iHealthtech-Hongneung Innopolis Joint Workshop 2023


iHealthtech-Hongneung Innopolis Joint Workshop 2023


16 Feb 2023, Thursday, 9:00 – 13:10
National University of Singapore, College of Design & Engineering, Building E7, Level 3, Seminar Room 4
[Map & Direction: E7 Engineering in Medicine Building]

Poster [PDF]

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Chul-Hyun Cho
Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Korea University Medicine

Paradigm shift in psychiatry through the development of digital phenotype-based diagnosis and digital treatment integrated platform
Since around 2014, I have been conducting research and development using digital technology in psychiatry. In particular, I considered various life log data obtained through smart devices such as wearable devices as digital phenotypes and conducted research to predict the recurrence of depressive disorder and bipolar disorder through machine learning. While conducting related research, I deepened my understanding of the field and laid the foundation for more advanced research. I believe that digital technology will be a groundbreaking turning point in resolving psychiatry’s old problems and limitations. In addition, I am prospectively collecting relevant data through the development of an app platform to secure digital phenotypes related to emotions centred on anxiety (panic), and are developing an AI model for predicting diseases or symptoms. Collaborating with domestic digital health companies, I am developing digital treatments for insomnia and ADHD and conducting clinical validation research. In addition, research was undertaken to develop a virtual reality solution for anxiety symptom control and verify its effectiveness using various clinical indicators. Currently, psychiatry-psychology-media art-UX/UI convergence research and development are in progress to develop a metaverse platform service for anxiety symptom control. Currently, research is being conducted to fill the diagnostic and therapeutic parts that are not sufficiently provided in psychiatry through the application of digital technology and the verification of clinical effects.

Chul-Hyun Cho is an Associate Professor at the Department of Psychiatry at Korea University Medicine. He received his MD and PhD in Psychiatry from Korea University. His research interests focus on mood, anxiety, sleep disorders and digital health.



Alfredo Franco-Obregón
Associate Professor, Department of Surgery, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS
Principal Investigator, NUS iHealthtech

Magnetic Mitohormesis: A potential paradigm shift in modern physical rehabilitative treatment
Life, as we know it, evolved in an electromagnetic realm. Hence, biochemistry is set to threshold under weak magnetic fields such as that which naturally envelops the Earth. Our scientific strategy is to exploit this innate biological imperative to promote balanced tissue homeostasis and promote human health. Today I will outline our initial achievements in this endeavour with reference to age-related human frailty and metabolic disruption.

Associate Professor Alfredo Franco-Obregón approaches tissue engineering and regeneration from a biophysical perspective as an alternative to conventional pharmacological interventions. He is particularly interested in how electromagnetic and mechanical forces drive tissue regeneration. Professor Alfredo Franco-Obregón heads the BICEPS (BioIonic Currents Electromagnetic Pulsing Systems) laboratory under the combined auspices of the Department of Surgery and iHealthtech (Institute for Health Innovation & Technology) of the National University of Singapore (NUS). He is actively investigating how magnetic fields promote mitochondrial respiration and downstream developmental and survival adaptations via a process known as Magnetic Mitohormesis. His key areas of interest are skeletal muscle development, stem cell biology, and cancer. He is a thought leader and innovator in applying electromagnetic and mechanical forces for tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, and clinical applications concerning human health and longevity.


Roger Ho
Professor and Senior Consultant, Department of Psychological Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS
Principal Investigator, NUS iHealthtech

The application of functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) in clinical psychiatry
Psychiatry is the only clinical specialty that relies on clinical interviews to establish a diagnosis. This process can be subjective without biological evidence. In this talk, Professor Roger Ho will share his previous research on applying fNIRS as an adjunct diagnostic tool to diagnose the major depressive disorder, borderline personality disorder, mild cognitive impairment and dementia. Professor Ho’s team has translated his research findings as an fNIRS assessment service at NUS iHealthtech. He will share the assessment protocol and impact of clinical service by enhancing the accuracy of diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults as an example.

