​Respected medical leader appointed as new Dean of NTU's joint medical school with Imperial College London

Published on : 07-Jul-2014

Professor James Best, a distinguished medical leader who has dedicated his career to improving treatments for diabetes and kidney disease, has been appointed to the position of Dean at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine), effective 29 July 2014.

Professor Best is currently the Head of Medical School at the University of Melbourne in Australia, and has 30 years’ experience in research, teaching and medical leadership. He succeeds Professor Dermot Kelleher who has been Dean of both LKCMedicine and Imperial’s Faculty of Medicine for the last two years. Professor Kelleher, who retains his position as Imperial’s Vice-President (Health), will work together with Professor Best to ensure the activities of both institutions will continue to be closely and strategically aligned, and helping to realise the education, research and healthcare opportunities offered by the partnership between two world-class universities. As Dean of LKCMedicine, Prof James Best will spearhead the programmes of the school, which aims to train doctors to meet Singapore’s future healthcare needs.

Welcoming the appointment, Professor Bertil Andersson, President of NTU 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. We are delighted to have him coming on board with us because his experience and expertise will be an asset to NTU, which was recently lauded as Asia’s top university for research impact.
“Professor Best joins us at an opportune time to lead the School which is accepting its second cohort of top students and has already attracted a number of exceptional scientists. I believe he will deepen the school’s foundation and build on the good work by Professor Dermot Kelleher who will continue to be our strongest link at Imperial. We are grateful to Professor Kelleher for his leadership and dedication, especially for being a catalyst for research development at LKCMedicine.”
Prof Best was selected from a highly competitive field of applicants after an extensive international search led by Sir Keith O’Nions, President & Rector of Imperial College London. Sir Keith said that Professor Best’s appointment will boost medical education and research in Singapore. “We are fortunate that Professor Best has chosen to bring his talents to LKCMedicine. His 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.”

Under an agreement between the two universities, LKCMedicine’s Dean in the initial phase of the school's development is concurrently the Dean of Imperial’s Faculty of Medicine, so as to provide synergy and integration of teaching and research with Imperial's world renowned medical programme. The appointment of a new Dean for LKCMedicine to be based in Singapore is part of the School's development plan.
Looking forward to his full-time stint in Singapore, Professor Best said, “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. 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 in August.”
Chairman of LKCMedicine’s Governing Board, Mr Lim Chuan Poh said, “We congratulate Professor James Best on his appointment as the Dean of Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine. The School has gotten off to a very good start in the last four years with a strong faculty and an inaugural cohort of students that we are proud of. 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 Dermot Kelleher for his outstanding leadership of LKCMedicine over the last two years.”
Under Professor Kelleher’s leadership, the development of LKCMedicine, Singapore’s third and newest medical school, progressed smoothly and the School successfully admitted its first cohort of students in August 2013.

World renowned endocrinologist and researcher

A graduate of the University of Melbourne in 1972, Professor James Best has practised in the discipline of Endocrinology in Australia, Hong Kong, the USA and the UK. He trained in Endocrinology at Melbourne’s St Vincent’s Hospital and in diabetes research at the University of Washington, Seattle, USA. 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. He has also been Deputy Dean of the Faculty from 2004 to 2006 and subsequently Associate Dean (Resources).
In July 2007, he was appointed as Head, Melbourne Medical School (MMS), a School that was established in 1862, and today ranks among the top 20 medical schools worldwide by the Times Higher Education. As Head of School, he was responsible for medical education and for health and medical research involving 23 biomedical science and clinical departments. 
Professor 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.
Professor Best has been on the Board of Directors of three different Health Services and a Medical Defence Organisation in Australia. He is currently on the Board of St Vincent’s Institute (Medical Research) and on the Heart Foundation (Australia) Research Committee. In 2006 he was appointed to the Council of Australia’s peak funding body for medical research, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), and from July 2006 to June 2012, served as Chair of the NHMRC Research Committee.
The author of over 200 publications, Professor Best is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, Royal College of Pathologists, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and Honorary MD from St Andrews University.

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Media Contact:

Feisal Abdul Rahman
Senior Assistant Director (Media Relations)
Corporate Communications Office
Nanyang Technological University
Tel: (65) 6790 6687
Email: feisalar@ntu.edu.sg

About Nanyang Technological University

A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has 33,500 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the colleges of Engineering, Business, Science, and Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences. It has a new medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, set up jointly with Imperial College London.

NTU is also home to world-class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI), Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N) and the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight (ACI).

A fast-growing university with an international outlook, NTU is putting its global stamp on Five Peaks of Excellence: Sustainable Earth, Future Healthcare, New Media, New Silk Road, and Innovation Asia.

Besides the main Yunnan Garden campus, NTU also has a satellite campus in Singapore’s science and tech hub, one-north, and a third campus in Novena, Singapore’s medical district. For more information, visit www.ntu.edu.sg   

About Imperial College London

Imperial College London is one of the world's leading universities. The College's 14,000 students and 7,500 staff are expanding the frontiers of knowledge in science, medicine, engineering and business, and translating their discoveries into benefits for society.

Founded in 1907, Imperial builds on a distinguished past – having pioneered penicillin, holography and fibre optics – to shape the future. Imperial researchers work across disciplines to improve global health, tackle climate change, develop sustainable energy technology and address security challenges. This blend of academic excellence and its real-world application feeds into Imperial's exceptional learning environment, where students participate in research to push the limits of their degrees.

Imperial nurtures a dynamic enterprise culture, where collaborations with industrial, healthcare and international partners are the norm. In 2007, Imperial College London and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust formed the UK's first Academic Health Science Centre. This unique partnership aims to improve the quality of life of patients and populations by taking new discoveries and translating them into new therapies as quickly as possible.

Imperial has nine London campuses, including Imperial West: a new 25 acre research and innovation centre in White City, west London. At Imperial West, researchers, businesses and higher education partners will co-locate to create value from ideas on a global scale.

Imperial College London’s medical school is currently ranked third in the world out of 2420 medical schools worldwide in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2011-12. To find out more, visit: www.imperial.ac.uk 

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