Agreement with the University of Malaya for pioneering healthcare research

Swansea University and the University of Malaya are joining forces to lead the way in developing the next generation of healthcare solutions for conditions such as osteoarthritis. The Vice-Chancellors of each university, Professor Richard B Davies and Professor Dato' Dr. Mohd Amin Jalaludin, have formally signed the agreement which signals closer ties between both institutions.

The strategic relationship between the universities will involve research training and exchange programs that will speed up discovery of new therapies by harnessing the complementary skills of its research staff. 

The initiative will be led by Professor Tunku Kamarul Zaman from the National Orthopaedic Centre for Excellence in Research and Learning (NOCERAL) in Kuala Lumpur and Dr Ilyas Khan, Lecturer in Regenerative Medicine from Swansea University Medical School.   

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Picture:  The signed agreement: (l-r) Prof Fauza, Dean of postgraduate studies, University of Malaya; Professor Richard B Davies, Vice Chancellor, Swansea University; Professor Dato' Dr. Mohd Amin Jalaludin, Vice Chancellor, University of Malaya; Professor Keith Lloyd, Dean and Head of Swansea University Medical School.

University of Malaya (UM) which is in Kuala Lumpur, is Malaysia’s oldest and most esteemed university. The QS World University Rankings places University of Malaya in 151st place.  The university has 13,000 students in total and 3,500 staff of which 750 are international appointees.   The push for innovation has led to the university registering 728 patents and successfully taking 34 products into the commercial world.

Picture:  osteoarthritis is the single largest cause of physical disability, and the new agreement will speed up research into tackling it

Dr Ilyas Khan, leader of the Regenerative Medicine Group at Swansea University Medical School, said:

“The strategic partnership between University of Malaya and Swansea University Medical School aims to develop new and effective therapies for people suffering from joint diseases, such as osteoarthritis. 

Osteoarthritis is the single largest cause of physical disability and is an increasing global health concern especially with the increase in obesity and an aging population. 

By linking up Swansea’s world leading research in cartilage biology with the University of Malaya’s expertise and infrastructure in translating research from the bench to the bedside we hope to restore the mobility of people’s joints so they can lead pain free and normal lives.”

Hip xray‌Professor Keith Lloyd, Dean and Head of Swansea University Medical School, added; "It was a great honour to meet colleagues from the University of Malaysia and to sign a dual PhD agreement. There are great opportunities to work together across a number of areas of medicine in which we both excel."

NOCERAL, the National Orthopaedic Centre for Excellence in Research and Learning, at the University of Malaya, pioneers orthopaedic treatments through the development of new and innovative surgical techniques.  It aims to be the leader in orthopaedic research in Malaysia as well as at the international level. 

NOCERAL is made of a team of dedicated and experienced surgeons, academic staff, scientists, researchers from various fields locally and internationally, post-doctoral fellows, postgraduate students (PhD and Masters) and research assistants.

The anchor research group in NOCERAL, which is the Tissue Engineering Group (TEG) led by Professor Tunu Kamarul Zaman, contributes approximately 90% of all research activities and grants. However, a larger role is also been played by other subspecialties/research groups, which are taking an active role in developing research training programs.

The Regenerative Medicine Group based at Swansea University Medical School leads the world in understanding cartilage biology and developing new and innovative therapies for people suffering from joint problems such as osteoarthritis.   It is funded by the UK Regenerative Medicine Platform, an organisation set up by the major research councils in the UK in order to accelerate the translation of research excellence into clinical benefit for patients. 

The Swansea group were one of only four groups in the whole of the UK to win this prestigious funding for a project to develop cartilage in the lab using innovative technologies such as 3D bioprinting for implantation into patients which is being developed at the Centre for NanoHealth