Duke-NUS Medical School’s PhD programme in Clinical Sciences (PhD CS) expects its intake to triple within four years in its effort to create a pipeline of clinician scientists to lead future biomedical research efforts and improve patient outcomes in Singapore and around the world. Launched in 2018, the programme, a first in Singapore and Southeast Asia, aims to equip clinicians to lead multidisciplinary translational and patient-oriented research, in partnership with scientists and industry collaborators.
“Our PhD CS programme trains experienced senior clinicians to lead biomedical translational research that can transform medicine and improve the lives of patients. Our students are supervised by nationally funded clinician scientists who are uniquely experienced in leveraging the clinicians’ expertise for translational research,” said Professor Pierce Chow, Director of the PhD CS programme and Senior Consultant Surgeon at National Cancer Centre Singapore and Singapore General Hospital.
This programme ties in with the Singapore government’s efforts to develop a vibrant health and biomedical science research ecosystem. Clinician scientists play a critical role in bridging basic sciences, clinical and health service research, ensuring that the substantial investments in health and biomedical sciences are able to translate into improvements for patients. In particular, clinician scientists who engage in patient-oriented research are needed to drive translational and clinical research efforts.
Students will be trained in the latest technologies such as genomics, precision medicine and Artificial Intelligence, which will become increasingly prominent in advanced translational research, said Associate Professor Silke Vogel, Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Studies at Duke-NUS. “Other features unique to this programme include observations at grant award meetings, reviews of grant applications and submission of manuscripts under the guidance of their supervisors, to better understand the sinews of biomedical research,” he added.
Dr Tan Hong Chang, an Endocrinologist at the Singapore General Hospital, who was part of the programme’s inaugural cohort, was looking for a PhD programme that would provide structured training to develop his translational research skills. “The PhD CS programme at Duke-NUS features unique and comprehensive coursework that is suitable for clinicians. It is designed to integrate the training in multiple disciplines such as clinical science, laboratory basic science and quantitative science, which will definitely bring me closer to my research goal,” he shared.
Another student, Dr Chong Jun Hua, Associate Cardiology Consultant at the National Heart Centre, who is part of the School’s newest cohort said, “I believe this PhD programme will train me in conducting clinical trials to improve cardiovascular outcomes in Asia, as well as establish international thought leadership in the emerging field of Cardio-Oncology. It gives me the opportunity to work closely with world-renowned supervisors and mentors who are respected and influential experts in their fields.”
See press release.