Dr. Michael Chee
michael.chee at



Dr. Michael Chee is a Professor at Duke-NUS Medical School and Principal Investigator of the Cognitive Neuroscience Lab. He is a member of the Neuroscience and Behavioral Disorders Program at Duke-NUS Medical School.

Dr. Chee earned a MBBS from the National University of Singapore and trained in internal medicine and neurology. He was a Fellow in Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio, USA and after some years in clinical practice, undertook a research fellowship at the Massachusetts General Hospital NMR Center in Boston.

His early research using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) involved several seminal contributions in the study of the bilingual brain, specifically the study of English-Chinese bilinguals. Intrigued by the effects of numerous trans-meridian flights he had taken, he began studying cognition in the setting of short-term total sleep deprivation - a research area that has been his principal focus since 2003. The goals of this research are to uncover the cognitive weak links contributing to performance decline in the sleep-deprived state and to examine the basis for inter-individual variation in tolerance of sleep deprivation. Two areas of his current interest are the effects of sleep deprivation on visual attention and processing capacity, and on decision-making.

In addition to sleep deprivation research, Dr. Chee investigates healthy brain aging in the elderly population. Since 2005, his lab has been following a cohort of healthy elderly volunteers using structural brain imaging, neuropsychological tests and a battery of blood markers with a view to characterize healthy cognitive aging in a cohort of ethnic Chinese. This aging study is currently the only one in East Asian followed up using brain imaging.

Dr. Chee has served on the program committee of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping. He is on the editorial boards of Sleep, Neuroimage and Frontiers in Sleep and Chronobiology and has been the recipient of research support from The Shaw Foundation, Biomedical Research Council, Defense Science and Technology Agency, National Medical Research Council, and National Institutes of Health (US) and Glaxo Smith Kline PLC. Among his awards are the SingHealth Investigator Excellence Award (2004), the inaugural Singapore Translational Research Investigatorship (STaR) and the National Outstanding Clinician-Scientist Award (2009).

Post Doctoral Fellows

Ong Ju Lynn
julynn.ong at


I'm interested in applications of image processing and pattern recognition in medical contexts. Being able to 'see through' the body using different imaging modalities to aid diagnosis and a better understanding of anatomy and physiology presents a never-ending series of exciting research questions. I previously worked on methods for polyp detection in CT colonography and am now trekking the pathways of fMRI and cognitive neuroscience.

I am also a bit of a photo junkie (anything from a blue sky to a crawling snail) for lots more freestyle image processing!


Stijn Massar
stijn.massar at


As a work and organizational psychologist, I am interested in how our brains enable us to do our daily jobs. As a neuroscientist, I am interested in how real life situations can inform us about our cognitive organization and brain functions.

During my undergraduate and PhD work at the universities of Nijmegen and Utrecht in the Netherlands, I have studied how cognitive and motivational functions can be affected by the state of mental fatigue induced by long periods of work. I have also studied how rewards and threats can guide cognitive functions such as learning and attention.

In Dr. Michael Chee’s lab, I am continuing the line of research on sleep deprivation and decision-making that has been initiated in collaboration with Dr. Scott Huettel’s group at Duke University.


Amiya Patanaik
amiya at


I am interested in the fusion of technology and science to further our understanding and solve interesting problems that can have significant impact on society. My broad level interests lie in statistical modeling and machine learning applied to behavioral, psychological and imaging data. Currently I am involved in the multi-modal study of sleep. Many interesting patterns are expected to be uncovered connecting vigilance, attention, memory and behavioral performance with different micro-architectures of sleep. I am also looking at possible predictive markers of vigilance and drowsiness.

There are no clear boundaries between my professional and personal interests; in my own time I like to explore the broader applications of my research. I am a part time entrepreneur and an amateur photographer who loves to travel. In my spare time I love watching movies and TV series, reading, cooking and talking with friends on myriad of topics. More details here.


James Cousins
james.cousins at


Why do we sleep? This profound alteration in consciousness and brain activity remains one of the most intriguing unsolved questions in biology.

