August 2014 | ISSUE 13
New dean for LKCMedicine

On 29 July, LKCMedicine welcomed its new dean, Professor James Best, a distinguished medical leader with more than 30 years’ experience in research and teaching.

Prof Best, who was Head of the University of Melbourne’s Medical School, succeeded Professor Dermot Kelleher who was dean of both LKCMedicine and Imperial College London’s Faculty of Medicine for the last two years.

“I am excited to embark on this new challenge where there will be a wealth of opportunities to develop collaborations, partnerships and other academic initiatives,” said Prof Best. “I am joining a School that has a highly skilled and dedicated team from NTU, Imperial and partner health organisations and I hope to build on the strengths of these institutions as the School moves towards fulfilling its ambitious goals to redefine medicine and transform healthcare. I am also relishing the prospect of training a new generation of outstanding doctors for Singapore and I look forward to welcoming our second cohort.”

ProfIMG_5988 (Extremely dark purple) (Custom).jpg Best was selected from a highly competitive field of applicants after an extensive international search led by Imperial President & Rector Sir Keith O’Nions. As dean, Prof Best will spearhead the ambitious programme of the School, driving its interdisciplinary research strategy and innovative teaching activities, which aim to equip more doctors to meet Singapore’s future healthcare needs.

Prof Kelleher, as Imperial’s Vice President (Health), will work with Prof Best to ensure the activities of both institutions will continue to be closely and strategically aligned, and help to realise the education, research and healthcare opportunities offered by the partnership between two world-class universities.

Welcoming the appointment, NTU President Professor Bertil Andersson said, “Professor Best has an outstanding track record, including leadership at Australia’s highest achieving medical school for research. He also has advanced experience in medical research funding through his engagement at the National Health and Medical Research Council in Canberra. This stands him in good stead to take medical training in NTU to new heights.”

Sir Keith added, “Professor Best’s wide-ranging achievements as an inspirational teacher, researcher, clinician and medical leader make him ideally suited to the role of dean. We look forward to seeing the School thrive under his direction as it seeks to serve Singapore’s future patients through delivering the highest quality medical education and research.”

Chairman of LKCMedicine’s Governing Board and the Agency for Science, Technology & Research Mr Lim Chuan Poh said, “Given Professor Best’s excellent track record as an academic leader of a top medical school, the Governing Board has every confidence that he will continue the good work of LKCMedicine and take it to even greater heights. At the same time, we would like to thank Professor Kelleher for his outstanding leadership over the last two years.”

World-renowned endocrinologist and researcher
Prof Best graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1972 and trained in endocrinology at Melbourne’s St Vincent’s Hospital and in diabetes research at the University of Washington, Seattle, USA. He has practiced in Australia, Hong Kong, the USA and the UK. Having worked as an endocrinologist at St Vincent’s from 1982 to 1989, he joined the University of Melbourne staff as Deputy Head of the Department of Medicine (St Vincent’s Hospital) and in 1999 was appointed as Professor of Medicine and Head of Department.

In July 2007, he was appointed as Head, Melbourne Medical School, one of the world’s top 20 medical schools, according to the Times Higher Education ranking. As head of school, he was responsible for medical education and for health and medical research involving 23 biomedical science and clinical departments.

Prof Best has taught extensively during his career, especially on the topic of diabetes and metabolism, as well as on the medical interview. His research has involved physiological and molecular studies of glucose disposal, as well as studies of lipid biochemistry and epidemiological and clinical studies of risk factors for cardiovascular disease in diabetes. His current research is predominantly in healthcare delivery for diabetes prevention and management.