Nanyang Technological University’s joint medical school with Imperial College London receives new Dean

Published on : 16-Jul-2012

Immunology and infectious diseases pioneer, Professor Dermot Kelleher, to helm Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine.

Professor Dermot Kelleher, the incoming Principal of the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London, has been appointed Dean of the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, founded in 2010 on a partnership between Imperial and Nanyang Technological University (NTU). As Dean, Professor Kelleher will lead the next phase of the development of the School to train more doctors to meet Singapore’s future healthcare demands.

Professor Kelleher, former Vice-Provost for Medical Affairs and Head of the School of Medicine at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland, has over 30 years’ experience in research, teaching and medical leadership. He will be appointed Dean of the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine on 1 August 2012, combining this role with his position as Principal of Imperial’s Faculty of Medicine. With Professor Kelleher’s appointment, Professor Stephen Smith, the Founding Dean of the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, will focus on his role as NTU’s Vice President of Research.

Sir Keith O’Nions, President  & Rector of Imperial College London, said: “We are delighted that Professor Kelleher will direct the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine alongside Imperial’s Faculty of Medicine. His outstanding record of leadership in academic medicine will take both institutions from strength to strength. Both share the goal of achieving world-class excellence in medical education and research, and their close alignment will help to realise the opportunities offered by this exciting partnership between two world-class universities.”

Professor Bertil Andersson, President of NTU, said that having Professor Kelleher at the helm of Singapore’s newest medical school would not only give a big boost to medical education but also to medical innovation and research as well.
“Prof Kelleher is a world-leading expert in immunology and infectious diseases and he has valuable experience in translating medical research into new diagnostics and treatments for patients. These will complement NTU well as we have a strong track record in bio-medical engineering.

"Together with Professor Stephen Smith, the Founding Dean who will now focus on driving research at NTU as Vice-President of Research, NTU will greatly influence the next generation of doctors and biomedical innovators here in Singapore. To have great impact in healthcare breakthroughs, we will need to train patient-centric doctors and innovators with multi-disciplinary expertise who are at the forefront of medical technology.

“We look forward to having a more robust research relationship with Imperial College London’s medical school with Prof Kelleher as its Principal and I believe he will further strengthen the foundation of our joint medical school in Singapore already laid by Professor Smith as the Founding Dean. We are grateful to Professor Smith for his strong leadership and vision for the school over the past two years and look forward to more contributions from him as the Vice-President in charge of research at NTU.”
Professor Kelleher said, “The Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine has ambitious goals to redefine both medical education and research. Hundreds of people at Imperial, NTU and in partner healthcare organisations have already contributed to its development, creating a curriculum and infrastructure that will offer students an exceptional medical education. It will be a privilege to work with this dedicated team to set the direction for the School’s research strategy and prepare to begin training a generation of outstanding doctors to serve Singapore.”

The Chairman of the Pro-Tem Governing Board of the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Mr Lim Chuan Poh said, “We congratulate Professor Dermot Kelleher on his appointment as Principal of the Faculty of Medicine in Imperial College and welcome him as the concurrent Dean of the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine. His illustrious career has been characterised by remarkable achievements in medical education and research and outstanding leadership. I'm confident his appointment will continue the stellar work of the School’s Founding Dean, Professor Stephen Smith, whom we thank for laying the strong foundations of the school.”

About Professor Dermot Kelleher

Graduating in medicine from Trinity College Dublin in 1978, Professor Kelleher completed specialist training in gastroenterology and subsequently received a Fogarty Scholarship in 1986 funding a research fellowship at University of California San Diego. He returned to Trinity in 1989 as a Wellcome Senior Fellow in Clinical Science and was appointed to the Trinity College Chair in Clinical Medicine in 2001. In 2006 he was appointed Head of the School of Medicine and Vice-Provost for Medical Affairs.
Professor Kelleher’s research examines the immune response to many of the leading causes of gastrointestinal infectious disease worldwide, including organisms such as Helicobacter pylori and Clostridium difficile. A focus of his work has been using tools derived from cell biology to analyse the function of the lymphocyte, a type of white blood cell, in the body’s response to infectious agents and inflammatory diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease.

Professor Kelleher was instrumental to the founding of the Dublin Molecular Medicine Centre in 2002, a joint venture between three major medical schools and their associated academic hospitals in Dublin, aimed at accelerating the translation of biomedical research into improved diagnostics and therapies for patients. Known as Molecular Medicine Ireland since 2008, this not-for-profit company has provided both a corporate and a physical infrastructure to support significant developments in medical biotechnology in Ireland. 

The author of over 200 publications and 14 patents, Professor Kelleher is a founding member of Opsona Therapeutics, a spin out company at Trinity College Dublin which identifies new ways to prevent and treat autoimmune/inflammatory conditions, cancers and infectious diseases.

Professor Kelleher has just completed his term as Chairman of the Eurolife Consortium of European Medical Schools, and has served as a member of the Board of the Health Research Board Ireland, the European Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust Clinical Interest Group. 

A Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, Royal College of Physicians (London), Trinity College Dublin, and the American Gastroenterology Association, he was awarded the 2011 Conway Medal by the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland.


Media contact:
Lester Kok
Assistant Manager
Corporate Communications Office
Nanyang Technological University
Tel: 6790 6804

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. In 2013, NTU will enrol the first batch of students at its new medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, which is set up jointly with Imperial College London.

NTU is also home to four 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 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 is setting up a third campus in Novena, Singapore’s medical district. For more information, visit

About Imperial College London

Consistently rated amongst the world's best universities, Imperial College London is a science-based institution with a reputation for excellence in teaching and research that attracts 14,000 students and 6,000 staff of the highest international quality.

Underpinned by a dynamic enterprise culture, innovative research at the College explores the interface between science, medicine, engineering and business, delivering practical solutions that improve quality of life and the environment.

Since its foundation in 1907, Imperial's contributions to society have included the discovery of penicillin, the development of holography and the foundations of fibre optics. This commitment to the application of research for the benefit of all continues today, with current focuses including interdisciplinary collaborations to improve global health, tackle climate change, develop sustainable sources of energy and address security challenges.

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 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:

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