additional funds from this pool. These funds will be co-administered by A*STAR and NMRC.

Changes to Stem Cell Related Policies

In July 2012, the Singapore Bioethics Advisory Committee issued a consultation paper concerning neuroscience research. Within the paper, section 8d covers issues raised with neural stem cell research (http://www.bioethics-singapore.org/images/uploadfile/103016%20AMBAC%20-%20Ethical%20Legal%20and%20Social%20Issues%20in%20Neuroscience%20Research.pdf)

Other Major Funders of Stem Cell Research in Singapore

Helpful Web-Links

  1. National Medical Research Council, NMRC 
  2. National Research Foundation, NRF
  3. Bioethics Advisory Committee


Previous Member Update

January 2012