Founder of Bia-Echo Foundation visits NUS Bia-Echo Asia Centre for Reproductive Longevity and Equality
Ms Nicole Shanahan, founder of the US-based Bia-Echo Foundation visited the NUS Bia-Echo Asia Centre for Reproductive Longevity and Equality
The NUS Bia-Echo Asia Centre for Reproductive Longevity and Equality (ACRLE) at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (NUS Medicine) had the honour of hosting Ms Nicole Shanahan, founder of Bia-Echo Foundation, USA, and Mdm Rahayu Mahzam, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Health, Singapore at its premises on 19 April 2022.
Established in 2021 with a generous gift of US$8 million from the Bia Echo Foundation, the Centre’s mission is to find ways to improve and lengthen female reproductive health and longevity, potentially enabling women to conceive safely in their later years, as well as maintain optimal health post reproductive years.
Mdm Rahayu Mahzam (third from left) and Ms Nicole Shanahan (fourth from left) with Prof Chong Yap Seng, Dean of NUS Medicine (second from left) and ACRLE team members
During the visit, the ACRLE team updated the visitors with their most recent work and the latest findings they have uncovered in their research on women’s health and reproductive ageing in the past one year.
Prof Dean Ho and Prof Zhang Cuilin presented their research efforts in tapping artificial intelligence to optimise drug dosing, and multi-team collaborations on planning for interventional trials respectively while PhD student Dong Lu gave an overview of her work in using C. elegans (Caenorhabditis elegans) as a model to test interventions for prolonging reproductive longevity.
Dr Huang Zhongwei, Assistant Director of ACRLE, further shared the team’s work on in-vitro examination of the growth of ovarian follicles, as well as the comprehensive biological profiling of reproductive ageing and interventions to maintain and enhance reproductive longevity in laboratory models. He added that the Centre is working on clinical collaborations with several companies specialising in fertility pharmaceuticals and technology.
Prof Chong Yap Seng, Dean of NUS Medicine (first from right) in discussion with Ms Nicole Shanahan and Mdm Rahayu Mahzam
The Dean of NUS Medicine, Prof Chong Yap Seng, also discussed the shift in Singapore’s social policies towards a greater emphasis on improving equality and opportunities for women, including enabling social egg freezing. Ms Shanahan added her thoughts on the need for quicker pathways towards the discovery of safe and novel oral therapies that are targeted at reproductive longevity.
The ACRLE laboratory team presented the ongoing laboratory work involving processing and imaging of ovarian tissue sections
The visit concluded with a walkabout at the ACRLE laboratory, where the team presented images of ovarian tissue sections captured from the models used for the research work. Thanking the team for their contributions, Ms Shanahan said, “It is my honour to support the Centre’s work, as we seek to prolong the reproductive lifespan of women, and empower them in making family planning choices.”
Ms Nicole Shanahan (first from left) and Mdm Rahayu Mahzam (first from right with the ACRLE laboratory team)