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​LKCMedicine welcomes President of Wolfson College Professor Jane Clarke FRS for Distinguished Lecture

Published on: 06-Dec-2018

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As part of her Asian tour to visit Wolfson College alumni in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore, Professor Jane Clarke FRS, President of Wolfson College and Emeritus Professor of Biochemistry at University of Cambridge, presented a Distinguished Lecture at LKCMedicine today at the invitation of NTU titled “The Role of Disorder in Biology”. Hosted by LKCMedicine Dean Professor James Best, Prof Clarke was first given a tour of the Novena campus’ bespoke teaching facilities and research labs upon arrival.

The Distinguished Lecture at the Toh Kian Chui Annex lecture theatre saw an attendance of about a hundred participants, including a number from the wider scientific community and Cambridge alumni. 

Prof Best in his welcome speech about the connection between LKCMedicine and Wolfson College spoke about his warm welcome to the college earlier this year in May where he met with Prof Clarke and was shown the Lee Seng Tee Hall and the Lee Seng Tee Library named in honour of Dr Lee Seng Tee who is the son of the late Tan Sri Dato Dr Lee Kong Chian, founder of the Lee Foundation that made a landmark gift of $150 million to the School in 2011 . “Gordon Johnson, a past president of Wolfson College and Anthony Teo have established a Gold Medal for our graduating class so that a medical student can undertake a research elective at Cambridge based at Wolfson. Prof Clarke has been helpful in establishing this further link between LKCMedicine and Wolfson College.”

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Guest-of-honour the British High Commissioner His Excellency Scott Wightman in his opening remarks expressed his delight in seeing the progress of LKCMedicine, which he says is a prime example of collaboration between NTU and Imperial, and the strong partnership that exists between Singapore and the UK in education and research. “This is a strong partnership not only in developing the talent pool of both countries but also deepening the mean expertise, including in this case, in the field of medicine. It is in science and innovation that we see the greatest potential for growth and collaboration in the future.

“The British government has identified four grand challenges for the future: harnessing the artificial intelligence and data revolution, shift to clean energy and growth, shaping the future of mobility and preparing for the needs of an ageing society by tapping the power of innovation. How to manage the ageing population particularly in the use of data seems especially relevant to the work here at LKCMedicine,” he said. Collaborating on these issues would be a great start on the next phase of the 200-year relationship between the two countries, he added.

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Director of the NTU Institute of Structural Biology Professor Daniela Rhodes FRS then introduced Prof Clarke, a former colleague and a firm friend. The mention of having cocktails on the beach with Prof Clarke while discussing protein folding got a huge laugh from the audience. 

Prof Clarke started her lecture by giving the audience a professional and personal timeline, with the message that it is possible for people to dip in and out of careers, particularly in the future. She dubbed her own professional life as an alternative one, saying she is now in her third career as president of Wolfson College, but that she wanted to impress on young women especially that it’s possible to study science, be a PhD student, and embark on a career in research even while having a family.

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She then launched straight into her life’s research into the folding and misfolding of protein and the progress reached before she had to close her lab at the University of Cambridge. A lot more work still needs to be done, and it is better undertaken by a diverse, multidisciplinary team, as answered to one of the questions fielded by a lecture participant afterwards. 

The lecture closed with the presentation of LKCMedicine Bowls of Compassion as a token of appreciation, presented by Mr Wightman to Prof Clarke, and a group photo.
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