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September 28, 2009 saw Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School’s official opening by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who was the Guest of Honor at the ceremony. Over 400 guests were present to celebrate this historic milestone, including staff, faculty, students, visitors from Duke University and stakeholders such as SingHealth, A*STAR, and the Ministries of Education, Health and Trade and Industry.

It was also a time to celebrate the achievements which Duke-NUS has reached ahead of schedule, such as the launch of the innovative TeamLEAD (Learn, Engage And Develop) approach to medical education and the recruitment of renowned faculty members from Duke Durham, local hospitals and national institutes. Distinguished researchers and outstanding students from Singapore and beyond have also been drawn to the school to contribute to its development and success. With the establishment of five signature research programs, Duke-NUS has proven to be a magnet for outstanding scientists, attracting respected international scientists such as Patrick Casey, John Rush, Duane Gubler, Shirish Shenolikar, Dale Purves, David Virshup and David Matchar to head key positions within the faculty.

The day after the official opening, Duke-NUS held an open house – allowing staff and students to engage with families, friends, stakeholders and the school’s Outram health partners. Activities included informative talks about the admission process, a series of sessions introducing the latest research being carried out at Duke-NUS, and guided tours to show visitors the facilities.

Assistant Professor Joshua Gooley is studying how light influences our circadian rhythms, controlling when we feel tired and when we feel awake. He told Vital Science about his research at the new Chronobiology and Sleep Laboratory at Duke-NUS, his dreams of designing jetlag-eradicating glasses, and how living in a room for 6 days can feel like a holiday.

Singapore scientists have proposed an alternative approach to the ‘one size fits all strategy’ and moved an important step closer to personalizing the treatment of stomach cancer.

Corporate education (CE) is not a term traditionally associated with medical school, but for all new students at Duke-NUS it precedes anatomy, physiology and cell biology. Before so much as speaking to a patient, they´re immersed in a world of conflict resolution, group negotiations and network building. The terminology may come from business school, but the principles will help define them as physicians. Beginning in the very first week, the CE module provides the platform on which the ethos of Duke-NUS is to be built.

The White Coat Ceremony marks the start of an exciting journey for the new class of medical students. It is a remarkable personal milestone that signifies a new medical student´s transition from a general member of the community into one who has accepted the calling of becoming a practitioner of medicine.

Editor: David Brill
Production and copy-editing: Adeline Sim
Vital Science is a quarterly publication produced by the Office of Communications and Development.

For this issue, the banner features the main entrance to the Khoo Teck Puat Building, home of Duke-NUS Graduate School, which was officially opened by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on September 28, 2009. The 11-storey building occupies 26,351m2 and contains a genomics facility, a lecture theatre, a library, a high-performance computing cluster and six floors of laboratories.