Sea Creatures workshop

During Science Fest this year we held a Sea Creatures workshop at the OpenLab.

Through a short lecture, we learnt about the key features of some common and some not-so-common marine organisms! Many of these can be found in Singapore waters!

In the second part of the workshop, everyone got to sew their very own little sea creature. It didn’t matter if they had sewing experience or not, the fluffy socks and gloves were very forgiving!

Here are some of the creatures we made:

We are having another workshop during the January Induction Programme. Sign up with the JIP coordinators if you are interested! No sewing skills required!

RSI Research projects offered in 2016

Sign up before 21 Feb 2016 at:

http://tinyurl.com/rsiproject2016

Code: B001
Title: Taxonomy and conservation – Field Identification of dipterocarps

 

Synopsis: We need to be able to identify primary forest trees such as dipterocarps to better manage and conserve our nature reserves.  But what if the tree is 30 m tall, and all we can see is its bark and fallen decaying leaves? This project is divided into two parts:  one group will aim to develop a system to identify 10 most common dipterocarp species using accessible characters; the other group will kickstart development of a computer visual pattern recognition system.

Principal Investigator: Dr Jeffrey Lee; Dr Tan Guoxian

Pre-requisites: a) Independent and committed to the project; b) strong interest in plant biology and/or computer science; c) will involve field work

Contact: jeffrey.lee at ri.edu.sg

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Code: B002
Title: Cancer Biology – Linking a polarity component of the tight junction to the aggressiveness of colon cancer cell lines

Synopsis: This project aims to investigate the possible role of tight junction proteins, which are known to play a central role in the epithelium-mesenchyme transition (EMT), in cancer progression and aggressiveness. Experimental work involves growing various colon cancer cell lines and examining the overexpression of tight junction proteins such as ZO-2-Slug or Snail via immunofluorescence and Western Blots. Other assays such as invasion and migration assays and interrogation of the transcriptome using qPCR may also be carried out.

Looking for 2 students.

Principal Investigator: Dr Lee Zhiying (RSI);Dr. Goh Choon Peng (IMCB, A*STAR)

Pre-requisites:

a) At least a background in upper sec Biology (‘O’ level or Y3-4 RP).
b) At least 1 free afternoon every week (2-3h, discounting travelling time to lab of about 1h)
c) Strong passion in research

Remarks: Selection will be on individual’s attributes i.e. pre-formed groups may be broken up. This project may also be conducted at IMCB, A*STAR.

Contact: zhiying.lee at ri.edu.sg

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Code: E001
Title: Green roof runoffs: a water quality study

Synopsis: Low impact developments such as green roofs have great potential and application not only in reducing urban heat islands, enhancing biodiversity and aesthetic appeal but also stormwater management. However, green roofs may become contributors of pollution from soil, plants and fertilizers. This project aims to evaluate the differences in water quality for different substrate-based green roofs during short-term rain events of varying intensities to optimize and improve green roof systems in Singapore.

Principal Investigators: Dr Grace Lim & Dr Abigayle Ng

Pre-requisites: a) Independent and committed to the project; b) strong interest in environmental sciences; c) creative and able to innovate.

Remarks:  Other environmental science projects are also welcomed.

Contact: abigayle.ng at ri.edu.sg
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Code: C001
Title: Chemistry – organic synthesis of 3D printer material with high electrical conductivity

Synopsis: 3D printing presents an unique disruptive technology that will eventually be as common as your current 2D printer at home or in the office.

Students will synthesize a novel low-cost material that has high electrical conductivity for 3D printers.

Looking for 3 students.

Principal Investigator: Dr Tan Guoxian (RSI)

Pre-requisites: Nil
************

 

Code: P001
Title: Effects of time-dilation on cosmic rays

Synopsis: Using cosmic ray detectors, this project aims to investigate the effect of time dilation on sub-atomic particles known as muons that reach the Earth’s surface. Experimental verification of special relativity using the cosmic ray detector will be conducted in this project.

Looking for 1 student.

Principal Investigator: Dr Tan Guoxian (RSI), Prof. Phil Chan (NUS)
Dr. Lim Jit Ning (HCI)

Pre-requisitesa) Independent and committed,
b) Strong interest in particle physics, c) willing to travel to NUS and Hwa Chong Institution for the experiment.

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New RSI research project titles for 2016

Please find the tiles and synopses here:

Please apply for projects online using this form: http://tinyurl.com/rsiproject2016.
The deadline for the first round of applications is 21st Feb 2016. Do note that you are also allowed to take RSI projects under the SRP programme. You may also choose to self-propose your own projects (eg. extension of previous YRP / YDSP projects) using the same form.

