Nanyang Technological University

A common theme that has been appearing regularly throughout the study tour – and which was highlighted today during our tour of Nanyang Technological University (NTU) – is that of Singapore’s economic focus. That is, the country is generally devoid of any tradeable natural resources (such as coal, minerals etc.) or land for agriculture, and as such their main economic focus is in areas such as downstream raw materials processing, intellectual innovation, pharmaceutical development etc. As this is almost opposite to Australia’s economic focus (and, indeed, that of many other western countries as well), it is an approach which is quite foreign to me. Nevertheless, it appears to have been extremely successful, as evidenced by the rapid economic growth that the country has seen over the past five decades.
But I digress. With regards to my experiences today at NTU, I have found them to be, for the most part, quite insightful. Specifically, we were fortunate enough to be given short presentations highlighting the current research projects of six NTU graduate students. As I am in the biochemistry stream of the nanotechnology course, I particularly enjoyed the presentation on nano-medicine for the eye. In this presentation, the student (I don’t remember her name, but I will edit it in later) discussed a clever way of introducing drugs into the eye, with the specific focus being the treatment of macular degeneration in the elderly. The method involved the use of different nanoparticles as drug delivery capsules, designed to give a sustained, controlled release of the drug through the scleral region of the eye. Personally, I was captivated throughout the entire presentation, and it has given me renewed inspiration to pursue my biochemistry focus.