Paul S. Lietman, Wellcome Professor of Clinical Pharmacology and professor of medicine, pediatrics, and pharmacology and molecular sciences at the School of Medicine, has been named director of research for Johns Hopkins Singapore.
In his new role, Lietman will be responsible for helping identify, implement and oversee JHS's research initiatives, which form part of its threefold mission of research, patient care and physician education. He will divide his time between Singapore and Baltimore.
"I'm extremely excited and enthusiastic about helping build something with such incredible potential," Lietman said. "We now can extend our research interests in novel ways to address the specific health problems of East Asia while advancing basic and clinical science."
Modeled after Johns Hopkins Medicine, JHS was established earlier this year in a bid to make Singapore a premier medical hub in the Pacific Rim. Plans will focus on developing new drugs, new treatments and joint business ventures in delivering care. An independent board will be responsible for managing research activities, guided by a scientific advisory board comprising eminent scientists from the United States, Singapore and other nations, Lietman said.
There also will be ample opportunities for research into diseases that are uncommon in the United States but plague millions of people elsewhere, according to Lietman. "Tuberculous and hepatitis are two of the leading killers in Asia," he said. "We now have an unparalleled opportunity to study and develop ways to treat them more effectively on site in Asia and for working directly with affected populations."
"Dr. Lietman will have the very critical job of transplanting the grand tradition of Hopkins research into another country and ensuring that it flourishes there as it has here," said Steven Thompson, chief executive officer of JHS.
According to Bart Chernow, vice dean for research, technology and corporate relations for Johns Hopkins Medicine, details of the management, organizational structure and research priorities of Lietman's division are still evolving. "We've solicited proposals from our faculty, and the response has been very encouraging. We will evaluate each for its merit, relevance to the region and potential interaction with the National University of Singapore faculty," he said. "We should have some decisions by summer's end."
Lietman emphasized that the research and clinical trials conducted in Singapore will be carried out under the same standards as those used in the United States.
"The government of Singapore is establishing regulations comparable to those of our own Food and Drug Administration and National Institutes of Health," he said. "In addition, we will adhere to Hopkins' regulations and policies so that studies done there will come under the same level of scrutiny and have the same credibility as those done in the United States."
Lietman received his medical degree from Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons and completed a residency program in pediatrics at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. After a two-year period as clinical associate at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Disorders and a year at the Hospital for Sick Children in London, he returned to Hopkins and obtained a doctorate in physiological chemistry. He joined the Hopkins faculty in 1968.
He has been the director of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology and has held the Wellcome Chair in Clinical Pharmacology for 26 years. He has chaired the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee for 29 years.