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​NTU partners two Austrian institutions in medical research

Published on: 23-Oct-2015

Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) is partnering two top Austrian institutions to develop next-generation medical technologies.

Austria’s largest non-university research institute, the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) and one of the top research institutions in Europe, the Medical University of Vienna (MUV), are pooling their expertise with NTU in a joint $10 million research collaboration.

The partnership aims to spur innovations in medical imaging technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET) scan, and even optical scanners that provide health insights and can detect diseases early.

An NTU-led joint research centre will be set up on its campus as part of the five-year collaboration that will kick-start with a series of joint medical research programmes.

The partnership also provides for staff and student exchanges and laboratory attachments, and the setting up of a joint PhD programme between NTU and MUV.

NTU President, Professor Bertil Andersson, said, “Innovative medical technology is an increasingly important driver for delivering an efficient and effective healthcare system.

“This collaboration will not only spark disruptive technologies that will reinvent the future of healthcare, but also equip scientists with the skills to continue to push the frontiers of medical excellence.”

Ms Barbara Weitgruber, the Director-General of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy, said, “Singapore is a hub for cutting-edge research, focusing on innovation and human resources development, and is thus of great interest to Austria. By establishing this joint research centre, Singaporean and Austrian expertise and verve merge into yet another project of both mutual interest and benefit, thus continuing the fruitful tradition of bilateral cooperation in science and research.”

The agreement was inked this morning (23 Oct) by Professor Andersson and Professor Wolfgang Knoll, Managing Director of AIT at the inaugural Singapore-Austria Innovation and Business Day held at the Biopolis, which aims to enhance the business and research collaborations between the two countries. Professor Markus Müller, Rector of MUV signed the document earlier.

NTU’s efforts in this new partnership will be spearheaded by its Nanyang Institute for Technology in Health and Medicine (NITHM) led by Professor Russell Gruen.

“NTU is advancing the health of Singaporeans and people everywhere by applying its world-class engineering expertise to healthcare technologies, and by partnering with other international centres of excellence,” said Professor Gruen. 

Improving healthcare through digital imaging

On the use of digital imaging in healthcare, Prof Gruen, who is also a surgeon, said it is the convergence of digital technology and medical science that provides real-time information on a person’s health and the presence of diseases. 

It uses electromagnetic radiation or other waves that are converted by image sensors into digital information. Current medical imaging technologies include computerized axial tomography (CAT) scans, MRI, and PET scans, which provide amazingly detailed and accurate imaging of the brain, lungs, heart, and other parts of the body.

“The newest technologies go beyond this by detecting the functions of various organs within the body, and alert patients of the presence of certain diseases. This is achieved using special probes that are attached to specific cells, or that are activated in the presence of certain substances.

“With this, the imaging devices are able to highlight certain bodily functions, including the parts of the brain that light up with different thoughts and emotions, or the presence of small cancers,” said Prof Gruen. 

Advances in such digital imaging technologies in healthcare enhance disease detection with precision, improving the chance of treatment and cure, and reduce inefficiencies in healthcare delivery.

This way, surgery and healthcare will be more personalised. 


Media contact:

Nur Amin Shah
Assistant Manager (Media Relations)
Corporate Communications Office 
Nanyang Technological University

About Nanyang Technological University
A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has 33,000 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. 
NTU’s main campus at Yunnan Garden has been named one of Top 15 Most Beautiful in the World. It also has a campus in Novena, Singapore’s medical district.
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