Due to Visa Restrictions and to meet the requirements of the confirmation year for the PhD program at the University of Newcastle, this travel will be broken into two segments from 4 March 2015 to 21 June 2015 and Early July 2015 to Mid November 2015. This attachment at NTU is under the supervision and tutelage of Professor Sven Pettersson.

Proposed Travel Plan:
4 March 2015 - Mid November 2015 
Lee Kong Chain School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Duke-NUS Medical School, National University of Singapore, Singapore

Professor Sven Pettersson is Professor of Metabolic Diseases at Lee Kong Chain School of Medicine at NTU in Singapore. He also holds the title of Professor at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden. His research output includes 131 documents (5340 citations; h-index 38) including 6 publications in Nature journals, 8 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 4 in Gastroenterology, and 1 in the New England Journal of Medicine, amongst others. In his most recent articles, his group published evidence that intestinal glial cells and the blood brain barrier are programed by microbiota in the journals Neuron and Science Translational Medicine, respectively. 

Dr Pettersons laboratories have a strong collaboration with the neurosciences laboratory run by A/Prof Shawn Je at Duke-NUS, which in turn closely works with Duke University in North Carolina, USA.

From this attachment an on-going collaboration will be established with an institution that is performing research in an area that is currently unexplored by Newcastle University. My work with Professor Pettersson will establish a strong collaboration between HMRI/UON and an already well-established multinational collaboration. Based on the results of the experiments performed during this attachment, ongoing experiments will continue in Singapore as a result of this collaboration beyond my attachment.

The expected outcomes of my travel to Singapore include: 

Significant Laboratory Science using facilities not available at HMRI. Professor Pettersson maintains, at NTU, possibly the best established Germ Free laboratory in South East Asia. Germ free animals require a significant amount of resources to breed, raise and maintain. There is simply no institution in Australia that is actively working with these animals which means that international collaboration is necessary to facilitate this research. 
Access to Epidemiologists and Datasets through Karolinska Institutet, Sweden. The Nordic countries provide the best population based data for large scale research projects. Through the emerging collaboration with Karolinska Institutet, the Swedish National Registry of Patients will be accessed to further evaluate the role of gastrointestinal disease in glaucoma. As this project principally concerns itself with neuroprotection other pathologies will also be investigated in these databases including Stroke, Cerebral Palsy, Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease.

Publications in Major Journals. Professor Pettersson’s group have a strong track record of publications in high impact journals. The translational inferences of this project, and its highly novel status, make it a prime candidate for publication in high impact journals.


Mr Zachary McPherson, Dr Mark McEvoy, Professor Nick Talley

Research Area 
Project type 
Travel Grant
Year of funding