Grant allows Hopkins to expand study in biomedicine

November 22, 2003|By Frank D. Roylance | Frank D. Roylance,SUN STAFF

Thanks to a five-year grant renewal worth $80 million, Johns Hopkins Medicine will expand its biomedical research and training program in Singapore and create its first overseas academic division to run it.

Hopkins' growing presence in the tiny Southeast Asian nation gives its researchers access to additional funding from Singapore's government, said Steven J. Thompson, chief executive officer of Johns Hopkins International.

"Then it also gets them closer to the action, because many of their projects are looking specifically at diseases endemic to Southeast Asia," he said, including nasopharangeal cancer.

Hopkins' ties to Singapore began in 1998 with a $30 million, five-year grant from the government there. It funded the establishment of research labs, and a for-profit oncology clinic with 10 beds operating in partnership with National University Hospital.

The new $80 million grant is funded primarily by an undisclosed sum from Singapore's government, Thompson said. Donations from private individuals and contract agreements with companies that make pharmaceuticals and medical devices also are involved.

Hopkins employs a staff of about 120 in Singapore, Thompson said. Under the new biomedical sciences division in Singapore, it is expected to expand within two years to 150 research professionals.

Twelve full-time Hopkins faculty members will lead and train a Singaporean staff for research in immunology, cancer biology and experimental treatments. The division will offer programs in basic and clinical research, with participants receiving doctorates from Hopkins or National University of Singapore.

Hopkins is searching for a director to head the new division, which is being established in cooperation with Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research.

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