Only shortlisted candidates will be notified via email for an interview.

Pls email Dr Tan at guoxian.tan@ri.edu.sg for any clarifications.

New research project titles for 2015

Please find the tiles and synopses here:

Please apply for projects online using this form: http://tinyurl.com/rsiproject2015.
The deadline for the first round of applications is 20th Feb 2015. Do note that you are also allowed to take RSI projects under the SRP programme. Only shortlisted candidates will be notified via email for an interview.

Pls email Dr Tan at guoxian.tan@ri.edu.sg for any clarifications.

Research projects offered in 2015

Please fill in this form to sign up http://tinyurl.com/rsiproject2015

To avoid delay, please also contact Principal Investigators directly to arrange for an interview if you are interested in the projects. Availability is as stated. Do not contact for projects that are already closed.

Code: B001 (2 spaces available)
Title: Spatial distribution of Hippocampus kuda and H. comes in Singapore

Synopsis: Two species of seahorses have been observed off the islands and coastline of Singapore- the yellow seahorse Hippocampus kuda and the tiger-tailed seahorse H. comes. From anecdotal reports, H. kuda is thought to be an estuarine species while H. comes has only been found on coral reefs in Singapore. This project would assess if the two seahorse species in Singapore demonstrates habitat diversification. Habitat data will be collected through a combination of fieldwork and meta-data extraction from seahorse photographs shot in Singapore that are available online. The student will learn how to identify the common seahorse species found in Southeast Asia, confirm seahorse sightings in Singapore, and report all seahorse sightings to http://www.iSeahorse.org.

No work on live or dead seahorses is involved. 

Principal Investigator: Dr Abigayle Ng (RSI) & Dr Tse-Lynn Loh (Shedd Aquarium)

Pre-requisites: a) Interest in biodiversity; b) able to take initiative and work independently; c) have good social skills.

Contact: abigayle.ng at ri.edu.sg

************

Code: B002 (1 space available)
Title: Population genetics of Hippocampus kuda and H. comes

Synopsis: This project would assess the genetic diversity of seahorses in Vietnam. Because seahorses are hypothesized to have limited dispersal abilities, seahorse populations may be highly structured and genetically distinct within small biogeographic regions. In this study, students will learn how to extract seahorse DNA, determine the best sequences to use in this study, and run population genetics analyses. All seahorse genetic sequences will be uploaded to GenBank (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/genbank/). The data from this study can help uncover the resolution at which population genetic studies can be used to determine the sources of seahorses found in trade and possibly aid in the conservation of seahorses in South East Asia.

Principal Investigator: Dr Abigayle Ng (RSI) & Dr Tse-Lynn Loh (Shedd Aquarium)

Pre-requisites: a) Interest in molecular evolution and conservation; b) must be committed and able to work independently.

Contact: abigayle.ng at ri.edu.sg

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Code: B005 (2 spaces available)
Title: Statistical studies on contamination of food with foodborne pathogens using VereFoodborne DNA Chip

Synopsis: This study aims to determine the type of foods, the area where the food was prepared or the classes of food which may have a higher incidence of carrying food borne pathogens. Foodborne pathogens will be identified using DNA microarray technology. The statistical data collected can be effectively used to suggest ways to avoid or lower the incidence of food contamination.

Looking for 2 to 3 students.

Principal Investigator: Dr Lee Zhiying (RSI)

Pre-requisites: Biology background and taking ‘A’ level Biology

Remarks: Selection will be on individual’s attributes i.e. pre-formed groups may be broken up. This project will be conducted only at Raffles Institution.

Contact: zhiying.lee at ri.edu.sg
************

Code: B006 (2 spaces available)
Title: Development of a solvatochromism based molecular aggregation prediction model

Synopsis:

Molecular aggregation is a common phenomenon with profound implications on the photophysical, photochemical and biomedical properties of materials. For example, the aggregation of the β-amyloid peptide in the brain is related to Alzheimer’s disease; the aggregation of protein LHCIIb forms part of a critical route for plant leaves to nonphotochemically dissipate excess photons required for photosynthesis and regulates light harvesting.

This project aims to establish a quick and low-cost method to quantify the level of molecular aggregation, based on spectroscopic data (UV—vis absorption and fluorescence spectroscopies). Small organic dyes will be used to test and evaluate this model, while our final goal is to implement such a model in drug-screening, i.e., for the treatment of Malaria.

Both experimental measurements (using various spectroscopies) and data analysis will be carried out by the student under the supervision of a researcher at SMART. At the end of the project, a journal publication is expected while the student may serve as a co-author based on his/her contributions.