There is now compelling evidence that memories are replayed during sleep, which serves to stabilize, enhance and integrate memory traces within existing networks. The reorganizing properties of sleep may be critical to adapt newly learned information and maximize its utility to direct future behavior. My research aims to uncover the many ways in which memories are transformed during sleep.

My PhD research at the University of Manchester in England used a technique of reactivating memory traces during sleep by replaying sounds associated with learning. Currently I am developing new paradigms that utilize this method to explore the role for reactivation in spatial memory, problem solving and creativity. My work also takes advantage of modern neuroimaging techniques such as fMRI and EEG, which offer a unique opportunity to peer inside the previously hidden world of sleep.


Lee Su Mei
sumei.lee at


I am broadly interested in the neural mechanisms that underlie social cognition. My past work has focused on understanding the role of the pSTS at the TPJ - a region involved in biological motion processing and action/intention understanding, but also associated with other functions such as multisensory integration, attention reorienting and stimulus evaluation. Here at CNL, I am interested in how the lack of sleep affects aspects of social cognition such as empathy. Additionally, I am also interested in how the brain coordinates between internally- and externally-directed cognition and how the lack of sleep might affect this coordination/balance.

Image Analysis and Methods Team

Jesisca Tandi
jesisca.tandi at


In this lab, my main task is to support the lab with issues related to fMRI image preprocessing and analysis.

My main interest is related to image processing and analysis, especially in MRI. More specifically, I like to think about how to improve currently available methods, to make it better in terms of accuracy and efficiency.

Sleep Team

Nicholas Chee
nick.chee at


I am a research assistant for the sleep team. My responsibilities in the lab include recruiting subjects, conducting experiments involving MRI scans and polysomnography, and assisting with data analysis. Additionally, due to my height, I am the lab’s self-propelled stepladder. My research interest is in the modulation of memory, such as the enhancement of memory via brain stimulation. In the pursuit of understanding how the brain functions, I view the experimental manipulation of brain physiology to produce tangible changes in cognitive function as the clearest proof of understanding.

Outside the lab, I pursue mountaineering, and am constantly aiming for new, more technical climbs in distant peaks around the world. There is nothing comparable to pushing oneself on the snow-covered slopes of mountain high above the clouds.


Karen Sasmita
karen.sasmita at


As a Research Assistant in the sleep team, my responsibilities include operating the MRI and EEG machines, data collection, analysis and the many more exciting assignments that follow brain research. My main interest lies in the intersection between decision making theories and neuroimaging. I find it fascinating to look at human behaviours through the neural lens. Working as an RA, the ultimate goal would be to contribute to the advancement of psychological research and to inspire others about the amazing capacity of the human mind.

In my free time, I enjoy reading books, watching films and baking. At the top of my bucket list: I'd love to travel the world.


Lee Xuan Kai
leexuankai at


I am an RA working as part of the sleep team. My responsibilities include data collection from behavioural and fMRI experiments, along with assisting the Research Fellows in acquisition of relevant knowledge from the scientific literature, and data analysis. My research interests, partly formed by my undergraduate work, include aspects of vision and perception, and how these can be affected by sleep. I also have basic knowledge of, and interests in, psychophysical research methods and statistics.

In my free time, I enjoy practising self-defence and martial arts, travelling, and enjoying the occasional dram of whisky (or three).


Teo Teck Boon
teckboon.teo at


As a research assistant for the sleep team, my responsibilities in the lab include conducting experiments involving MRI scans and polysomnography, recruiting subjects, and assisting with data collection. Above all this, I get to learn new things about the brain all while utilising the MRI scanner which has always appeared in textbooks and during undergraduate studies!
During my free time, I like to participate in a wide spectrum of activities from high intensity sports (especially soccer), to relaxing activities like playing the piano, watching movies and spending time with family. It is also my dream to travel the world especially to UK (Manchester), Europe and USA.


Shirley Koh
shirley.koh at


As a research assistant in the CNL sleep team, my main responsibilities involves assisting the post docs with their research work. This includes participant recruitment, conducting sleep deprivation experiments, data collection and helping out with analyses. Apart from these, through regular regular journal article readings, highly encouraged by our post docs, I get to learn new things about neruoimaging and cognition everyday that one cannot simply get just by reading the textbook. My interest lies in understanding more about the human brain, more specifically, music and cognition and how these can be affect by sleep.
In my free time, I enjoy dancing ballet, watching films, learning more about the start up world and of course, travelling the world.


