IBRO Global Neuroscience Horizons Webinar 2
Translational neuroscience & novel therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases in the Asia/Pacific region

Aired on 31 May 2021 | 14:00 – 17:30 MST (Malaysia Standard Time)

Organized by the IBRO-Asia/Pacific Regional Committee (APRC) in close collaboration with the Federation of Asian-Oceanian Neuroscience Societies (FAONS), the second IBRO Global Neuroscience Horizons Webinar focussed on how translational neuroscience and novel therapeutics can yield new treatments for neurodegenerative diseases across the Asia/Pacific region. Attendees had the opportunity to receive an e-certificate of attendance. The webinar is recorded and uploaded to our YouTube channel. Learn more about our chairs and speakers below.

This is the second episode of our Global Neuroscience Horizons Webinar Series. Click here to watch the first episode ‘Society journals – Supporting the success and growth of the global neuroscience community’.

Prof. Pike See Cheah
Twitter: @cheahpikesee

Senior Lecturer, Departement of Human Anatomy
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia

Dr. Cheah is an Anatomist and Neuroscientist with a research focus to identify and to understand the function of causative genes for neurodevelopmental disorders and neuropsychiatric diseases. Her sabbatical training in Massachusetts General Hospital | Harvard Medical School, USA has broadened her research experience in various fields including stroke, cancer biology, gene therapy, and extracellular vesicles. As an active member of Malaysian Society of Neurosciences (MSN), Asian Pacific Society for Neurochemistry (APSN) and recently as the Chair of IBRO-APRC, she helps to promote collaborative networks between clinical and non-clinical neuroscientists as well as to improve the quality of the neuroscience research in Malaysia and internationally. Dr. Cheah also wishes to materialise the dream of effective translation from bench to bedside and ultimately, to extend her role by reaching out to the society to disseminate knowledge on the relevance of her research for better management and treatment of neurological disorders.

Dr. Lin Kooi Ong
Twitter: @DrLinOng

School of Pharmacy
Monash University, Malaysia

Dr. Ong Lin Kooi joined School of Pharmacy, Monash University Malaysia as Lecturer in Basic Physiology in May 2019. Prior to the appointment, he was a Senior Research Fellow at the Hunter Medical Research Institute, Australia. He graduated with a PhD in Medical Biochemistry in 2012 and completed 2.5-year Post-Doctoral training in 2014 at the University of Newcastle, Australia. The broad area of his research interest is Neuroscience and Medical Biochemistry. His research expertise is in translational stroke research. He uses a multidisciplinary approach to understand the relationship between brain function and cognitive performance in health and disease. He pursues the development of novel and innovative therapies to promote recovery of brain function following stroke or other neurological conditions. He is passionate to undertake research along discovery science to clinical translation with clear research impact to the society, economy and culture beyond the contribution to academic research. Dr. Ong consistently disseminate his research outcomes nationally and internationally through publications, presentations, collaboration, training opportunities, community engagements and media. He has published 42 peer reviewed articles, 1 book chapter, and >15 science communication articles. He has established successful multidisciplinary collaboration with researchers, clinicians and industries at both national and international levels.

Webinar Speakers (in order of appearance)

Speaker 1: Professor Cliff Abraham
Co-Director, Brain Research NZ-Rangahau Roro Aotearoa
Department of Psychology, University of Otago, New Zealand 

Title of the talk
Brain Research New Zealand-Rangahau Roro Aotearoa: Addressing ageing-related neurological disorders in NZ.

Cliff Abraham received his PhD in neuroscience from the University of Florida before moving to New Zealand where he is now a Professor of Psychology at the University of Otago and the founding Director of Otago’s Brain Health Research Centre. He is also a founding co-Director of the national Centre of Research Excellence: Brain Research New Zealand-Rangahau Roro Aotearoa. This Centre is devoted to research on the aging brain and aging-related neurological disorders. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, and was awarded the University of Otago’s Distinguished Research Medal. Professor Abraham’s research is focused on the neural mechanisms of learning and memory, especially the phenomena of long-term potentiation, long-term depression and metaplasticity. Currently he is Director of a large programme of research investigating biomarkers and therapeutic agents for Alzheimer’s disease, funded by the NZ Health Research Council. This work includes research on blood biomarkers for AD and the therapeutic potential of secreted amyloid precursor protein-alpha. Dr. Abraham is a former president of the Australasian Neuroscience Society.

Speaker 2: Professor Jafri Malin Abdullah
Twitter: @neuronman

Professor of Neurosciences
Department of Neurosciences
School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia

Title of the talk
Neuroscience Research 2015-2020 in Asia Pacific and Malaysia: How many have been translated to clinical use?

Professor Dr. Jafri Malin Abdullah is currently Professor of Neurosciences and the Chairman of the Brain and Behavior Cluster, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia. He was awarded the prestigious Young National Malaysian Scientist Award in 1999 and Top Research Scientist Award, Academy of Sciences Malaysia in 2013 both by the Prime Minister of that period. Part of his cluster’s research is focused on new treatments in the field of neuro-oncology, medicinal chemistry in the field of CNS tuberculosis, epilepsy and pain as well as neuro-ethnopharmacology. Together with the Transcranial Magnetic stimulation facilities and complete behaviour lab, his other cluster concentrates on comparative as well as clinical neuropsychology and behavioral neurosciences. He has been responsible for setting up labs for functional magnetic resonance imaging, magnetoencephalography, high density electroencephalography, neurogenetics, rodent animal behavior, electrophysiology, stem cell culture and primary cell laboratories. His most recent research activity is in the field of neuroinformatics and neurotechnologies.  He is the Chief Editor of the Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences and is on the editorial board member/International editor of nine world wide neuroscience journals. He recently initiated Asia’s first Integrated Doctor of Neurosciences Programme as well as the first joint Psychology and Cognitive Neurosciences Programme.