Principal Investigator: Dr Liu Xiaogang (SMART) and Dr Lee Zhiying (RSI)

Pre-requisites: Strong in Physics and Chemistry, will require knowledge of Matrices (Mathematics). Available for full time attachment during June and Dec holidays.

Remarks: Selection will be on individual’s attributes i.e. pre-formed groups may be broken up. This project will be conducted off-campus at external laboratory at NUS-CREATE.

Contact: zhiying.lee at ri.edu.sg

************

Code: P002 (2 spaces available)
Title: A study of anti-microbial properties of ternary Zr-based bulk metallic glasses

Synopsis: Bulk metallic glasses (BMGs) are a new class of engineering materials with interesting combination of properties that offer numerous potential applications. This project involves the synthesis of ternary Zr-based bulk metallic glasses with good glass forming abilities. The anti-microbial properties of ternary Zr-based BMGs in relationship with their glass forming ability and respective microstructures are then characterised.

Principal Investigator: Dr Grace Lim (RSI), Dr Abigayle Ng (RSI) & Prof Li Yi (NUS, Dept of Materials Science and Engineering)

Pre-requisites: a) A strong interest in materials science; b) strong in all 3 sciences and c) committed individuals who are able to take initiative and work independently

Contact: abigayle.ng at ri.edu.sg

******************

Code: E002 (1 space available)
Title: Green roof runoffs: a water quality study

Synopsis: Low impact developments such as green roofs have great potential and application not only in reducing urban heat islands, enhancing biodiversity and aesthetic appeal but also stormwater management. However, green roofs may become contributors of pollution from soil, plants and fertilizers. This project aims to evaluate the differences in water quality for different substrate-based green roofs during short-term rain events of varying intensities to optimize and improve green roof systems in Singapore.

Dr Grace Lim & Dr Abigayle Ng

Pre-requisites: a) Independent and committed to the project; b) strong interest in environmental sciences; c) creative and able to innovate.

Contact: abigayle.ng at ri.edu.sg

************

Code: B003 (closed)
Title: Molecular evolution of wild Ixora

Synopsis: This study aims to use molecular methods to examine the evolution of wild Ixora in Singapore.

Looking for 2 – 3 students.

Principal Investigator: Dr Abigayle Ng (RSI) & Dr Adrian Loo (Gardens by the Bay)

Pre-requisites: Committed and independent students interested in botany and molecular evolution

************

Code: B004 (closed)
Title: Alternative medicine in ameliorating the Oxidative Stress in Diabetes Mellitus

Synopsis: Research will be conducted at SMART located within NUS campus.
Techniques include Magnetic Resonance Relaxometry, Protein gel electrophoresis and UV-Vis spectrophotometry

Looking for 2 to 3 students.

Principal Investigator: Dr Peng Weng Kung (SMART, BioSyM), Dr Sreelatha Sarangapani (SMART, BioSyM) & Dr Lee Zhiying (RSI)

Pre-requisites: Good background in Biology and Physics. Students currently taking the two subjects or either one are highly preferred. Able to commit long afternoons during school term to the project as laboratory work will be done off-campus.

Remarks: Selection will be on individual’s attributes i.e. pre-formed groups may be broken up.
************

Code: C001 (closed)
Title: Chemistry – organic synthesis of 3D printer material with high electrical conductivity

Synopsis: 3D printing presents an unique disruptive technology that will eventually be as common as your current 2D printer at home or in the office.

Students will synthesize a novel low-cost material that has high electrical conductivity for 3D printers.

Looking for 3 students.

Principal Investigator: Dr Tan Guoxian (RSI)

Pre-requisites: Nil
************

Code: E001 (closed)
Title: Biophysics – Use of 3D printed models to study the aerodynamics and wind  dispersal potential of fruits from native and introduced climbing vines of the family Malpighiaceae

Synopsis:  This project seeks to use 3D printing to understand the aerodynamics of the wind dispersed fruits of three climbing species of Malpighiaceae, a family of popular ornamental plants: Aspidopterys concava is a locally endangered native species with isolated populations in the Central Catchment Reserves;  The Maiden’s Jealousy (Tristellateia australasiae) planted extensively in our parks and gardens are introduced clones whilst the remaining native populations survive only in small mangrove areas in the north.  The introduced Helicopter Flower (Hiptage benghalensis) has naturalized in our central catchment forest and is known as one of the most invasive plant species in the world.  Knowledge gained about the wind dispersal potential of the fruits of these three species will contribute towards biodiversity conservation in very different ways.

Looking for 3 students.

