Teaching & Educational Programs
Teaching Interest and Educational Programs

A. Descriptions of Courses taught

1. Biomechanics: Involvement of the full range of Applies Mechanics disciplines in Analyses of Cardiac structure and phenomena,  Cardiovascular phenomena and devices; Muscles excitation contraction coupling and contraction force vs shortening velocity, Musculo-skeletal mechanics: structures; Orthopedic procedures & devices and Joint prostheses.

This course covers theory and numerical problems on biomechanics analyses and design.One of the features of the course is characterization (based on analysis) of the intrinsic optimality of anatomical structures (such as the spinal vertebral body as a high-strength light-weight structure).


2. Physiological Engineering: Engineering principles applications to analyze Cardiovascular, Pulmonary, Renal, Neuronal, and Endocrine systems.

Herein, each physiological system is characterized from an engineering viewpoint. For instance, the Heart is analyzed as an electro-mechanical pump; the Kidney is analyzed as an efficient mass transfer separation system (involving osmosis, passive and active system transport processes) to form urine and excrete end-products of protein metabolism, and excess (Na+, Cl-, K+) ions; the Lung is analyzed as a ventilation-perfusion gas-transfer system to oxygenate the blood and remove CO2 from it; in Neuronal engineering, concepts of ionic flows through membrane to set up currents flowing through the membrane and along the cells (along with the application of circuit theorems to an axon segment) provide the basis for studying the propagation of a nerve impulse; in Endocrine systems, we model the (i) regulation of blood sugar levels by insulin and glucagon and (ii) the thyroid-pituitary homeostatic mechanism by means of differential equations, simulate the model solution to the clinical data, determine the model parameters, and characterize the system performance in terms of the model parameters’ values.

A somewhat unique concept to engineering modeling of physiological systems is developed in the course, by characterizing each system in terms of a non-dimensional physiological index (NDPI) made up of the system-model parameters. Next, model simulation to clinical data by (parametric-identification) enables the evaluation of the system NDS. Then, the distribution of NDPI over a large patient population determines the NDS ranges of the normal and impaired system.



3. Cardiovascular Engineering: This course deals with: Cardiac filling, pressure-generation & ejection mechanisms and contractility indices; Theory of ECG generation and determination of the heart vector; Arterial (pulsatile) blood flow, arteriolar and capillary flows

The course theme is ‘Engineering of cardiology practice, including new monitoring methods and diagnostic indices and procedures’.



4. Healthcare Systems: The intent of the course is to develop a quantifiable methodology for cost-effective healthcare delivery. This course deals with (i) Engineering analysis of a multi-tiered healthcare delivery system: healthcare demand and supply, healthcare coverage, relationship of medical care to health, healthcare economics, (ii) Tertiary-care hospital operations, cost-effectiveness analyses of hospital units, and Constrained optimization problem of budget distribution and resource allocation such that all the hospital units operate at specified cost-effective index levels.

This course combines biomedical engineering methods, economics analyses, and operations research methods.



5. Biological Systems Modeling: This course deals with molecular and cellular biophysics: (i) Molecular and ionic interactions as the basis of the formation of biological structures, (ii) Cell structures and membranes, how cells interact and adhere, (iii) Polymerization of actin and myosin and the motor proteins associated with them, and (iv) Ion transport in cell membranes, electrical fields in cells, conducting properties of neurons and action-potential generation.



6. Sports Engineering: This course deals with (i) the Engineering-mechanics of athletic and sports events, involving running and jumping, tennis ball serving, kicking curving soccer ball trajectories, pitching curve balls and optimal batting styles, (ii) Optimal jogging and running modes, requiring minimal energy expenditure, (iii) Fitness analysis in terms of heart-rate and oxygen-consumption responses to work-load on the treadmill in the form of differential equations, and characterization of a non-dimensional fitness index in terms of the model parameters, (iv) Capacity for load handling in terms of muscle contractile force vs shortening velocity and muscle contractile power-index, (v) Articular joint functional-mechanics and degeneration.



7. Engineering Foundations of Biomedical Engineering: This course is meant for biology and medical students in the biomedical engineering program. It (i) provides an introduction to the basic engineering concepts, principles and phenomena, and (ii) demonstrates their applications in biomedical group. The engineering disciplines covered are solid and fluid mechanics, dynamics and vibrations, heat and mass transport processes, electrostatics and electrodynamics, and control systems. The course is problem-based, in that these engineering disciplines are taught in relation to anatomical structures and organ functions, monitoring and diagnostic procedures.



B. Contributions to Educational Programs


􀂃  Biomedical Engineering (BME)


As a pioneer in this field, I have developed educational programs (and curricula), and taught a variety of courses in Biomechanics, Physiological Engineering, Orthopedic mechanics, Cardiovascular Engineering, Medical Physics, and Biomathematics.

I have recently published a course-oriented textbook on Applied Biomechanics (CRC Press), covering orthopedic, cardiovascular, pulmonary, diabetic and sports biomechanics. Through my courses, research and text-books, I have endeavored to make the BME a healthcare professional field having a role in medical education as well as in tertiary-care hospitals.

In my Bioengineering Program curriculum, the courses are designed to address biomedical engineering in the clinical setting. The below figure delineates the role of BME in a hospital setting: (i) monitoring, signal and image processing; (ii) organ-systems modeling and functional characterization by means of BME indices; (iii) expert systems formulations, for diagnostic and interventional guidelines; for major organ-systems disorders (based on evidence-based medicine), (iv) treatment: pharmacological, surgical tissue-engineering, rehabilitation engineering; (v) design and implementation of prostheses and orthoses, drug delivery systems and artificial organs.



