Dr. Michael Chee
michael.chee at
nus.edu.sg


Professor/Principal
Investigator

 

Professor Michael Chee Wei Liang is Director, Centre for Sleep and Cognition, NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. Before joining NUS Medicine, Mike was a Professor in the Neuroscience and Behavioral Disorders Programme at Duke-NUS since 2006. He was the Director of the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience and Visiting Consultant at Singapore General Hospital since 2014.

He received an MBBS from NUS in 1983 and underwent specialist training in internal medicine and neurology. During a Fellowship in Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation from 1990 to 1992, he developed an interest in MRI that was furthered at the Massachusetts General Hospital NMR Centre. On returning to Singapore, he worked on the functional anatomy of the bilingual brain before switching focus to the neurobehavioral and imaging associates of sleep deprivation and combining this with a second interest in cognitive ageing.

Mike’s present research seeks to reduce the impact of degraded or restricted sleep on cognitive performance, well-being and health-span. He will use objective measures of sleep, cognition, mood as well as physiological markers to tailor sleep-wake schedules for different age groups and individuals in a principled manner.

His research has been well cited in scholarly journals, but also notable is his advocacy for science and its relevance to the common man. His work has been mentioned in leading international media such as Time Magazine, the Economist, and BBC. He has appeared in several locally produced scientific documentaries and has written commentaries on topics on health, science and the importance of sleep.

Mike was the inaugural recipient of the BMRC-NMRC Senior Clinician Investigator (2005) and NMRC Singapore Translational Research Investigator (STaR) Awards (2008; renewed in 2013 and 2020). In 2009, he received the National Outstanding Clinician-Scientist Award. In 2020, he will be an inaugural Fellow of the Organization of Human Brain Mapping.

Having built research programs from the ground up, Mike is well acquainted with what it takes to develop from a solo PI to a group leader; from a practitioner serving one patient at a time, to a policy influencer whose ideas could shape the lives of millions of people. His mentorship of many junior scientists who have now achieved success in their own right, is something he cherishes and wishes to carry forward to his new role. As Director of the new Centre for Sleep and Cognition, he will lead and support PI’s and research staff in their quest to harness multi-disciplinary approaches encompassing cognitive neuroscience, brain imaging, machine learning, and public health to unlock human cognitive potential and sustain it over a lifetime.

 
 
 
Post Doctoral Fellows
 

Ong Ju Lynn
julynn.ong at
nus.edu.sg

 

My research interests are in signal/image processing methods for the improvement of health and cognition. As part of my PhD, I worked on methods for computer-aided detection of polyps in CT colonography. Under Prof. Michael Chee, I explored mechanisms underlying attention failures following sleep deprivation, improvement of memory consolidation during sleep using acoustic stimulation and characterisation of sleep patterns from young to old using EEG and MRI methods. My current research focuses on the development of targeted interventions for the improvement of population health using a combination of wearable data and health/cognitive measures.

When not looking at signals and images, I enjoy miniature craft, photography and unstructured play time with my two kids.

 
 

Stijn Massar
stijn.massar at
nus.edu.sg

 

I'm a cognitive neuroscientist with a background in work psychology. My main research interests are in human performance under fatigue, sleep deprivation and stress. I have a special interest in how these areas interact with motivation and effort allocation. I study these topics through a variety of techniques including behavioral experiments and techniques such as behavioral modelling, pupillometry, and neuroimaging. Furthermore, I am interested in methods and techniques to improve sleep in the wider population.

 
 

Ruth Leong
ruthleong at
nus.edu.sg

 

Sleep is important for health and cognition. Yet, much remains unknown about the exact role sleep features play in boosting aspects of cognition. How much sleep do we need to attain our cognitive and emotional goals? To what extent do naps benefit cognitive processes? Does the role of sleep change with age? I seek to address these questions by conducting behavioural experiments employing techniques measuring sleep as well as cognitive tasks. In addition, I am passionate about boosting population sleep health through strategic interventions targeting sleep education and sleep hygiene practices.

In my free time, I engage in my hobbies which include ballet, baking, gardening, reading, and hanging out with my dogs and parrot.

 
 

Soon Chun Siong
cs.soon at
nus.edu.sg


 

My research interests revolve around understanding the neurological and physiological dynamics of sleep, and managing sleep health at the population level.

We have uncovered instantaneous, orderly coupling between changes in respiration, heart rate, BOLD and EEG signals occurring at sleep- and wake-onsets. Multifactorial machine learning methods will be brought to bear to elucidate how such tight multimodal coordination supports different states of consciousness and transitions between them.

