February 2018 | Issue 34

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New NTU president pays first visit to LKCMedicine

Subra 11.JPGLKCMedicine staff and faculty smile​ for the camera with the fourth president of NTU, Prof Subra Suresh

As part of his listening tour, new NTU President Professor Subra Suresh, who assumed office on 1 January, paid his first visit to LKCMedicine on 12 January. He was accompanied by his wife Mrs Mary Suresh and NTU Provost and Vice-President for Academic Professor Ling San.

LKCMedicine Dean Professor James Best and Executive Vice-Dean Professor Lionel Lee welcomed the new president at the Clinical Sciences Building (CSB) Plaza, where Prof Suresh took in the striking view created by the modern glass skyscraper framing the historical heritage Headquarters (HQ) building.

After settling into the HQ Boardroom, Prof Best kicked off the packed programme with an overview of LKCMedicine's governance and structure. The strategic partnership between NTU Singapore and Imperial College London that underpins the School was next on the agenda. LKCMedicine Governing Board Member and NTU Senior Advisor for Medicine Professor Jan Carlstedt-Duke, who was instrumental in setting up the School from the start, outlined the framework set out in the Collaboration Agreement which was signed in 2010.

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NTU President Professor Suresh discusses and explores LKCMedicine's future plans with the School's senior management

While the Collaboration Agreement set out the basic structure of the partnership, many more initiatives have since come to life, creating a rich and diverse network between the two institutions. Prof Suresh listened intently, following up with pertinent questions that led to a lively discussion.

With the briefing on the strategic partnership complete, Prof Best and Prof Lee led Prof Suresh, Mrs Suresh and Prof Ling to the CSB.

They first dropped in on a Team-Based Learning session to observe the vibrant discussion on sound conduction and transduction of the vestibular system. They were then met by Vice-Dean for Education Professor Naomi Low-Beer, who introduced LKCMedicine's innovative medical curriculum and highlighted what sets it apart from other medical curricula. To bring the overview to life, Prof Low-Beer together with Vice-Dean for Faculty Affairs and Assistant Dean for Years 1 & 2 Professor Michael Ferenczi and Assistant Dean for Year 4 Associate Professor Wong Teck Yee led the visitors on an interactive tour of the School's bespoke learning spaces, where mini-showcases brought the defining elements of the School's teaching approach to life. Stops included the Practical Skills Lab and Communication Suite as well as the Anatomy Learning Centre, where the anatomy team introduced the novel resources used in teaching. These technology-enabled learning spaces are key examples of how NTU leads the nation in developing smart technologies, and left Prof Suresh whose vision is to transform NTU campus into Singapore's first smart campus, impressed.

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Prof Suresh and the delegation tour the Clinical Sciences Building facilities, and takes a peek at an on-going 
Team-Based Learning class

An overview of the different medical education research projects, through which the School continues to set best practices in modern medical education, and a stop to introduce LKCMedicine's student support structure, the House System, were also part of the programme.

The visitors then headed up to the research laboratories. Briefing the visitors on the School's specialist research facilities at its Experimental Medicine Building on NTU's main campus, Professor of Developmental Biology Philip Ingham FRS and Neuroscience & Mental Health Research Programme Director Professor Balázs Gulyás talked about the zebrafish and cognitive neuroimaging facilities among others.

Research in action was the next item on the agenda and the group toured key research labs and facilities at the CSB, meeting other senior research faculty namely Professors George Augustine, John Chambers and Associate Professor Josip Car, as well as several junior research faculty, who had the chance to introduce their work. 

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​Prof Suresh and the delegates hear LKCMedicine's research faculty about their exciting projects​

The president's first visit to the School ended at the CSB Medical Library with a tea reception with faculty, students and staff. While enjoying the panoramic views from the 20th floor, Prof Suresh, Mrs Suresh and Prof Ling mingled freely with researchers and students.

Throughout his visit, Prof Suresh, an eminent scientist and NTU's first Distinguished University Professor, took particular interest in the unique features of the School that mark NTU as a leader among medical schools. Addressing the faculty and students, he said, "Do let me know the constraints you face, be it in funding, resources or space, so we can look into the support needed. I'd like to see NTU as a living lab for our smart campus ambitions and the medical school is an integral part of this."

Two commemorative photos – one with students and one with faculty and staff – marked the end of the visit.

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