Professor Ho is a Professor of Psychiatry and Senior Consultant Psychiatrist. He is a Fellow of several Royal Medical Colleges in the UK and Canada. He has published widely in medical and psychiatric 500 journal articles and has co-authored six books. His publication has gained 48,000 citations with an H index of 83. In 2021 and 2022, Clarivate Analytics (Web of Science) identified him as one of the World’s most highly cited and influential researchers in Psychiatry. 



Youngdo Jeong
Senior Principal Investigator, Center for Advanced Biomolecular Recognition, KIST

Homecare Level Cancer Diagnosis Biosensor and Bioassay based on Urinalysis
Early diagnosis of urogenital cancer (UC) allows for early intervention, which can slow or prevent the development and lethality of cancer. The 5-year survival rate for UC drops from 95% for patients with cancer detected at an early stage to just 10% for those at the metastasis stage, making early diagnosis and aggressive surveillance essential. Currently, diagnostic methods for UC rely on invasive tissue biopsy, involving the insertion of optical or biopsy instruments into the bladder or prostate through the urethra or rectum, respectively. This invasive approach can be disruptive and painful for patients, making frequent checkups difficult. To shift towards a non-invasive approach, some urine-based biosensing devices for UC detection have been developed. However, these sensors generally have low sensitivity and can only diagnose late-stage UC. Therefore, there is a high demand for the development of urine-based biosensors and bioassays for the early detection of UC.

Young-do Jeong is a Senior Research Scientist at the Center of Advanced Biomolecular Recognition, Korea Institute of Science and Technology. He received his BS and MS from Hanyang University and PhD from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. His research interests focus on spatiotemporal regulation of immune responses through nanomaterials and chemical or mechanical stimuli, understanding the mechanism between immune systems and physical/chemical stimuli and using nanomaterials to engineer enzyme-mimicking biorthogonal catalysts.



Hyun Koo Kim
Professor Chair, Dept. of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Korea University Medicine

Exosome-GCC2 as a promising biomarker and therapeutic target of lung adenocarcinoma
Lung cancer is one of the most diagnosed cancers and the leading cause of cancer-associated deaths, classified as 85% of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLCs). Lung adenocarcinoma is the most common histopathologic type of primary lung cancer and is a major focus in improving the survival rate caused by its poor prognosis and high incidence. Despite advances in medical technology, the 5-year overall survival rate of lung adenocarcinoma is stage-dependent, decreasing from 92% in stage IA1. Hence, it is clinically urgent to make an early screening and precise diagnosis for lung adenocarcinoma that could reduce mortality, improve prognosis, prolong survival, and improve quality of life.

Emerging evidence suggests that tumour-derived small extracellular vesicles (sEV or exosome) cargo offers an attractive platform for developing cancer-specific biomarkers. We previously reported the discovery of GRIP and coild-coil domain containing 2 (GCC2) enriched exosomes (exosome-GCC2) as a promising biomarker for lung adenocarcinoma in the pilot study. Moreover, we have explored the diagnostic and therapeutic potential of exosome-GCC2 by retrospective multicenter trial on the early stage of lung adenocarcinoma. A total of 470 blood plasma samples (150 healthy controls and 320 lung adenocarcinoma patients who received lung cancer surgery and pathologically diagnosed lung adenocarcinoma) were retrospectively obtained from five institutions. Isolation of exosomes was used by size exclusion chromatography, and the concentration of exosome-GCC2 was quantitated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The concentration of sEV-GCC2 in patients was significantly 1.6 times as high as controls and yielded an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.856 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.820 ~ 0.886). Compared with TisN0-T1miN0 and controls, their AUC was 0.802 (95% CI 0.734 ~ 0.859). Through this research, we identified that exosome-GCC2 as a diagnostic marker even distinguishes very-early stage and promising therapeutic target of lung adenocarcinoma.

Hyun Koo Kim is a Professor from the Department of Department of Thoracic & Cardiovascular Surgery at Korea University Guro Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. He obtained his PhD from Korea University in 2004. His research interests focus on lung cancer, minimally invasive thoracoscopic surgery, robotic surgery, chest diseases and thoracic deformity. Prof Kim is one of the first surgeons in Asia to use a robotic stapler during major pulmonary resections. He published the world’s first article about single-site robot surgery in thoracic disease in 2019.