At the same time, with the aim of improving public health through better sleep and physical activity management, we are actively developing digital phenotyping tools to collect physiological and behavioral matrices via smartphones and wearables. Both implicit and explicit measures are used to monitor sleep, physical and cognitive health.

In my “spare” time, I help to manage 3 research MR scanners, from setting up SOPS, managing contracts, QC, to designing and fixing scanner-compatible accessorial equipment.

 
 

Gizem Yilmaz
gizem.yilmaz at
nus.edu.sg


 

I am a biomedical scientist with a bioengineering background. My research has been evolving around biosignal processing to investigate the functioning of the human body. In my Ph.D. research, I worked extensively with electrophysiological signals to decipher neural pathways of the neuromuscular system. Now, as a research fellow in Prof. Chee’s group, I seek to understand the dynamic relationship between signals of the cardiovascular system (such as ECG and PPG) and sleep metrics, by combining wearable data and biosignals. The ultimate goal of my research is to contribute to the improvement of health in the wider population.

Meanwhile, apart from being an avid walker (I can discover a whole city on foot), I love being outdoors – running, trekking, camping, mountaineering…I look forward to discovering forests, valleys, and mountains around Singapore.

          
 
 
Sleep Team
 

Nicholas Chee
nick.chee at
nus.edu.sg

 

I am a research associate in the sleep team. My research interests include the relationship between sleep and cognition, such as the modulation of memory via brain stimulation during sleep. 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 most objective proof of understanding. Aside from my usual responsibilities in the lab, namely data collection involving MRI scans and polysomnography, and subsequent processing and analysis of said data, I handle the lab’s sizable collection of wearable devices, valuable tools for tracking sleep at a population level. I am the Baron of Actiwatches and Lord of the (Oura) Rings. Additionally, due to my height, I am the lab’s self-propelled stepladder.

Outside the lab, I pursue alpine climbing, and am constantly planning for more technical climbs in distant peaks around the world. I’m part of a small group of alpinists based in Singapore pushing for self-reliant, independent climbing and hope to inspire more Singaporean climbers to seek less commercialised, more skills-based mountain pursuits.

 
 

Teo Teck Boon
teckboon at
nus.edu.sg

 

Being part of a sleep team, my roles as a research assistant include recruiting participants, administering experimental protocols, data collection and processing. I am involved in various large scale and longitudinal projects looking at the relationship between sleep on various health outcomes. This is in line with my interests which is specifically on how sleep might improve mental health outcomes.

Outside of the science world, its safe to say that I am an adrenaline junkie, I like to travel and try all sorts of activities!

 
 

Andrew Roshan Dicom
andrew.dicom at
nus.edu.sg

 

I am a research assistant for the Sleep and Cognition Laboratory. My responsibilities have included recruiting participants, conducting screening interviews, running experimental procedures, data processing, and other administrative duties. Currently, I am mainly involved in the GUSTO sleep study investigating the effects of sleep on cortical maturation and subsequent cognitive repercussions in 9 year old children. Broadly, my interests lie in the long term effects of insufficient sleep and its various public health implications.

During my free time, I read a lot of sci-fi novels, have deep historical & philosophical debates with friends (or strangers), and go for very long walks around Singapore’s many beautiful parks.

Also, I am a walking Middle-Earth encyclopaedia.

 
 

Shamsul Azrin Jamaluddin
azrin.jamaluddin at
nus.edu.sg

 

My research interest is in the field of learning and memory. Specifically, I am interested in the factors that affect our ability to form lasting memories, e.g., sleep. In the lab, I have been involved in projects investigating the effects of a nap on both the encoding and consolidation of new memories using multiple methods such as fMRI and EEG. Prior to joining the lab, I completed an MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL.

Outside of work I enjoy practicing yoga, watching anime and learning more about data science.

 
 

Lau Te Yang
teyang.lau at
nus.edu.sg

 

Sleep is one of the three pillars of health but perhaps the most neglected and overlooked. The era of big data and advancement in consumer technology has paved the way for large-scale data collection. This provides the potential for personalized healthcare and the understanding of factors influencing population health and disease. My main interest involves applying data science and machine learning techniques on these rich but often noisy datasets to derive insights about the relationships among our sleep, health and cognition.

Some of my projects as a research assistant include investigating the impact of sleep variability and rest activity patterns on health using wearable data, and exploring the benefits of nap for cognitive processes.

In my free time, I enjoy playing football, photography, terrarium scaping, and travelling and hiking around the world.