Principal Investigator: Dr Tan Guoxian; Dr Jeffrey Lee

Pre-requisites: Nil

************

Code: P001 (closed)
Title: Physics – 3D printing of mobile phone casings for protection

Synopsis: 3D printing presents an unique disruptive technology that will eventually be as common as your current 2D printer at home or in the office. This project looks at designing your own handphone casing that is waterproof, shockproof and even scratchproof, using a 3D printer.
Physical tests such as impact testing and hardness testing, will have to be experimentally designed and carried out.
More details can be found at http://www.otterbox.com

Looking for 3 students.

Principal Investigator: Dr Tan Guoxian (RSI)

Pre-requisites: Nil

************

Code: P003 (closed)
Title: Inorganic oxide coatings on polypropylene separator films for lithium ion batteries

Synopsis: Rechargeable lithium ion batteries (LIB) are one of the most important and suitable power sources for portable electronics due to their light weight and high charge density. However, many are concerned about the safety of LIB as more cases of exploding batteries have been reported. This project aims to synthesize a new composite separator and characterize its thermal stability properties.

Looking for 1 to 3 students.

Principal Investigator: Dr Grace Lim (RSI) & A/Prof Wang Qing (NUS, Dept of Materials Science and Engineering)

Pre-requisites: a) An interest in materials science; b) Committed individuals who are able to take initiative and work independently.

************

Code: T001 (closed)
Title: Mobile Healthcare Sensor System

Synopsis: Sensors contained in mobile phones are ubiquitous and provide convenience for many. Such sensors can be applied to patients who require physiotherapy, in the comfort of their own home. This effectively removes difficulties and constraints in travelling to hospice or medical facilities.

Looking for 3 students.

Principal Investigator: Dr Tan Guoxian

Pre-requisites: basic programming skills, interest in signal processing or playing with android phones

************

Code: T002 (closed)
Title: Forensic Science – Using Deep Learning to Train Adhesive Tape Classifiers.

Synopsis: This project focuses on the development of a Deep Learning natural language processing (NLP) method to provide an efficient and accurate method of adhesive tape recognition, which is important in helping forensic scientists deduce results rapidly and accurately.

Students will learn first-hand how forensic scientists are constantly being creative and innovative to integrate info-comm technology into stopping crime.

Looking for 3 students.

Principal Investigator: Dr Tan Guoxian

Pre-requisites: Familiarity in any programming skills such as C++, Java, Python or Matlab.

************

Code: T003 (closed)
Title: Dengue Fever Prediction System

Synopsis: Use machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques to predict the next dengue fever hotspot in Singapore.

Looking for 3 students.

Principal Investigator: Dr Tan Guoxian

Pre-requisites: Familiarity in any programming skills such as C++, Java, Python or Matlab.

************

Code: T004 (closed)
Title: Gesture recognition system using Android smartphones

Synopsis: Similar to a Nintendo Wii system, smartphones can be used to recognise motion and gestures based on the built-in sensors. The clever exploitation of multiple sensors contained in smartphones allows users to perform complex tasks without the need for additional external sensors that may be bulky. This project aims to equip students with knowledge on signal processing and sensor fusion to invent and create a working prototype of a mobile gesture recognition system.

Looking for 3 students.

Principal Investigator: Dr Tan Guoxian

Pre-requisites: Experience with any programming skills such as Adruino, C++, Java, Python or Matlab is not compulsory, but an advantage.

************

Only shortlisted candidates will be notified via email for an interview. Please email Dr Tan at guoxian.tan@ri.edu.sg for clarifications.

Video: Finding Faults: Identifying Earthquake Hazards Around the World

Keynote from the Raffles Science Symposium

Finding Faults: Identifying Earthquake Hazards Around the World

Asst. Prof. Judith Hubbard
Division of Earth Sciences and Earth Observatory of Singapore, NTU

Many earthquakes occur on faults that have not ruptured for hundreds, or even thousands, of years. As a result, earthquakes sometimes seem unexpected, causing massive devastation in areas that are not adequately prepared. How can we identify active faults before they slip and evaluate their earthquake hazard, and why is earthquake prediction so difficult? Prof. Judith Hubbard will discuss how earth scientists use cutting-edge techniques, such as subsurface imaging, 3D visualization, geophysical modeling, and remote sensing, to better understand and forecast earthquakes in areas ranging from Sichuan, China, where a M7.9 earthquake killed 80,000 people in 2008, to Ventura, California, where she predicts that a similar magnitude earthquake may occur in the next few centuries.

