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NTU and A*STAR launch joint Ph.D. research program in immunology

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) have jointly launched a new PhD programme focusing on human immunology and immune regulation. Under this novel partnership, NTU's School of Biological Sciences and A*STAR's consortium, Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN), will jointly offer a comprehensive, world-class PhD training programme to local and international aspiring scientists. Applications are open now for the programme which will admit its first intake of students in August 2011.

The research projects under this programme could potentially lead to the development of new therapeutics in cancer and vaccines required to combat a variety of inflammatory and infectious diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and dengue. The programme will also help to build a critical mass of highly specialised researchers in vital areas such as infection, inflammation and human immunology as well as enhance potential medical discoveries.

The collaboration, the first of its kind for NTU's School of Biological Sciences, will strengthen NTU's reputation as a world-class research university. Postgraduate students under this programme will work on research projects supervised by an international panel comprising of top immunology experts from Singapore and abroad. In addition to the core curriculum of the PhD research project, students will also participate in intensive immunology workshops and seminar series organised by SIgN. Such activities will provide the students with greater exposure to further develop their research skills.

The programme will admit its first intake of students in August 2011 with the A*STAR Graduate Academy supporting 40 scholarships for the PhD students. The scholarships will come from the A*STAR Graduate Scholarship (AGS) and the Singapore International Graduate Award (SINGA) for local and international students, respectively.

"This joint initiative between NTU's School of Biological Sciences and A*STAR's Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN) is a win-win-win for NTU, for A*STAR and for the PhD students who will benefit from a large team of world-class immunologists and the best in infrastructure and training opportunities," said Professor Mark Featherstone, Interim Dean of NTU's College of Science.

Mr Lim Chuan Poh, Chairman of A*STAR, said, "This collaboration between SIgN and NTU represents one of the ways in which public sector institutes can come together in partnership to train top local and international talent in the sciences. I hope to see more of such partnerships in the future to build up the talent and infrastructure needed to position Singapore as a global R&D hub and Asia's Innovation Capital."

"SIgN has a mission to build up deep strengths in human immunology research for better translation of research findings into clinical applications to address unmet medical needs and improve healthcare. Part of this mission involves training excellent talent, and we are proud to be a partner in this programme to train top-quality PhD students. Working with NTU, we will be able to develop a pipeline of talent in immunology and help to grow this relatively new and promising field of research in Singapore," said Professor Paola Castagnoli, SIgN Scientific Director.

Selection of candidates will be carried out by the Programme Board consisting of NTU professors, SIgN members and senior principal investigators. Each student will undertake a research project under the guidance of a principal investigator from either SIgN or NTU. They will get opportunities to attend annual training workshops and international scientific conferences.


Contact: Nasrath Hassan
Nanyang Technological University

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