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India partners MIT to set up medical institute

India's Department of Biotechnology is partnering the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to set up a Translational Health Science and Technology Institute in India.

india Updated: Nov 21, 2007 12:09 IST

India's Department of Biotechnology is partnering the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to set up a Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI) in India.

The new institute, modelled after the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST), will include faculty from multiple disciplines and professions, according to a statement from MIT.

The institute will offer degrees through multidisciplinary programmes. Funded by the Indian government, THSTI will be a research and training centre connected to regional centres of excellence.

It is expected to increase India's capacity for translating scientific and technological advancements into medical innovations that have the potential to improve healthcare both in India and around the world.

MK Bhan, secretary, Department of Biotechnology, and HST Director Martha Gray signed a letter of intent for this partnership here Monday.

"This partnership is an opportunity to create a long term, synergistic relationship that will result in wide ranging benefits to global health," said Bhan.

HST will help recruit and train new THSTI faculty members. From September 2008 to 2011, four THSTI faculty members will join the HST faculty for a two-year training stint, during which they will develop translational research programmes and design courses and curricula for THSTI.

HST's success stories include medical innovations such as functional magnetic resonance imaging, a low-cost AIDS detection kit, and novel implantable drug delivery mechanisms.

Fifty years ago, MIT and India partnered to set up the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Kanpur. "THSTI has the potential to be a second success story that could revolutionise medicine in India the same way the IIT revolutionised engineering and science," said Shiladitya Sengupta, assistant professor of medicine and an HST faculty member at Harvard Medical School.