Chwee Teck Lim
Professor, Dept of Biomedical Engineering, NUS
Director, NUS iHealthtech

Microfluidic Technologies for Liquid Biopsy & Precision Medicine – From Bench to Bedside
The presence of Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs) in bloodstream of patients with epithelial cancers is an important intermediate step in cancer metastasis and can provide valuable insights into disease detection, staging and personalized treatment. As compared to obtaining a tissue biopsy which is invasive and painful, ‘‘liquid biopsy’’ for CTCs detection can be easily performed via a routine blood draw or even from urine.  The presence and number of CTCs in peripheral blood has been associated with the severity of the disease and have potential use for early detection, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment monitoring purposes. The isolation of CTCs using microfluidics is attractive as the flow conditions can be accurately manipulated to achieve an efficient separation. Here, we demonstrate several effective separation methods by utilizing the unique differences in the mechanical properties such as size and deformability of cancer cells from that of blood cells. By exploiting the fluid dynamics in specially designed microfluidic channels, CTCs which are generally stiffer and larger can be physically separated from the more deformable blood constituents. Using this label-free approach, we are able to retrieve viable CTCs that are not only suitable for downstream molecular analysis such as genetic or RNA sequencing, but also for expansion and culture. With blood specimens from cancer patients, we confirmed successful detection, isolation and retrieval of CTCs. Identification of CTCs via their mechanical signatures will not only aid in the determination of malignancy and disease, but also enable personalized treatment by the possible detection of any actionable mutation unique to individual patient. We will demonstrate a CTC technology that we have brought from bench to bedside.    

Professor Chwee Teck LIM is the NUS Society Chair Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Director of the Institute for Health Innovation and Technology at the National University of Singapore. He is also the Director of the Singapore Health Technologies Consortium. His research interests are in human disease mechanobiology as well as the development of innovative microfluidic wearable technologies and biomaterials for biomedical applications. He is a prolific researcher, having co-authored over 450 journal publications, including in Nature and Science related journals and given more than 420 plenary/keynote/invited lectures.  He is also a serial entrepreneur, having started six companies to commercialize technologies developed in his lab. Prof Lim is globally recognized for his distinguished academic achievements as is evidenced by his elected fellowships at the IUPESM, US National Academy of Inventors, AIMBE, IAMBE, the ASEAN Academy of Engineering and Technology, the Academy of Engineering, Singapore and the Singapore National Academy of Science. He and his team have garnered over 100 research awards and honours, including Highly Cited Researcher, IES Prestigious Engineering Achievement Award, ASEAN Outstanding Engineering Achievement Award, Asian Scientists 100, Credit Suisse Technopreneur of the Year Award, Wall Street Journal Asian Innovation Award (Gold) and the President’s Technology Award among others.  



Kwideok Park
Principal Investigator, Center for Biomaterials, KIST

Human fibroblast-derived extracellular matrix hydrogel for advanced wound healing
Wound healing is a complex process that undergoes the coordinated interplay of various host cells and extracellular matrix (ECM). Herein, we propose a novel ECM hydrogel that was solely fabricated from decellularized, human fibroblast-derived matrix (FDM-gel). Our FDM-gel is physically stable while reserving common features of natural ECM and containing pro-healing cytokines. We found that FDM-gel encourages tissue regeneration by providing a permissive environment for host cells recruitment, including innate immune cells, allowing those cells to cooperatively remodel the given environment and eventually lead to complete wound regeneration.

Kwideok Park is a Principal Investigator at the Center for Biomaterials, Korea Institute of Science and Technology. He obtained his BS and MS from Hanyang University and PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Iowa. His research interest focuses on extracellular matrix (ECM) engineering and ECM-based tissue regeneration in musculoskeletal, cardiac, skin and cornea.