Vaisakh Puthusseryppady
vaisakh at


Being a Research Assistant for the sleep team, my duties in the lab encompass participant recruitment & briefing, data collection and analysis (from MRI and polysomnography experiments), as well as acquiring knowledge from relevant scientific literature. My own research interests include the relationship between sleep and the various aspects of memory (specifically consolidation), as well as structural/functional brain connectivity.
Outside of the lab, I enjoy indulging myself in sports and entertainment. I am a passionate follower and player of football, and I enjoy watching/making movies as well as reading and writing.

Aging Studies Team

Lydia Teo
lydia.teo at


As a member of the ageing team, my main responsibilities include data collection, operating the MRI scanner and analyses. In general, I am interested in the relationship between ageing and sleep, as well as the differences, structurally and cognitively, between healthy individuals and people afflicted with psychological disorders.

Whenever time permits, I enjoy travelling to colder climates, reading books of any genre and spending time at home with my family.


Chong Shin Wee
shinwee at


I graduated from the University of Malaysia Sarawak with a B.A.(Hon) in Cognitive Science. My primary responsibilities in the lab include data collection from healthy ageing populations, literature reviews, and experimental design. My research interests focus on the relationship between neuropsychotic and sleep disorders, especially the impact of this relationship on ageing.


Emily Koh
emily.koh at


My main responsibilities include recruiting participants, literature review and operating the MRI scanner. I am interested in relations between ageing, health, sleep and lifestyle and how these factors affect the ageing process in an ageing society. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my friends over tea and taking walks in parks.


Shirley Kok
shirley.kok at


I provide secretarial services and administrative support to Dr. Michael Chee and the lab. Efficiency is my middle name!

Part of my daily routine includes having afternoon tea. My day at work will not be complete without it.

Graduate Student

Poh Jia Hou


In our daily life, we are constantly bombarded with copious amount of information from the external world. Despite our limited processing capacity, we are able to efficiently direct this finite amount of resources to relevant information for effective functioning. But yet at the same time, numerous instances have illustrated the limitations of our cognitive abilities and when they might fail, such as when required to perform multiple task at the same time.

With consistent lack of sleep being a prevalent issue in modern society, I seek to understand how sleep deprivation can further sap our limited cognitive capacity, affecting our daily functioning, particularly in changing how we might make decisions on various issues.

Apart from research, I enjoy dissecting MMA (mixed-martial arts) matches, appreciating the finesse and strategic complexity underlying the apparent violence.

Scanner Operator

Annalissa Tiu Munoz
annalissa at


I'm the scanner operator who's the most sleep-blest (or bliss) of the rest. I'm a lark whose main work is in providing daytime support in MRI operation.

I'm a chaplain's wife with two lovely children, a Mac Air, a Nespresso and a Kindle.


Aiqing Ling
Annette Chen
Bindiya Raghunath
Camilo Libedinsky
Cher Weishan
Christopher Asplund
Chun Siong Soon
Cindy Goh
Delise Chong
Deepti Mulick
Enhui Yong
Grace Tang
Hweeling Lee
Irma Kurniawan
Jack De Havas
Jean Liu
June Lo
Jiat Chow Tan
Jingwei Lim
Joann Poh
Joshua Goh
Julian Lim
Karen Chan
Karren Chen
Kavitha Dorairaj
Kong Danyang
Lisa Chuah
Loh Kep Kee
Mei-fen Yang
Meiyi Ngeow
Michele Veldsman
Ming Yi Zhou
Nabilah Mohammad
Natalie Wee
Pearlynne Chong
Praneeth Namburi
Sam Sim
Sarayu Parimal
Sei Hwan Oh
Siti Yaakub
Shuhui Yau
Shuwei Koh
Sunny Kort
Ruth Leong
Thomas Yeo
Tiffany Chia
Vanessa Chen
Vinod Shanmugam
Vinod Venkatraman
Vivian Isaac
Weiyan Chee
William Rekshan
Ying Lee
Zheng Hui
Zhu Wan Zheng


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