Close to 200 people from the stem cell fraternity congregated in The Matrix Auditorium at the Biopolis for the Stem Cell Society of Singapore's inaugural symposium.

Spanning two days, 2 to 3 November 2009, the audience of scientists, clinicians, post-docs and students were enraptured by each day's proceedings that comprised scientific sessions and presentations. The highlight of the symposium was the keynote address delivered by renowned stem cell scientist, Dr George Daly, from the Children's Hospital Boston/Harvard Medical School/Harvard Stem Cell Institute/Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He spoke on "Patient-Specific Pluripotent Stem Cells".

The two-day event also saw a line-up of 23 speakers, from international and local institutes, hospitals and universities. Delegates from overseas were visibly present, many having come from India, Germany, Japan, Italy, Malaysia and China.

The symposium attracted some 30 abstract submissions that were displayed as posters. Two PhD students - Li Zhendong and Guo Guoji - were awarded Best Poster Prizes and each walked away with prize money of $200, kindly donated by the Stem Cell Society's Platinum Member, Millipore Singapore Pte Ltd.

There was much mingling and socializing between sessions during the coffee breaks. Indeed, the event has not only been eye-opening but also a good platform for networking.

Chairman of the Symposium 2009 Organizing Committee, Larry Stanton said, "I was extremely pleased with our inaugural Symposium of the Stem Cell Society Singapore. The main goal of the Society is to promote stem cell research in Singapore; the Symposium certainly delivered on this. Not only did the Symposium attract an excellent line-up of overseas speakers who gave updates on exciting new research, it also facilitated intellectual exchanges between researchers from around Singapore. Given the overwhelming success of this meeting, we are planning to hold another Symposium in 2010."

Indeed, the Society would like to put on record its deep appreciation for the wholehearted support from the various sponsors - Biomed Diagnostics, Stem Cell Consortium, Stemcell Singapore, Fluidigm Corporation, ES Cell International, Illumina South Asia Pacific, Abcam PLC, Miltenyi Biotec, Hoffman La Roche, Invitrogen, Dr Susan Lim, Millipore Singapore, Genome Institute of Singapore, Institute of Medical Biology, Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology and DUKE- NUS Graduate Medical School.

View Symposium 2009 Programme

What some delegates say...

Dr Alan Colman, Executive Director, Singapore Stem Cell Consortium :

"As one of several sponsors of the Stem Cell Society's recent Symposium, I can say that the SSCC believes it certainly got value for its money. This was without doubt an exellent symposium with a fine set of internationally renowned stem cell speakers. It had something for everyone, whether this was mechanisms of pluripotency and early stem cell differentiation (Rossant, Martinat, Tam Ng, Zwaka, Hong) or adult stem cell biology (Ito, Suda, Schroeder, Barrandon, Clevers, Bulavin, Grompe, Tang, Raghunath, Wang, Guillemot) or translational progress in cell therapy (Coffey, Keirstead, Cool). The choice of George Daly to give the Public Lecture was inspired and it was a shame that more "public" did not attend. the organization of the meeting was perfect apart from the lack of signage for the real, sugarless coffee! I think the organizers need special thanks for the wonderful outcome of their efforts."

Dr Anu Poonepalli, Research Fellow, Institute of Medical Biology :

"The Symposium focused on different issues in embryonic and tissue specific stem cells as well as the cancer stem cells. This conference highlighted our progress in stem cell research and revealed many new questions. This conference emphasized the importance of patient-specific pluripotent stem cells and new stem cell technologies. This was indeed very useful for all post-docs working in this fields. In addition, it provided an opportunity to interact with the eminent personalities who came from different parts of the world."

Dr Eric Lam, Research Fellow, Institute of Medical Biology :

"The inaugural Stem Cell Society Symposium held over two days in November was a true eye-opener. Both renowned international and local researchers delivered exciting lectures on discoveries ranging from mechanisms of early mammalian development to therapeutic approaches using stem cell technologies. Many of the speakers seek further efforts to advance the field, providing attendees with ample potential avenues for collaborations. The event was well-organized with sufficient breaks in between sessions for interaction, poster sessions as well as for participants to seek out cutting edge tools, reagents and platforms in stem cell technologies from commercial companies.

I would strongly recommend anyone who is pursuing stem cell related research to attend the next Stem Cell Society Singapore Symposium."

Ms Suman Abraham, Research & Laboratory Manager,
ES Cell International Pte Ltd

"SCSS had a very good line-up of international speakers and did a good job of showcasing the local scientific/stem cell community. Hopefully, this Symposium will be an annual feature in Singapore in which case, I think certain improvements in the event organization and catering should be considered as well."

Guo Guoji, PhD student and Poster Prize Winner :

"Good speakers, good program and good organization. After attending the symposium, I have the impression that Singapore has become an international hub for stem cell research."