Sung-Min Rhee
Assistant Professor, Department of Orthopaedics, Kyung Hee University

Personalized digital treatment using AI pose estimation/wearable device for the musculoskeletal disease
About one-third of the general population has the musculoskeletal disease. However, digital treatment is lacking in rehabilitation for those with musculoskeletal disease. The research aims to develop an application/software/device to monitor the patients and to prescribe personalized digital therapy for patients with musculoskeletal disease. We are developing an application/software/device to self-check their musculoskeletal status. Based on the result of their status, the doctors can prescribe personalized digital therapy and monitor the users’ compliance with the prescribed exercises.

Sung-min Rhee is a Professor from the Department of Orthopedics at Kyung Hee University. His research interests focus on shoulder and elbow joint diseases.



Huilin Shao
Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, NUS
Principal Investigator, NUS iHealthtech

Integrated nanosensor technologies for molecular analyses of circulating biomarkers
The growing emphasis on personalized medicine significantly increases the need to analyze key molecular markers. In comparison to tissue biopsies, circulating biomarkers (liquid biopsies) can be conveniently and repeatedly obtained from biofluids with minimal complications. Extracellular vesicles have recently emerged as a promising circulating biomarker. Extracellular vesicles are nanometer-sized membrane vesicles actively shed off by cells and possess unique advantages: they abound in biofluids and harbor diverse molecular contents. In this talk, I will describe various nanosensor systems we have developed for quantitative analyses of diverse circulating biomarkers. These technologies integrate advances in device engineering, nanomaterial sciences and molecular biology. By enabling rapid, sensitive and cost-effective detection of circulating biomarkers, these platforms could significantly expand the reach of preclinical and clinical research in informing therapy selection, rationally directing trials, and improving sequential monitoring to achieve better clinical outcomes. 

Huilin Shao is an Associate Professor, Presidential Young Professor at the Department of Biomedical Engineering, and a Principal Investigator at the Institute for Health Innovation & Technology (iHealthtech), National University of Singapore. Dr Shao received her BA from Cornell University, with a double major in Biological Sciences and Physics. She completed her dual PhD (Biophysics) at Harvard University and PhD (Medical Engineering) at Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology (HST). Her research focuses on developing integrated nanotechnology platforms for molecular analyses of novel biomarkers. She has pioneered multiple technologies to advance molecular diagnostics. Her work has been published in top journals such as Nature Biotechnology, Nature Nanotechnology, Nature Medicine, Nature Biomedical Engineering, and Nature Communications and highlighted in major reviews and popular news media. Dr Shao has received multiple awards in recognition of her achievement, including James Mills Pierce Award, A*STAR Independent Fellowship, NUS Early Career Research Award, the L’Oreal For Women in Science National Fellowship, Springer-Nature MINE Young Scientist Award, and Singapore Presidential Young Scientist Award. 



Andy Kah Ping Tay
Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, NUS
Principal Investigator, NUS iHealthtech 

Single platform integration of biomaterials, cells and mechanical stimulation  synergistically accelerates diabetic wound healing
Chronic diabetic wound, a common, non-healing complication of diabetes mellitus caused by high glucose level and impaired wound healing, is a worldwide healthcare challenge. New generation treatments such as biomaterials, cell therapies and medical devices, are now under development or have been clinically deployed in small scale to treat diabetic wounds. These approaches, however, typically target one or two pathological features of chronic diabetic wounds and require repeated administrations. Here, I will present a combinatorial technology that capitalizes on the unique strengths of magneto-responsive hydrogel, cells, drug delivery, and wireless magneto-induced dynamic mechanical stimulation (MDMS) to accelerate healing of chronic diabetic wounds.

Andy Tay graduated in 2014 from NUS with a First-Class Honours in Biomedical Engineering. He later headed to the University of California, Los Angeles, for his PhD studies and graduated in 2017 as the recipient of the Harry M Showman Commencement Award. Andy next received his postdoctoral training at Stanford University before heading to Imperial College London as an 1851 Royal Commission Brunel Research Fellow. He is currently a Presidential Young Professor at NUS. Andy is a recipient of international awards, including the Helmsley Fellowship, Toshihiko Tokizane Memorial Award and Endeavour Research Fellowship. He is listed as a 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 (US/Canada, Science), 2020 World Economic Forum Young Scientist, 2020 The Straits Times ‘30 and Under’ Young Singaporeans to Watch.