 
 

Chua Xin Yu
xinyu.chua at
nus.edu.sg

 

As a research assistant in the Sleep and Cognition Laboratory, my responsibilities within the lab include the collection, processing and analysis of data for various research studies. Currently, my main project revolves around the use of smartphone applications to capture the relationship between sleep and day-to-day changes in cognition.

Outside of work, I spend my free time baking, reading, drawing, learning about data science, and staring into empty space.

 
 

Zhenghao Pu
zhenghao.pu at
nus.edu.sg

 

As a research assistant in the lab, I am mostly involved in projects that seek to understand health behavior (particularly sleep) from a decision-making perspective. Current projects explore topics like effort-based decision-making and bedtime procrastination. These projects have provided me rich opportunities to learn and practice a wide range of research skills including literature review, experimental design, participant recruitment, coding behavioral tasks on MATLAB and E-prime, writing SOP and collecting data from participants, analyzing data on MATLAB and SPSS, running participants through MRI protocols in an MRI scanner, etc.

In the future I aspire to be a clinical child psychologist who focuses on research but is also involved in practice and clinical training. My research interests revolve around early life adversity and its risk for psychopathology later in life, and involve topics like parenting, attachment, cognitive and neural development. I believe that healthy child development is the key to happy and competent adults and a peaceful world.

Ashamed to admit it, TV is currently my favorite thing outside work. I also love watching and playing tennis, singing (which is not to say I am good at it) and cooking.

 
 

Nicole Yu
nicoleyu at
nus.edu.sg

 

I work as a research assistant in the lab. Prior to joining the lab, I obtained a Master’s degree in Cognitive Neuroscience from University College London (UCL). I also have a background in psychology from my undergraduate degree. My research interests include studying the effects of sleep on cognition, memory, and overall mental health and wellbeing. I hope to always have neuroscience as a part of my life because it is my passion.

Outside of work, I spend most of my time with family and friends. I enjoy exploring different places and like to travel as much as possible. When alone, I like to watch films or do something creative related to music and the arts/drawing.

 
 

Alyssa Ng
alyssa.ng at
nus.edu.sg

 

I graduated from the University of Melbourne with a degree in Psychology and Economics. As a research assistant, my work involves collecting data for various research projects and assisting the research fellows with data analyses. My interests lie broadly in studies of mental health, learning and models of decision-making, and in the application of neuroimaging techniques such as electroencephalography and magnetic resonance imaging to examine these.

In my free time, I enjoy reading books, practising yoga and dabbling in art.

 
 

Hoki Fung
hokifung at
nus.edu.sg

 

With a background in Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience, my research explores the neural basis of higher executive function such as decision making in healthy adults, and investigates how these brain mechanisms might be compromised in certain clinical populations. I am experienced in collecting and analyzing behavioral, structural MRI, resting-state fMRI, and task-fMRI data. In the SCL, I look at how sleep patterns influence brain growth during adolescence, and investigate how this might affect cognition, health, and behavior.

Prior to joining the SCL, I worked as a data scientist at a clinical imaging center and a research associate at a clinical research lab. I received my B.A. in Psychology from University of California Berkeley in 2015 and my M.Res. in Cognitive Neuroscience from University College London in 2016.

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with friends, working out, and learning new things.

 
 
 
Secretary
 

Shirley Kok
shirleykok at
nus.edu.sg

 

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
 

Hosein Aghayan Golkashani


 

As an MD-MPH, I have always been interested in interdisciplinary research in cognitive neuroscience. Currently, I am a Ph.D. student, and my research focuses on the effects of aging and sleep on schema-based learning and memory integration. In this regard, I have been investigating if older adults are capable of forming new knowledge structures and whether the schema-driven memory benefits are preserved with advancing age. I am also interested in how sleep benefits the consolidation of schema-related memories and inference. Moreover, my current project aims to examine how sleep deprivation could affect schema-driven facilitation of inference and memory integration into a freshly acquired schema.

 
 
 
IT Support and Data Analysis

Shohreh Ghorbani
shohreh.ghorbani at
nus.edu.sg

 

I am a research associate in the Center for Sleep and Cognition with a background in Electrical Engineering and an MSc in Telecommunications. My primary responsibility is to provide IT support for the lab members. I am also interested in sleep research, and my current project is focused on the validation of sleep wearable devices with polysomnography. The other line of research involves investigating roles of slow-wave sleep and sleep spindles in memory consolidation.

 
 
 

Annalissa Tiu Munoz
anna.munoz at
nus.edu.sg

 

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. I love nature and walking at parks relaxes me.

 
 
 
 
         


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

       
 



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