By Health In Five Writer
Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) has launched a Department of Medical Sciences and Technology which will offer a four-year B.S. program in medical sciences and engineering. This course will be a first-of-its-kind in India.
The Department was launched on 11th May 2023 in the presence of Lakshmi Narayanan, Co-Founder, Cognizant, Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, Medical clinicians on the Steering Committee of the Department and other stakeholders.
The course offers an interdisciplinary approach to prepare students for designing life-saving medical devices, drug discovery, artificial intelligence in medicine, and fundamental medical research. The department will train physicians to effectively apply technology in their clinical practice and lay the foundation for physician-scientists training in India.
Top medical doctors in India and abroad, who were also closely involved in the development of the curriculum, will be ‘Professors of Practice’ in this department, which has already established tie-ups with premier hospitals and medical institutions in India.
Addressing the inaugural function, Narayanan said, “Collaborative research in medical sciences can catapult India to a global leader in clinical outcomes. Our leadership in Space, nuclear, digital and biotechnology has demonstrated our research capability and potential. Extending this capability to Medicine is a natural next step. Innovation can be found at the convergence of nanotechnology, biotechnology, chemistry, micro biomes, cognitive science and such other sciences. Investment in such collaborative research and practice is sure to produce outstanding clinical results.”
The goal is to establish an exceptional research facility for medical sciences and technology to develop and train ‘physician-scientists’ and engineering physiologists to become future leaders in their fields. The new department will conduct both fundamental and applied research programs that connect various medical disciplines.
By providing the necessary resources and platform, IIT Madras hopes to enable researchers to create innovative technologies that will improve the lives of patients for generations to come. The Institute also aims to establish an exceptional research facility for medical sciences and technology to develop and train physician-scientists and engineering physiologists to become future leaders in their fields.
The Institute will also conduct both fundamental and applied research programs that connect various medical disciplines. By providing the necessary resources and platform, we hope to enable our researchers to create innovative technologies that will improve the lives of patients for generations to come.
Addressing the launch event, Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, said, “During the COVID outbreak in India, it became evident that we needed to incorporate technology into medicine to effectively handle similar situations in the future as a country. Though we hope such challenges never arise again, this intervention will be crucial in defining our response.”
Prof. Kamakoti added, “Our mission is to unite professionals from medicine and technology to create ground-breaking solutions for medical issues that were once unsolvable. Our aim is to improve treatment options and revolutionize healthcare. Continuing our mission of IITM for ALL, we aspire to provide technological interventions in the field of medicine that shall enable quality and affordable Medicare to reach every citizen of our country.”
The Department of Medical Sciences & Technology will offer the following courses:
Ø BS in Medical Sciences & Engineering (4 Year Programme)
Ø PhD Programme for Doctors
Ø MS by Research for Doctors
Ø MS in Medical Sciences and Engineering
Ø PhD Programme for Science & Engineering Graduates
Highlighting the unique aspects of this program, Prof. Boby George, Head, Department of Medical Sciences and Technology, IIT Madras, said, “With this interdisciplinary approach to improve the healthcare outcomes by leveraging engineering and medical knowledge, new technologies can be developed that monitor vital parameters of various organs, detects signs of disease, and help to provide targeted prevention and treatment options. As engineering and medicine continue to converge, the possibilities are endless.”
Course Coordinator, Prof. R. Krishna Kumar, Institute Professor, IIT Madras, said, “The admission procedure will be through IISER Aptitude Test (IAT). Candidates must have cleared Class XII (or equivalent) examination with science stream in 2022 or 2023 from any board recognized by Council of Boards of Department Education in India.”
Prof. Kumar added, “Imagine you are able to create a digital twin of a patient and try out various treatment options or surgical procedures. Your treatment advice may be a vital input for the treating physician or surgeon and save precious lives. The course will train you to be an important link in the future of clinical practice.”
He further added, “The course structure involves an internship in a hospital to tie theory and practice. The courses in the programme will be taught by both medical and engineering faculty and will provide a strong research base for students.”