The vertical integration of multidisciplinary competence from genes to humans within SBIC, and the accompanying horizontal network of transverse collaborations across institutions and disciplines in Singapore and overseas, confer SBIC a unique capacity to promote rapid transfers of results in animal and human imaging research onto the clinical environment, to the immediate benefit of patients. It also ensures the development of financially sound and sustainable contractual research with industrial partners (pharma, food & nutrition, personal care...). SBIC currently operates 5 joint laboratories with industrial partners under the form of public-private partnership.
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Major Research Thrusts
SBIC's current core R&D projects are developed in 3 directions:
1. Selected major public health issues
- Nutrition and Dysmetabolism (diabetes, obesity, fat metabolism, fat Imaging, liver cancer)
- Cardiovascular Diseases (heart failure)
- Neurometabolism, Neuroadaptation and Neuroplasticity
2. Personal care and wellness (skin, fat, muscle)
3. Technological Innovation in life imaging
- Development of Smart Probes and Tags for molecular imaging
- Development of Novel Imaging Methods and Devices (UHF-MR, RF Coils, SERS,
Photo-Acoustics, Multimodal Multiscale Imaging ...)
SBIC is engaged in a network of intense collaborations with leading academic and R&D institutions in Singapore and overseas. Through the Joint Council Office grant initiative within A*STAR, SBIC has conducted 23 collaborative projects with 9 other A*STAR Institutes (SICS, IMB, BTI, GIS, IMCB, I2R, IME, IMRE, ICES).
Seven out the 10 Principal Investigators and Group leaders at SBIC have joint/adjunct faculty appointments with NUS (National University of Singapore), Duke-NUS and NTU (Nanyang Technology University) ensuring a productive interface with the academic institutions in Singapore.
SBIC collaborates with other leading universities worldwide (Stanford, Harvard, MIT, Yale, Duke, Dartmouth, AMU, Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester, UCL,TUM, Graz) and research centers (Salk, Sanford-Burnham, XLIM-CNRS, CRMBM-CNRS, IBP-CAS, CAI-Brisbane).
In 2007, SBIC spearheaded the formation of the NUS-A*STAR Clinical Imaging Research Centre (CIRC) jointly with NUS and Siemens as the industry partner. CIRC has become a national resource for research imaging in humans open to all biomedical researchers in Singapore via the use of state-of-the-art instruments (MRI, PET-MR, PET-CT, SPECT-CT).
SBIC is also a partner of the KK Women's and Children's Hospital, the largest medical facility in Singapore providing specialist care for women and children. SBIC collaborates with KK Hospital’s Radiology Department on their high field MR imaging needs in research aligned to pathologies related to women and children.
SBIC pilots or participates in several research projects and protocols with other leading clinical institutions in Singapore at SingHealth, Duke-NUS and NUHS (National University Health System): the Clinical Nutrition Research Center, the National Cancer Centre, the National Neurology Institute, the National Skin Center, the National Heart Center of Singapore and the Cardiovascular Research Institute.
SBIC provides global biopharma/nutrition/personal care companies with a one-stop solution for all the preclinical imaging challenges they face. SBIC provides cutting edge research protocols and advanced multi-modal preclinical imaging capability to industrial standards, augmented, when necessary, with an expert input from SBIC scientists.
In parallel to this fee-for-service activity, SBIC is actively engaged in joint preclinical research protocols with leading multinational companies and SMEs specialising in pharmacology, nutrition, personal care, molecular probes (Bayer, Merck, Abbott, Danone, Mead-Johnson, Galderma, General Electric, Mundi-Pharma, Life Technologies, Johnson Matthey, Aspira, Inex, Matralix ...)
SBIC teams up with world leaders in the manufacturing and development of imaging instruments. It has entered a research cooperation agreement with Siemens Healthiners. SBIC also operates on its premises 5 joint laboratories under the framework of public-private partnerships with Nikon, Bruker, Mediso Ithera and MPA Inc.
Joint Laboratories with Industrial Partners
The SBIC-Nikon Imaging Centre (SBIC-NIC) was established as a joint venture in 2007. It is the only centre in Asia outside of Japan, providing state-of-the-art biological microscopy to researchers across Singapore and the region. The mission of the centre is to promote innovation in biological research and is committed to providing access to cutting edge microscopy and imaging technologies. The joint centre also organises training courses on microscopy techniques for the benefit of A*STAR and regional research community.
The SBIC-Bruker Preclinical Imaging (PCI) Centre was opened in 2014. The centre is the first facility of its kind in Asia, and only the second in the world. The PCI Centre is currently equipped with an In Vivo Xtreme system for optical imaging and a Skyscan 1176 microCT scanner. The PCI Centre provides demonstration, training and applications support for SBIC’s and Bruker’s preclinical multi-modal imaging platforms for researchers across Singapore and the region. The mission of the PCI centre is to foster closer collaborations between the academic and clinical communities, as well as the pharmaceutical companies.
The SBIC-iThera Medical Imaging Centre was established in 2016, as the first of its kind in the world. iThera Medical is a pioneer in multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT), capable of real-time, tomographic imaging of optical contrast. Through this imaging center, we will investigate the use of proprietary MSOT technology in both pre-clinical and clinical applications, primarily in skin, fat and brain imaging. The MSOT technology promises to revolutionize imaging for point-of-care diagnostic purposes in the clinic.
The SBIC-Mediso Joint Laboratory was established in 2016. The centre is the only such facility in the world, and equipped with the first of its kind state-of-the-art combined high-field 7T-MRI-PET imaging system. The centre’s mission is to design and develop components dedicated for the integrated MRI-PET system, as well new applications for translational research. This reference site will allow demonstration of pre-clinical applications and feasibility of using integrated MRI-PET technologies in the context of cardiovascular, oncology and neuro-imaging research.
The SBIC-MicroPhotoAcoustics (MPA Inc) Imaging Centre was established in 2016, as the first of its kind in the world. MPA are pioneers of 3-D photoacoustic microscopy (PAM).The technology offers rapid-scanning optical-resolution (OR) and acoustic-resolution (AR) photoacoustic microscopy which enables imaging of endogenous and optical absorbers at high-axial (micron) and spatial (mm) resolution. This joint laboratory provides cutting edge photoacoustic microscopy technology to promote innovation in pre-clinical in-vivo imaging.