EpiGen announces collaboration with Nestlé

November 22, 2011

Nov. 22 2011 - The EpiGen Consortium, an international alliance of the world's leading epigenetics researchers (Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), National University of Singapore, University of Southampton, Medical Research Council - Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, AgResearch Limited, Auckland UniServices Limited) are pleased to announce the creation of a research collaboration with Nestlé Research Center in Switzerland.

The partnership brings together scientists from both the public and private sectors to improve human health through the application of epigenetic tools and technologies.

EpiGen will collaborate with Nestlé Research Center and Nestlé Nutrition to undertake a research program to understand and substantiate optimal nutrition for mothers during pregnancy and for infants to promote metabolic health throughout life. The ultimate goal of the program is to make recommendations, supported by robust science, for the best maternal and infant nutrition strategies.

These studies will rely on epigenetics, the biology of understanding how gene function is regulated by environmental factors, such as maternal nutrition, during the very early stages of development. EpiGen will contribute its expertise in this emerging scientific field, while Nestlé will contribute its outstanding knowledge of maternal and infant nutrition.

"This important collaboration will build on the ongoing research conducted by Nestlé scientists in the field of metabolic programming to formulate the best nutritional products for mothers and their infants," said Prof Peter van Bladeren, Vice President of Nestlé Science & Research. "The comprehensive knowledge of EpiGen researchers combined with Nestlé's scientific expertise will bring epigenetics to the forefront in the understanding of early nutrition for the promotion of health throughout life."

"If we are to improve the health of women and children we need effective partnerships between academia and the private sector, as it is clear that good nutrition at the beginning of life is a key factor in determining metabolic health. This international partnership is based on cutting edge science of the highest quality with each party bringing unique expertise to focus on this important subject," added Prof Sir Peter Gluckman, Director of the Growth, Development and Metabolism Programme at A*STAR's Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences and Managing Scientist for the EpiGen Consortium.

"This collaboration is an excellent platform for the public and private sectors to work closely together to translate clinical research findings into innovative products that meet societal needs. Together with our international partners, we can achieve greater impact for the improvement of global health and nutrition," said Professor Judith Swain, Executive Director of A*STAR's Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences.

"We are pleased to be part of this international, multidisciplinary partnership. The combination of clinical, academic and commercial expertise and resources will help us push the boundaries of developmental epigenetics," added Associate Professor Chong Yap Seng, from the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore.

This synergistic partnership is the culmination of mutual scientific interest and positive exchanges between EpiGen, the Nestlé Research Center and Nestlé Nutrition. The combined strengths of these public and private sector research institutions will accelerate learning and discovery in this important area of human nutrition.
About EpiGen

EpiGen is a consortium of leading researchers in the fields of epigenetics and metabolic programming, comprising six research centres in three countries (AgResearch Limited, Auckland UniServices Limited, University of Southampton, Medical Research Council - Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), and National University of Singapore). EpiGen strives to identify and understand the epigenetic modifications of specific genes by environmental factors which occur early in life. The aim of ongoing studies managed by EpiGen is to develop biomarkers and targeted interventions, as well as new technology platforms for epigenomic research.

About the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)

A*STAR is the lead agency for fostering world-class scientific research and talent for a vibrant knowledge-based and innovation-driven Singapore. A*STAR oversees 14 biomedical sciences and physical sciences and engineering research institutes, and six consortia & centres, located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis as well as their immediate vicinity.

A*STAR supports Singapore's key economic clusters by providing intellectual, human and industrial capital to its partners in industry. It also supports extramural research in the universities and with other local and international partners.

For more information about A*STAR, please visit http://www.a-star.edu.sg.

Established in 2007, the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences (SICS) is an institute within A*STAR. Its mission is to develop disease-oriented clinical and translational research programmes in focused disease areas. SICS is distinguished by its focus on clinical sciences and the use of innovative approaches and technologies that enable the efficient and effective study of human health and diseases. The clinical scientists in SICS conduct the full spectrum of "bench to bedside" research activities in genetic medicine, infectious diseases and metabolic diseases (including diabetes/ obesity/ insulin resistance). SICS aims to attract, train and nurture clinician-scientists and serves as a critical bridge linking basic research undertaken by A*STAR Research Institutes and clinical research programmes in Singapore's public hospitals, disease centres and universities.

For more information on SICS, please visit: http://www.sics.a-star.edu.sg.

About the National University Health System (NUHS)

The National University Health System (NUHS) groups the National University Hospital (NUH), the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and the NUS Faculty of Dentistry under a common governance structure to create synergies to advance health by integrating clinical care, research and education.

The enhanced capabilities and capacity will enable the NUHS to deliver better patient care, train future generations of doctors more effectively and bring innovative treatments to patients through groundbreaking research.

For more information about NUHS, please visit http://www.nuhs.edu.sg.

NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (YLL SoM)

Established in 1905, the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine was the first institution of higher learning in Singapore and the genesis of what would become the National University of Singapore. The School offers one of the finest undergraduate medical programs in the Asia Pacific region and commands international recognition and respect. The NUS was recently named the top university in Asia for medicine, and was placed 18th globally in a new set of university rankings for medicine released on 4 May 2011 by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).

From Academic Year 2009, the School has an intake of 260 new students for the July admission. The School strives to fulfil its tripartite mission of providing excellent clinical care, training the next generation of healthcare professionals, and fostering research that will transform the practice of medicine. It plays a pivotal role in producing future leaders in healthcare delivery, discovery and public service as well as in Singapore's Biomedical Sciences Initiative and Singapore Medicine, a medical tourism initiative. The School's 17 departments in the basic sciences and clinical specialties work closely with the Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies, the Centre for Biomedical Ethics, and the Centre of Excellence for Health Services Research to ensure that teaching and research are aligned and relevant to Singapore's healthcare needs.

For more information about Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, please visit http://medicine.nus.edu.sg/corporate/.

About Nestlé Science & Research

Nestlé Science & Research, encompassing the Nestlé Research Center and its extensive network of external alliances, is a leading research entity in food, nutrition and life sciences. Based on Nestlé's research emphasis, Nestlé Science & Research builds strategic alliances with leading scientific institutions in the world to bring a full breadth of knowledge to its nutrition, health and wellness research. A diverse staff of Nestlé researchers from a broad range of scientific competencies together with external collaborators worldwide are central to fulfilling Nestlé's vision of Good Food, Good Life.

Nestlé Research focuses on consumer health benefit areas and employs a multidisciplinary approach to science and research that encompasses diverse scientific disciplines such as life sciences, food technology, nutrigenomics and sociology, Nestlé strives to bring practical nutrition solutions to consumers.

Learn more about the Nestlé Research Center at http://www.research.nestle.com.

About Nestlé Nutrition

Nestlé Nutrition is a global business within the Nestlé group, managing and developing the core nutrition business. Its product portfolio covers Infant Nutrition, Performance Nutrition and Weight Management. Through its passion for innovation and its science-based nutrition products and services, Nestlé Nutrition helps enhance the quality of each individual's life by providing superior products and services with meaningful nutritional benefits. For infants exclusive breast feeding is best in the first six months of life but for those who cannot be breastfed, Nestlé commits to making the best infant formulas and marketing them in full compliance with the WHO Code as it is implemented by governments. Our strong foundation in science is underpinned by a global R&D network to develop specific solutions for complex nutritional needs - translating science into products that deliver functional health benefits.

For more detailed information, go to http://www.nestlenutrition.com.

Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore

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