Speech by Prof Ling San, NTU Acting President and Provost at the launch of the Institute for Digital Molecular Analytics and Science
Professor Ling San
Acting President and Provost
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Launch of Institute for Digital Molecular Analytics and Science
Nanyang Executive Centre
Thursday, 1 December 2022
Mr Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Education,
Mr Chew Hock Yong, Governing Board Chair, IDMxS,
Professor Jay T. Groves, Director, IDMxS,
Distinguished guests and colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for joining us at the launch of the Institute for Digital Molecular Analytics and Science, or IDMxS.
The Institute is Singapore’s seventh Research Centre of Excellence, or RCE, and the third one hosted by Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
IDMxS is generously supported by the Ministry of Education, Singapore, NTU, and the National University of Singapore (NUS), with an initial investment of about S$160 million in funding.
Its establishment at NTU is a major milestone for the University, as the University works towards strengthening disciplinary discoveries and high-impact interdisciplinary research, as part of the NTU 2025 strategic plan.
The IDMxS Mission
IDMxS will focus on advancing the new science of digital molecular analytics to drive a paradigm shift in biomolecular measurement and diagnostics, and transform global health.
The Institute will reshape the way we obtain molecular information about individuals’ health and their environment, and potentially significantly improve the standard of living in Singapore and around the world. By integrating the digital and the biological, we can more quickly detect threats, inform policy, and guide action in real time.
Why is this important? The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us how easily diseases spread in our global, inter-connected world. The science done at IDMxS can lay valuable foundations, for example, of tests that can monitor a person’s infection in real time by simply using a smartphone camera and app.
As one of the world’s top universities, NTU prides itself on being at the cutting-edge of research and innovation. The advances in digital technology and biological sciences over the past decade have made it possible for IDMxS to emerge as a potential game-changer.
The Institute will be instrumental in developing foundational science discoveries and supporting the creation of exciting spin-offs to address grand challenges in healthcare, biomedical sciences, and the urban environment. These efforts will benefit society at large, and create social and economic leverage for Singapore.
Wide-ranging expertise for cutting-edge research
Research Centres of Excellence are vital in spurring cutting-edge research locally. As the third RCE hosted at NTU, after the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) and Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering (SCELSE), IDMxS plays an important role in carrying out world-class research.
It has top-notch academic investigators and quality researchers from local institutions all focused on creating new knowledge. Instead of having a portfolio of individual investigator-led projects, IDMxS unifies this broad foundation of expertise around the singular goal of making molecular analytics digital.
This challenge is highly interdisciplinary. Bringing the complex biological world together with the rapid advances in the digital realm requires experts from multiple fields working closely together.
The leadership and researchers at IDMxS include faculty from various Schools at NTU such as:
- Materials Science and Engineering;
- Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology;
- Physical and Mathematical Sciences;
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering;
- Computer Science and Engineering; and
- Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine;
together with fellow researchers and colleagues from SCELSE and NUS.
Building the educational foundations for digital molecular analytics
Another important aspect of the mission of IDMxS is education. Grooming the next generation of scientists and engineers is central to Singapore’s long-term success and is a key cornerstone of NTU’s mission. Through the graduate programme at IDMxS, postgraduate students from NTU will have unique opportunities in cross-disciplinary education and training spanning the molecular sciences and information technology. Four PhD students have already started their studies.
IDMxS will also develop continuing education programmes geared towards advancing and modernising the healthcare work force to adapt to the digitalisation of clinical diagnostics.
To conclude, I am confident that IDMxS will become a global leader in the nascent field of digital molecular analytics. I wish all the researchers, scientists, staff, and students at IDMxS success and an enriching journey ahead. All of us at NTU and our partners keenly look forward to your exciting findings and spin-offs which the Institute will undoubtedly produce, to create impact for the benefit of mankind..