The first stop of the day was to SIMTech, which stands for the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology. The speaker there was really good as he went into a lot of detail about basically everything they do there. Giving us lots of information to help us with our reports, if we choose to write about them which is helpful.
Next we visited the School of Materials science and engineering for NTU (Nanyang Technological University). They had chicken and tuna sandwiches already waiting for us for lunch, which was nice, before being taught about their school and how things work. One of the more interesting things I found was It being the worlds biggest Engineering college.
Afterwards we had 6 presentations from research students. The topics they talked about were: Nanomedicine for the eye, Biomimicry, Tissue engineering and Translational medicine, Synthesis of Nanoparticles, Nanosheets of Graphene, and Crystal growth of charge transfer compounds. The one I enjoyed most was about Tissue engineering, because as that technology gets better, no more animal testing will be required. We’ll be able to identify how a drug will affect humans without using anyone as a test subject.
After all of the presentations had finished, we were shown around the labs before heading back for the day.
On Thursday the 3rd of July we had the chance to visit another A Star research institute called SIMTech (Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology) located at NTU (Nanyang Technological University). SIMTech’s aim is to develop high value manufacturing technology to enhance the competitiveness of the manufacturing industry, to create intellectual properties, and to nurture research scientists. They have three divisions including manufacturing processing, manufacturing automation, and manufacturing systems. SIMTech’s research programs are very product orientated as Singapore wants new and advanced products being made in order to keep their manufacturing flourishing so there are more jobs and so the economy can continue to grow. Some of the areas that SIMTech research into include forming technologies, polymer/powder processing, machining technology, laser precision machining, surface technology, mechatronics, and many many other areas. It allows people of all areas of science to be able to research something that they are interested in.
After visiting a few of SIMTech’s laboratories and a quick lunch break, we headed over to the main NTU campus where we went to the Material Science and Engineering division of the university where we had a quick briefing about NTU before six students, five of them being PhD and one an honours student, spoke to us about their research. We learnt that NTU is on two-hundred hectares, has 1.1 million square metres of build up space, four-hundred-thousand square metres of academic space, and approximately thirty-three-thousand students. The materials science and engineering division mainly focus on defence materials, sports materials, nano materials, bio materials, polymer materials, and materials for sustainability.
All of the presentations that we were shown were very interesting, however three out of the six particularly grabbed my interest. The first one that I thoroughly enjoyed was about nanomedicide for ocular diseases and how they can be delivered. This was useful because instead of having to twice a month get a drug injected into your eye, they were trying to find ways in which the drug can be delivered without causing irritation and only twice yearly. The second presentation I found particularly interesting was about biomimicry. They were trying to replicate a material that is the same as the humboldt squids teeth that are in its suckers as it is a very strong substance that is completely made up of proteins similar to spiders silk. The third research I found interesting was a lab-on-a-chip concept which always interest me. They were trying to design a microfluidic platform for liver tissue engineering. The purpose of this is to be able to test new drugs in a chip that performs the same as a human liver in order to avoid having to test the drugs on animals such as rats inside a lab.
After our day at NTU was over, a group of us decided to venture into little india to visit some of the hawker markets and to see a side of Singapore that is completely different to what we have seen so far. It was good to see the side that hasn’t got all the new ultra modern buildings and to see what singapore was more like before the huge modernisation and westernisation set in. It was also a great chance to do some cheap shopping.
This morning I tried to be different and have an alternate breakfast to the runny eggs and dipping toast. It was a bad mistake as the noodles were way to spicy for that time of morning.
The public transport is nice here and as I finally realized that it is really cheap. It was only $0.12 for a bus ride. As they are calculated on distance travelled. Not like the Melbourne system.
We arrived at Nanyang technological university and were given an introduction and lecture about SimTech and what it does. Including it’s research and manufacturing processes. SimTech is a part of the A*Star institute which makes the link between researched technologies and industrial applications. The laboratories we were shown were very impressive. A lot of the facilities were about precision engineering and 3D printing.
We were then given five short presentations by NTU students who were doing post graduate research on various topics. It was nice to see the kinds of work they are doing and to have the chance to question them about it.
After that we were given a tour of their laboratories which included electron microscopes.
Later that night we went to little India to a hawker center for dinner where a few of us went and got food with a bit of walking about the shopping centre. I got a dish called fried carrot cake, it was anything but a cake. It was a very nice fried mixture of vegetables with an egg mixed into it.
The shopping centre was much more dingey and not as lavish as felt more real with many more locals and much more reasonable prices. I was able to buy some gifts for the family and shoes for myself.
Today was the first of a two day intensive tour of the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and facilities. It started out with an intensive presentation of the Singapore Institute of Material Technologies (SimTech). This gave me a greater understanding of how Singapore is able to be such a developed and rich country with no natural resources, unlike Australia. This presentation illustrated how Singapore is able to be a big competitor in manufacturing by taking advantage of its greatest resource, its citizens.
When the presentation concluded we made our way to the School of Materials Science and Engineering department of NTU. Here we were given presentations by PhD and Masters students on their research topics. The presentation I was most intrigued by was the study on the sucker teeth of the Humboldt Squid. This showed how nature has already beaten humans to the nanoworld by showing the structure of the teeth as being comprised of non-mineral nano-tubular proteins. From this I learnt that sometimes if you want to do something right, just look at nature.
To finish of the day we had a tour of the labs. Inside one we found a number of different electron microscopes with specific functions that I have yet to understand fully. The next stop was the Biomaterial Labs which was interesting seeing heat stints that have a layer over the actual stint and inside is a drug which gets released into the body to help cure the cardiac disease. The final lab visit was to the Organic Materials Service Lab. Inside was research into imprinting of biological cells onto a polymer film.