Imperial College London

New Dean to lead joint Imperial and NTU medical school in Singapore


Experimental Medicine Building, NTU

Professor James Best has been appointed as Dean at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine) in Singapore, effective 29 July 2014.

Professor Best, a distinguished medical leader who has dedicated his career to improving treatments for diabetes and kidney disease, is currently the Head of Medical School at the University of Melbourne in Australia, and has 30 years’ experience in research, teaching and medical leadership.

Professor Best has an outstanding track record, including leadership at Australia's highest achieving medical school for research.

– Professor Bertil Andersson

President, NTU

He succeeds Professor Dermot Kelleher who has been Dean of both LKCMedicine and Imperial’s Faculty of Medicine for the last two years. Professor Kelleher, who retains his position as Imperial’s Vice-President (Health), will work together with Professor Best to ensure the activities of both institutions will continue to be closely and strategically aligned, and helping to realise the education, research and healthcare opportunities offered by the partnership between two world-class universities. As Dean of LKCMedicine, Prof James Best will spearhead the programmes of the school, which aims to train doctors to meet Singapore’s future healthcare needs. 

Welcoming the appointment, Professor Bertil Andersson, President of NTU said:

“Professor Best has an outstanding track record, including leadership at Australia's highest achieving medical school for research. He also has advanced experience in medical research funding through his engagement at the National Health and Medical Research Council in Canberra. This stands him in good stead to take medical training in NTU to new heights. We are delighted to have him coming on board with us because his experience and expertise will be an asset to NTU, which was recently lauded as Asia’s top university for research impact.  


LKCMedicine is home to Asia's first Anatomage table

“Professor Best joins us at an opportune time to lead the School which is accepting its second cohort of top students and has already attracted a number of exceptional scientists. I believe he will deepen the school’s foundation and build on the good work by Professor Dermot Kelleher who will continue to be our strongest link at Imperial. We are grateful to Professor Kelleher for his leadership and dedication, especially for being a catalyst for research development at LKCMedicine.” 

Under Professor Kelleher’s leadership, the development of LKCMedicine, Singapore’s third and newest medical school, progressed smoothly and the School successfully admitted its first cohort of students in August 2013.

Under the supervision of Imperial's Professor Jenny Higham, who is Senior Vice Dean for LKCMedicine, the School has transformed medical curricula and she will work closely with Professor Best to continue to shape innovative, patient-centred educational programmes as well as on the School’s future development.

International search

Professor Best was selected from a highly competitive field of applicants after an extensive international search led by Sir Keith O’Nions, President & Rector of Imperial College London.

Sir Keith O'Nions

Sir Keith O'Nions

Sir Keith said that Professor Best’s appointment will boost medical education and research in Singapore: “We are fortunate that Professor Best has chosen to bring his talents to LKCMedicine. His wide-ranging achievements as an inspirational teacher, researcher, clinician and medical leader make him ideally suited to the role of Dean. We look forward to seeing the School thrive under his direction as it seeks to serve Singapore’s future patients through delivering the highest quality medical education and research.” 

Under an agreement between the two universities, LKCMedicine’s Dean in the initial phase of the school's development is concurrently the Dean of Imperial’s Faculty of Medicine, so as to provide synergy and integration of teaching and research with Imperial's world renowned medical programme. The appointment of a new Dean for LKCMedicine to be based in Singapore is part of the School's development plan.  

Professor Jenny Higham

Professor Jenny Higham led the development of LKCMedicine's transformational curricula

Looking forward to his full-time stint in Singapore, Professor Best said: “I am excited to embark on this new challenge where there will be a wealth of opportunities to develop collaborations, partnerships and other academic initiatives. I am joining a School that has a highly skilled and dedicated team from NTU, Imperial and partner health organisations and I hope to build on the strengths of these institutions as the School moves towards fulfilling its ambitious goals to redefine medicine and transform healthcare. I am also relishing the prospect of training a new generation of outstanding doctors for Singapore and I look forward to welcoming our second cohort in August.” 

We are fortunate that Professor Best has chosen to bring his talents to LKCMedicine.

– Sir Keith O'Nions


Chairman of LKCMedicine’s Governing Board, Mr Lim Chuan Poh said: “We congratulate Professor James Best on his appointment as the Dean of Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine. The School has gotten off to a very good start in the last four years with a strong faculty and an inaugural cohort of students that we are proud of. Given Professor Best’s excellent track record as an academic leader of a top medical school, the Governing Board has every confidence that he will continue the good work of LKCMedicine and take it to even greater heights. At the same time, we would like to thank Professor Dermot Kelleher for his outstanding leadership of LKCMedicine over the last two years.” 


Andrew Scheuber

Andrew Scheuber
Communications Division

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