SINGAPORE — A Nobel laureate will share his knowledge of medicine in a new biannual Distinguished Lecture Series at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine at Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
Professor Barry Marshall, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with pathologist J. Robin Warren in 2005 for discovering a bacterium that causes stomach ulcers, will give his lecture in August.
The school‘s former dean, Professor James Best, gave the first Distinguished Lecture on Saturday 19 March.
Professor Best will also share his expertise with students, faculty and the wider community for a week as a Distinguished Visitor to the School.
In his speech on the school campus in Novena, Professor Best said that even amid groundbreaking innovations in medicine, such as artificial intelligence-based diagnostics, medical schools must continue to teach students an empathetic and patient-centered attitude.
“A key challenge…for the practice of medicine is how to maintain the humanity of medicine when it becomes easier to be distanced from our patients, either physically through telemedicine or emotionally through telemedicine. emphasis on technology,” he told the audience.
In a pre-recorded message aired at the launch of the series, NTU President Subra Suresh said the distinguished visitors will also discuss challenging issues beyond medicine.
He added of the lecture series named after Professor Best: “The James Best Distinguished Lecture Series is aligned with the NTU 2025 Strategic Plan to address a variety of transformative initiatives that include learning, research , innovation, community building, as well as great challenges.
“The Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine is expected to play a major role in this regard, especially in the areas of healthy living and aging.”
The Distinguished Visitor Programme, of which the Distinguished Lecture Series is a part, will be funded by a Singaporean from the financial sector. The Singaporean, who wishes to remain anonymous, donated $500,000, with the government matching his donation for a total of $1 million.
Professor Best, who gave up his appointment as dean last year but remains a visiting professor, told the Straits Times that the school has taught students to pay attention to the emotional state of patients, and not just focus on healing their physical ailments.
He added: “(Telemedicine) can be useful for patient follow-up…but that’s only after you meet the doctor in person, have that initial commitment and get to know each other.”
The donor, who attended the conference titled Preserving the Art and Advancing the Science of Medicine on Saturday, said the gift supports the medical school’s mission to transform medical education and advance research into healthcare in Singapore.
A total of $1 million will fund the visitor program over the next five years.