Click to view video:

Identifying earthquake hazards around the world

About Prof. Hubbard:

Prof. Judith Hubbard studies earthquake hazards with the goal of better understanding and preparing for damaging earthquakes. She uses surface and subsurface data from a variety of sources, including satellite imagery, geological investigations, and petroleum industry seismic reflection and well data, to assess the 3D geometries and kinematics of active faults. She received her Ph.D. in 2011 from Harvard University and her B.S. in 2005 from the California Institute of Technology. She joined the faculty at the Earth Observatory of Singapore at Nanyang Technological University in September 2012, and plans to develop a field and laboratory research program that will focus on active faults in many part of Southeast Asia, including Sumatra, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and northern India.

Video: Science in an Uncertain World

The first keynote of the Raffles Science Symposium

Science in an Uncertain World

By Assoc. Prof. Lim Tit Meng
Chief Executive, Singapore Science Centre

Scientists can be considered as explorers searching for knowledge and solution.  They often face the unknown challenges in the pursuit of scientific discovery or innovation.  It is also quite apt to say that scientists personify the statement of ‘the more we know the more we do not know’ as new knowledge always lead us to new questions.  Scientists hence literally live in an uncertain world, because there are always surprises and mysteries surrounding them.  Dealing with uncertainty is an integral part of a scientist’s world, as demonstrated through how the nerve growth factor was discovered by a Nobel Laureate.

Click here to view the video:
Science in an uncertain world

About Prof. Lim:

A/P Lim’s scientific background includes Zoology and Life Sciences, and his current research focuses on cell death mechanism involved in Parkinson’s disease and Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. He is continuing with his research programmes whilst serving as Chief Executive of Science Centre Singapore.

The past President of the Singapore Institute of Biology, A/P Lim currently co-chairs the 2012 International Biology Olympiad Committee in Singapore. A/P Lim is a major  contributor to science education on a national level, playing an active role in shaping the biology curriculum in particular.

Raffles Science Institute Guest Lecture Series

Three lectures by distinguished guests from Kew Gardens and Natural History Museum London

All are welcome to attend these free talks. Please register here to RSVP.

Session 1

Date: 7th November 2012, Wednesday
Time: 2pm to 4pm
Venue: Raffles Institution (Y5-6) Lecture Theatre 3, Blk A Level 3

1. The Flora of Lord Howe Island – Origins and Diversity
By Dr Bill Baker, Head Palms Section, Kew Gardens

Lord Howe Island is a minute volcanic landmass (12 km2) in the Pacific Ocean that is home to 241 native plant species, more than 100 of which are found nowhere else. How did such extreme endemism arise in so small a space? What mechanisms promote species divergence in the face of the homogenising influence of ongoing gene flow? In this talk, we explore these questions using a text book case study ­ the Howea palms ­ and place this important case of sympatric speciation in plants in the context of the island’s flora as a whole and speciation thinking in general.

2. Evolution and Diversity of Pacific Island Psyllids
By Dr Diana Percy, Research Entomologist, Natural History Museum 

Psyllids are small, plant-feeding insects related to aphids, scales and whiteflies. They exhibit interesting modifications in morphology and biological habits related to living on different plant species. By using a combination of phylogenetic, ecological, and behavioural analyses, I will discuss how this insect group has diversified and evolved. I will demonstrate how this relatively little known insect group can provide comparative studies of speciation mechanisms as interesting and amenable as more well known model insect systems.

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Session 2

Date: 9th November 2012, Friday
Time: 4pm to 5pm
Venue: Raffles Institution (Y5-6) Lecture Theatre 3, Blk A Level 3

Global Palm Biogeography and the History of Tropical Floras
Dr Bill Baker, Head Palms Section, Kew Gardens

Palms are iconic of the tropics ­ they are common throughout the world’s rain forests, where they may account for a substantial proportion of standing biomass and function as keystone species, providing important ecosystem services and influencing their surroundings. Palms are evidently important to modern rain forests, but what can they tell us about the rain forests of the past? With their fossil record dating back to 90 million years, can they shed light on the origin of the rain forests themselves? Here, using a time-calibrated ‘tree of life’ for palms, we address these questions and obtain challenging answers that prompt reflection on perceived wisdom about the evolution of tropical floras.

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Getting to RI Y5-6 (previously known as Raffles Junior College

Directions: http://www.ri.edu.sg/main/contact/gettingtoraffles

Map of RI Y5-6: http://www.ri.edu.sg/files/Year-5-6-Map-06082012.jpg

To all visitors, please enter via Gate 3 and report to the Security Command Centre first. Thank You!

All are welcome to attend these free talks. Please register here to RSVP.

Please email abigayle[dot]ng[at]ri.edu.sg if you have any enquiries.