MIT's Research Enterprise in Singapore, SMART launches new research group

SMART CAMP will be helmed by Professor Krystyn Van Vliet of MIT and Professor Hanry Yu of NUS and A*STAR.
By Dean Koh
05:27 am
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Above photo: Professor Krystyn Van Vliet (left) with a fellow researcher in the SMART CAMP laboratory performing confocal microscopic imaging of cells. Credit: SMART CAMP

The Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), together with A*STAR Institutes and supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF), has launched a new national initiative dubbed Critical Analytics for Manufacturing Personalised-Medicine (CAMP). The initiative was launched as part of Singapore’s National Cell Manufacturing Initiative to overcome scientific and technical challenges in life-changing cell therapies.

This multi-million, multi-year project will bring together 35 MIT and Singapore investigators who will be recruited from researchers working in SMART and Singapore institutes including A*STAR, KK Women's and Children's Hospital, the National University Hospital and local universities. Investigators from MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts will also be recruited to support the programme.

SMART CAMP will be helmed by Professor Krystyn Van Vliet of MIT and Professor Hanry Yu of NUS and A*STAR. Professor Van Vliet is an engineer with expertise at the interface of materials, mechanics, and biological systems and is an experienced leader, currently serving as the Associate Provost and the Director of Manufacturing Innovation at MIT. Her current research stemming from earlier SMART collaborations is in clinical trials at the Singapore General Hospital, and the prior SMART team that she led has spun off several medtech companies in Singapore. 
    
Professor Yu is a physiologist with expertise interface between mechanobiology, biomaterials, imaging and AI-based data analytics. He is also a serial entrepreneur, recently forming six companies, and the founding member of the Mechanobiology Institute Research Centre of Excellence in Singapore.

THE LARGER TREND

Singapore is doubling down on its efforts on the burgeoning opportunities in medtech and healthtech by bringing research from labs and academia into the market, through partnerships and collaborations. Earlier this month, NRF set up a national Health Technologies Consortium (HealthTEC) to facilitate companies to translate research outcomes into products and services that can improve the health and wellness of individuals.

ON THE RECORD

“By addressing critical technology bottlenecks in how the next generation of personalised medicines is made, SMART CAMP researchers will help set the standards for innovating on quality by design. Imagine providing just the right living cells -- the most sophisticated drug factories we know -- to each patient, as quickly and safely as possible. Delivering on that promise requires exciting changes in the way we understand, engineer, measure, and select cells that offer a safe and effective medicine for that person's ailment. And that goal, in turn, benefits from this investment in the research and researchers that can transform the manufacturing and analytics of biopharma products,” explained Professor Van Vliet in a statement.

Professor Yu said, “This programme integrates experts from various disciplines, training staff and students who can think through the translational pipelines from basic knowledge and technology into commercially viable and clinically relevant solutions.”