Despite the availability of improved therapeutics and technologies, the burden of many human diseases remains high worldwide and this constitutes one of the major challenges plaguing the 21st century. These include both chronic or lifestyle diseases (e.g. cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancers) and infectious diseases. The latter have resulted in a number of epidemics and pandemics in the first two decades of this century and have taken a heavy toll on human health; major players include SARS, MERS, Ebola, Zika, dengue, avian/swine influenza, and COVID-19. In addition to affecting our progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, these health problems have definitely posed a significant threat to the global workforce with serious consequences on economic growth and development. This emphasises the urgent need for more research with the hope of developing new technologies or interventions and advancing our current understanding on the molecular basis of diseases and body functions, and has accentuated the role of biomedical scientists with regard to this. In addition to providing the foundation of modern healthcare, biomedical scientists have contributed significant advances in modern medical science via their tremendous efforts in elucidating the aetiology of diseases, evaluating the effectiveness of treatment, and developing new diagnostic tools and therapeutic strategies.
The global challenges for nutrition include the dual burden of malnutrition, namely hunger and undernutrition on one end and overnutrition on the other, both of which are underlying factors for many diseases. Health issues associated with the former are highly prevalent in low-income countries, in which young children and pregnant women are the groups mainly affected. This highlights the fundamental importance of adequate nutrition in the proper development of children and in the enhancement of our immune system for protection against infectious diseases. On the contrary, obesity due to overconsumption is greatly associated with increased risk of developing diet-related chronic diseases, like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancers, and this is increasingly starting in childhood. The potentials of alternative interventions to better address both nutritional extremes are to be explored via multisectoral approaches, and this includes those pertaining to medical nutrition therapy for management of illnesses and diseases in both acute and chronic care. More effective strategies for delivery of nutrition education and dietary counselling are another aspect to be looked into.
The Centre for Biomedical and Nutrition Research (CBNR) brings together a diverse group of dedicated scientists with expertise across various biomedical and nutritional disciplines pertaining to improvement of human health and wellbeing. Our goal is to carry out high-quality and rigorous research, both fundamental and applied, that will contribute significant new knowledge and technologies to the fields and solutions to some of the key health challenges faced to date. We also strive to uphold our social responsibility in educating and supporting the society on the importance of healthy living and wellbeing.