Neuroscience and Mental Health


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Neurological diseases are the third largest health concern worldwide after heart disease and cancer. In Singapore, neurological and mental health diseases together make up the largest segment of the national disease burden (Fig 1) and contribute the most to the Years Lived with Disability (YLDs) (Fig 2).

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Fig 1: Singapore’s national disease burden statistics, 2010 ( Neurological diseases contribute to 14% and mental disorders contribute to 7% of the national disease burden.

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Fig 2: Years Lived with Disability (YLDs) in Singapore ( Mental and behavioural disorders (mid green) and neurological disorders (light green) together represent the largest disease category.
Compared with the rest of the developed world, Singapore faces a unique set of circumstances. With one of the fastest ageing populations in the world (the “silver tsunami”), the country is facing an increase in ageing-related disorders, including dementia, stroke and cerebrovascular diseases. The increase of metabolic diseases, primarily diabetes, also has an impact on the increasingly earlier onset of stroke and other cerebrovascular diseases. Changing lifestyles may be behind the alarming increase in the incidence of mental health problems among children, adolescents and young adults.
Within the aforementioned context, the research activities of Neuroscience and Mental Health focus on some of the main challenges in the field of neurology and mental health, including neurodegenerative diseases, neurovascular diseases, stroke, and psychiatric disorders; and are based on three major research thrusts:
  1. Research into early disease mechanisms,
  2. Exploration of early disease biomarkers and development of early biomarker probes, and
  3. Elaboration of early therapeutic approaches (Fig 3).

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Fig 3: The three research thrusts of the Neuroscience and Mental Health

Neuroscience and Mental Health has established close collaborations with SingHealth’s National Neuroscience Institute, National Healthcare Group’s Institute of Mental Health as well as A*STAR and DSO research institutes in Singapore. It leverages upon the various aspects of neuroscience and neuro-technology-related bioengineering research at NTU and the research expertise of academic research groups at other universities in Singapore (NUS, Duke-NUS). It also cooperates closely with overseas academic partners, including Imperial College London, Karolinska Institute Stockholm and RIKEN in Japan. 

The core faculty of Neuroscience and Mental Health are:
Faculty​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​
 Christine Cheung (CustomResize).jpgChristine Cheung, NAP
Molecular and Vascular Medicine

The core faculty is strongly supported by joint, adjunct and visiting faculty members:

​Joint Faculty


​Adjunct Faculty
Tan Eng King
Research Director,
Daniel Fung
Medical Board,IMH
David Townsend
Lim Yee Hwee
Chua Hong Choon
Chief Executive
Officer, IMH​
Lu Jia
Chong Siow Ann
Medical Board (Research), IMH


Visiting Faculty​
Richard Reynolds

Imperial College London

Neuroscience-15.jpgPaul Matthews
Imperial College London

Christer Halldin
Karolinska Institute
Atsushi Iriki
RIKEN (NTU Visiting Prof)
Ooi Yoon Phaik

University of Basel

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Veikko Jousmaki

Aalto University

​Some Collaborations
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