Kishore BHAKOO

Adjunct Associate Professor


Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS.
Director, Translational Imaging Industrial Laboratory, Singapore Bioimaging Consortium, A*STAR.
Head, Translational Molecular Imaging Group, Singapore Bioimaging Consortium, A*STAR.


Degree and Institution Year(s)
PhD, Institute of Neurology, University of London, UK 1983
Bachelor, University of Kent at Canterbury, UK 1978

Professional Experience

Position and Institute Year(s)
Adjunct Professor, NTU-Imperial College Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Singapore 2011-Present
Visiting Professor in Nanoscience and Nanotechnol, University of Madras, Chennai, India 2011-present
Director, Translational Imaging Industrial Laboratory (SBIC), A*STAR, Singapore 2011-present
Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS 2010-present
Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS 2010-present
Head - Translational Molecular Imaging, Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (SBIC), A*STAR 2009-present
Visiting Professor, The Tamilnadu Dr. MGR Medical University, Chennai, India 2008–present
Professor, UHI Millennium Institute, Inverness, UK 2006–present
MRC Group Head, MRC Clinical Sciences Center, Imperial College London, UK 2002–2009
Lecturer, Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, UK 2001–2002
Staff Scientist/University Research Lecturer, MRC Biochemical and Clinical Magn Res Unit, Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, UK 1996–2001
Wellcome Trust Research Associate, Royal College of Surgeons, Unit of Biophysics, Institute of Child Health, London, UK 1992–1996
Senior Scientist, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, UCL, London, UK 1986–1992
Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute of Neurology, London, UK 1983–1986

Research Interest

The Group's work focuses on one of the key questions when using stem cells to repair tissues: do the cells get to the target and remain at the lesion site? Cell therapists need to follow stem cells for weeks, months and even years after they are transplanted.

The monitoring of cellular grafts, non-invasively, is an important aspect of the ongoing efficiency and safety assessment of cell-based therapies. Magnetic resonance imaging methods are potentially well suited for such an application as they produce non-invasive ‘images’ of opaque tissues. For transplanted stem cells to be visualised and tracked by MRI, they need to be tagged so that they are ‘MR visible’. We are developing and implementing a programme of Molecular Imaging in pre-clinical models that is directed towards improving our understanding of stem cell migration in the context of the whole organism. In order to achieve these goals we are engineering novel MRI contrast agents and developing specific tagging molecules to deliver efficient amounts of contrast agents into stem cells. The intracellular contrast agents are based on either superparamagnetic nanoparticles, such as polymer-coated iron oxide, and other paramagnetic MR contrast agents. With its ability to precisely target cell delivery, track cell migration and non-invasively evaluate living subjects over time, this technique will help to bridge the gap between bench and bedside.

Development of multimodal imaging (MRI, PET, SPECT/CT and Optical) methodologies for monitoring implanted stem cells in vivo will greatly facilitate the clinical realisation and optimisation of stem cell based therapies. Moreover, these multi-modal methodologies will also be used to interrogate a number of other pathologies, such as the Immune system and Cancer.

The specific aims of the programme are:

1. To engineer polymer-enveloped super-paramagnetic nanoparticles specifically for cell labeling for MRI studies.
2. Develop contrast agents for other imaging modalities such as PET, SPECT and Optical.
3. To develop generic methodologies for the tracking of cells in vivo using MRI and PET.

The following pre-clinical models are being used:

  1. Glial progenitors and bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells implanted in various pre-clinical models including:
    • Multiple Sclerosis, Spinal Cord repair, Developmental Fate (migration)
  2. Neuronal stem cells and bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells implanted in animal models:
    • Parkinson's disease, Stroke (co-registration between PET and MRI)
  3. Track inflammatory cells involved in:
    • Allergic response in lungs,
    • CNS inflammation,
    • host vs graft rejection
    • immune cells in response to tumours
  4. Cardiac stem cells and progenitors and bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells implanted into ischemic heart (co-registration between PET and MRI)

Selected Publications

  1. Jackson, J., Golding, J., Chapon, C., Jones, W., Bhakoo, K. (2010) Homing of stem cells to sites of inflammatory brain injury after intracerebral and intravenous administration: a longitudinal imaging study. Stem Cell and Therapy. 1, 17.

  2. Feng, J., Liu, H., Zhang, L., Bhakoo, K., Lu, L. (2010) An insight into the metabolic responses of ultrasmall superparamagnetic particles of iron oxide (USPIO) using metabonomic analysis of biofluids. Nanotechnology. 21, 395101.

  3. Tamil, S., Gautom, D., Choon, N., Timothy, W., Joachim, L., D'Silva, L., Padmanabhan, P., Bhakoo, K. Tan, Yang T. (2010) Gadolinium oxide ultranarrow nanorods as multimodal contrast agents for optical and magnetic resonance imaging. Langmuir 26, 8959-8965.

  4. Jackson, J., Chapon, C., Jones, W., Hirani, E., Qassim, A., Bhakoo, K. (2009) In vivo Multimodal Imaging of Stem Cell Transplantation in a Rodent Model of Parkinson's Disease. J Neurosci Methods 183: 141-148.

  5. Chapon, C., Jackson, J., Aboagye, E., Herlihy, A., Jones, W., Bhakoo, K. (2009) An in vivo Multimodal Imaging Study Using MRI and PET of Stem Cell Transplantation after Myocardial Infarction in Rats. Mol Imag Biol 11: 31-8.

  6. Chapon, C., Herlihy, A., Bhakoo, K. (2008) Assessment of Myocardial Infarction in Mice by Late Gadolinium Enhancement MR Imaging using an Inversion Recovery Pulse Sequence at 9.4T. J Cardiovasc Magn Reson. 24:10(1), 6.

  7. Geenes, V., Dixon, P., Raguz, S., Chambers, J., Bhakoo, K., Williamson, C. (2008). The role of the nuclear hormone receptors FXR, PXR and CAR in placental bile acid homeostasis in normal and pathological pregnancy. Reproductive Sciences. 15:137