Speaker 3: Associate Professor Amy Fu
Division of Life Science
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), China

Title of the talk
Understanding microglial state transition in Alzheimer’s disease: Insights for therapeutic development

Amy Fu is a Research Associate Professor in the Division of Life Science at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). She is also the Associate Director of Molecular Neuroscience Center, Associate Director of the Center for Stem Cell Research, and Associate Director of the HKUST–SIAT Joint Lab for Brain Science. She earned her PhD from the Department of Biology at HKUST under the mentorship of Prof. Nancy Ip. Dr. Fu’s major research interests are in understanding the signalings mediated by glia and neurons, specifically innate immune pathways in synaptic plasticity, as well as their dysregulation in neurodegenerative diseases. She recently expanded her research interests to human studies including genomic and endophenotype analyses of Alzheimer’s disease. Her recent work on the identification of genetic biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease in the Chinese population helped fill a key knowledge gap in this field. Fu’s research has yielded 80 scientific papers with 2,261 citations. She also has extensive research experience related to drug discovery and has collaborated with global pharmaceutical companies

Speaker 4: Professor Michisuke Yuzaki
Professor and Chair
Department of Neurophysiology
Keio University School of Medicine, Japan

Title of the talk
Bridge over Troubled Synapses: Manipulation of Synapses to Understand and Treat Brain Dysfunctions.

Dr. Michisuke Yuzaki graduated from Jichi Medical School, Japan in 1985. After working as a physician for 4 years, he entered Jichi Medical Graduate School and obtained a Ph.D. in 1993 under the supervision of Profs. Yasuo Kagawa and Katsuhiko Mikoshiba. He pursued postdoctoral research at Dr. John Connor’s laboratory at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology, NJ, USA. In 1995, he became an Assistant Professor at the Department of Developmental Neurobiology, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, TN, USA, and later promoted to Associate Professor. In 2003, he returned to Japan as a Professor at the Department of Neurophysiology, Keio University School of Medicine. His research goal is to understand molecular mechanisms that control synapse formation, elimination, and maintenance, focusing on new synaptic organizers, the complement family proteins, such as C1q, cerebellins, and C1q‐like proteins. He is also interested in how neuronal activities regulate functional synaptic plasticities, such as long‐term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD), at excitatory synapses. They are developing optogenetic tools that can directly and reversibly regulate LTP/LTD at specific synapses to clarify their roles in vivo. Through these studies, he wishes to contribute to a better understanding of mechanisms underlying neurological and neurodevelopmental disorders, including Alzheimer’s diseases and autism. Dr. Yuzaki is the current President of the Japan Neuroscience Society.

Speaker 5: Professor Yong Shen
Professor of Neurobiology
University of Science and Technology of China, China

Title of the talk
Translational Aging Research in China


Dr. Yong Shen is a chairperson of the Scientific Committee on Key Project on Organ Aging and Related Degenerative Mechanisms of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), in which he oversees aging research nationwide, including aging mechanisms, biomarkers and interventions. In 2010, Dr. Shen was invited to join the Roskamp Institute as senior Scientist and Director of Center for Advanced Therapeutic Strategies for Brain Disorders (CATSBD) as well as Professor of Neurology from the University of Florida College of Medicine. Dr. Shen has received a numerous of honors and awards, including Magnus Rudolf Dutch Young Scientist Award from Royal Academy of Sciences of Netherlands, Zenith award in Alzheimer’s Disease and Outstanding Contributor for Alzheimer’s Research from USA, and several awards, i.e. Chang-Jiang Lecture Professor Award from China. In 2014, Dr. Shen took a position of professorship and directorship in University of Science and Technology of China and established the Neurodegenerative Disease Research Center (NDRC) and Institute on Aging and Brain Disorders in the university affiliated hospital, which have made strong commitments in combining basic research on mechanisms of brain aging and related disorders, developing strong neurodegenerative multidisciplinary research programs with cutting-edge knowledge and skills.

Speaker 6: Professor Julie Bernhardt (pre-recorded)
Twitter: @AVERTtrial

Deputy Director –  Florey Institute and Co-leader of The Florey’s Stroke theme
Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health
Melbourne Brain Centre – Austin Campus, Australia

Title of the talk
Neurorehabilitation ‘Big Picture’

Professor Bernhardt has worked with stroke patients for over 30 years. She co-heads the Stroke Theme at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Australia, leading a research team developing and testing interventions to improve stroke recovery. She is Director, National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia) Centre of Research Excellence in Stroke Recovery, and a world leader of multi-country rehabilitation trials (eg AVERT, AVERT DOSE). She led two international Stroke Recovery and Rehabilitation Roundtables that set new research standards, culminating in development of the new International Stroke Recovery and Rehabilitation Alliance (ISRRA) in 2020. Julie is a strong advocate for Women in Science.