Dr Thanuja Herath, Research Fellow, National Dental Centre Singapore (NDCS), has been awarded the Open Fund Young Individual Research Grant by the National Medical Research Council (NMRC). She is also the first dental scientist in Singapore to receive the grant, which is awarded to new investigators, and supports the conduct of research proposals in basic and translational clinical research that are relevant to human health and wellness. The grant also supports research aimed at causes, consequences, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of human diseases.
Dr Thanuja's research project aims to develop neutrophil-based immune-modulation
strategy for bone tissue regeneration. These white blood cells (neutrophils)
regulates the body's immune system to support bone tissue regeneration. Mentored
by Cl A/Prof Goh Bee Tin, Deputy Director, Research and Education, NDCS, the
research team plans to test their strategy by restoring mandible defects in
Dr Thanuja is collaborating alongside Prof Teoh Swee Hin from the Nanyang
Technological University, Prof Benoit Schaller from the University of Berne,
Switzerland and Prof C James Kirkpatrick from the Johannes Gutenberg University,
Germany. This project will provide vital clues on how this new strategy can help
develop future therapeutics and facilitate Phase 1 clinical trials amongst
“As researchers, it is important for us to persevere and stay focused on
pursuing ideas that can benefit our patients and the society. This grant is an
important milestone, especially for a young scientist like me, in developing a
research career in healthcare. I am extremely honoured to be the first dental
scientist to receive this award, and would like to thank Prof Goh and my mentors
from the Women in Science Career Advancement Programme (WinS-CAP) for their
encouragement," said Dr Thanuja.
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