Both built and natural environments are important for sustaining societies. For example, innovations and technologies that improve urban liveability and engineer the future of healthcare help people to lead healthy lives well into old age.
Through interdisciplinary research at the intersection of engineering and life sciences, NTU scientists are also working to lower Singapore’s carbon footprint as well as address plastic pollution in the environment.
Addressing plastic pollution in the environment
The Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering (SCELSE) hosted by NTU in partnership with the National University of Singapore (NUS), links new insights from the life sciences with expertise from the emerging technologies in engineering and natural sciences to understand, harness and control microbial biofilm communities and microbiomes. A current study by Assoc Prof Federico Lauro, a Principal Investigator at SCELSE, is investigating the roles of these microbial communities in breaking down plastic particles in the environment.
The Global Alliance of Industries @ NTU (GAIN) partnership with the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) taps on Singapore’s research capabilities to catalyse innovations that create value out of plastic waste. This targets Singapore’s plastic waste loop in order to create higher-value products that can be used as a form of sustainable feedstock for local industries.
Lowering Singapore’s carbon footprint
Research on carbon reduction in chemical technology is being conducted at the Cambridge Centre for Advanced Research and Education (CARES) involving researchers from NTU, University of Cambridge, and National University of Singapore (NUS).
The partnership answers the question of how to positively contribute to Singapore’s ratification of the Paris Agreement on climate change while ensuring the country’s progress and prowess in economic, technological, environmental and social dimensions.
Improving urban liveability
The Centre for Health and Sustainable Cities (CHESS), the Surbana Jurong-NTU Corporate Laboratory, the Centre for Urban Solutions (CUS) and the NTU-JTC Industrial Infrastructure Innovation Centre are research centres and corporate laboratories that develop sustainable urban and industrial solutions.
Their projects include studying public opinion and mass media effects on science, environment and climate issues, a ceiling panel to improve indoor air quality, the construction and creation of underground space and the development of precast bendable concrete pavements.
With air sample collectors set up on the NTU campus, SCELSE scientists have also discovered at least 725 different microorganisms in tropical air, and that the composition of the microbial community in the tropical air changes predictably, with bacteria dominating in the day and fungi at night. This day-night pattern and the diversity of airborne microorganisms was previously unknown.
Engineering the future of healthcare
The NTU Institute for Health Technologies (HealthTech NTU) is accelerating the development and translation of new technologies to solve health problems and improve quality of life. Harnessing NTU’s expertise in engineering, HealthTech NTU provides a platform for excellence in health, science, engineering, business, and policy to converge.
Examples of research at HealthTech NTU include sustainable nanotechnology, with an emphasis on the safe use of nanomaterials for biomedical applications as well as novel delivery methods for drug repurposing, in which new medical uses are established for existing drugs.
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NTU scientists identify the microbiome composition in tropical air
Researcher Federico Lauro on marine plastic pollution in Asia