􀂃 Healthcare Engineering & Management (HCEM)


The HCEM Instructional program is designed to provide the relevant multidisciplinary knowledge-base in clinical and Hospital Engineering Economic and Financial Engineering related to cost-effective operation of hospitals (represented by the below depicted three pillars of HCEM) to hospital administrators.

The HCEM program can be developed as a joint program of the College of Engineering, the School of Business Administration and the Medical School, towards a career in hospital administration, health-care policy and public health. HCEM could in fact be an international program, interacting with WHO on cost-effective healthcare delivery in Developing countries.

At NTU, this program is being offered as an optional major in Healthcare Policy and Hospital Management (HPHM) within the Public Administration program detailed in Appendix A. There in, the courses in HPHM elective major are also listed.

HCEM could be developed as a professional MBA program between the Colleges of Engineering, Medicine and Business Administration; it could be a heavily subscribed program in its own right. Additionally, we could offer MD-MBA (HCEM) degrees to those students admitted to the MD program who are interested in setting up and managing medical practice.



􀂃 Medical Sciences: Biophysics courses in Basic Science and Organ Systems Modules


I have developed Biophysics courses in the Medical Sciences curriculum. Therein, I taught Physics and Mathematics in the Basic science modules, and Biophysics topics in the Organ Systems modules of the Medical curriculum.



􀂃 Community –development Engineering (CDE) for developing Functionally-sustainable Communities (FSCs)


This program would be suitable for under-served communities, isolated communities and communities with high unemployment.

A CDE Graduate program curriculum would comprise of courses in (i) Functional sectors of a  community and their inter-relationships; (ii) Cooperatively-structured medium and large scaled enterprises and privately-owned small-scale businesses; (iii) Technopreneurship for sustainable indigenous agro-industrial development, (iv) Community services: water supply, electrical power, finance and banking for indigenous enterprises, preventive and curative primary-to-tertiary healthcare delivery system, transportation system for people and freight, and primary-to-tertiary education; (v) Trade and commerce; (vi) Financial and fiscal policy; (vii) Operations research, with applications to budget development and management to make communities functionally sustainable; (viii) Integrating FSCs into self-reliant economic blocs (SREB): inter and intra FSC and SREB trade & commerce and sharing of knowledge to develop a uniform standard of living; (ix) Role of universities as partners in community and regional development; (x) People-centered governance and electoral system, to efficiently administer FSCs and SREBs.



Appendix A


Master of Public Administration (MPA)

(with Majors in Economics and Public policy, Healthcare Policy and Hospital Management and Public Administration).



NTU is expected to play a bigger role in strengthening Singapore engagement with the rapidly growing economics of China and East Asian countries. Leveraging on our existing strength in executive training, we plan to contribute further by cultivating good long-term relationships with the up and coming government officials from East Asia. The proposed Masters degree in Public Administration (MPA) can serve a suitable vehicle for this purpose.

The proposed MPA program is specifically designed for experienced professionals who have already been playing an active leading role in the public sector but are seeking to develop new and useful skills for the development and implementation of policy alternatives. It aims to train senior officials from China and East Asia, in an effort to enhance their capacity to manage policy in rapidly changing domestic and international public environments. Through professional training, the participants will sharpen their problem-solving, analytic, strategic planning, and leadership skills to help them plan, introduce, and sustain major policy and institutional actions directly related to their own policy environment. The program can also facilitate a better understanding between government officials of East Asia and Singapore, by gathering high-level officials to discuss topics pertinent to public affairs of East Asian countries



Program Structure


The program structure has been designed to provide high-quality professional education to students and prepare them for administrative and leadership roles in the public sector, as well as to develop a critical and analytical mind that is essential to modern management and administration. These constitute the six core subjects. Students are requires to take six other subjects from the electives of any one of the three majors: Economics and public policy, Health care policy and Hospital management, and Public Administration. Apart from traditional classroom instruction, various dynamic interactive elements (such as case teaching, simulation and role-playing, policy analysis workshop, and speaker series) will also be adopted. Distinguished scholars and government officers will be regularly invited to interact with the participants of our MPA program in order to establish an exciting and simulating learning environment.

Arrangements will also be made for MPA participants to visit relevant organizations and government bodies.


Subjects of Study

The program leading to the degree of Master of Public Administration (MPA) comprises:

a. six core subjects, and

b. six electives from any one of the three major fields of specialization.

Core subjects:

MPA6000 Markets and Market Failure

MPA6001 Macroeconomic Environment and Policy

MPA6003 Public Choice and Public Policy

MPA6005 Seminar in Public Policy and Management

MPA6006 Politics and Public Policy

MPA6008 Public Organizations and Management


Major in Economics and Public Policy (6 out of 8 subjects)

MPA6100 Human Resource Management

MPA6102 Research and Statistical Methods in Policy Analysis

MPA6103 Law and Institutions in a Market Economy

MPA6104 Leadership in Public Sector

MPA6105 Negotiation and Conflict Management

MPA6106 Public Administration Reform in China

MPA6107 Economics and Public Policy

MPA6108 Public Policy in Education, Science and Technology


Major in HealthCare Policy and Hospital Management (6 out of 8 subjects)

MPA6201 Health Care Organization, Policy, and Administration

MPA6204 Health Economics

MPA6202 Singapore and International Health Care Systems

MPA6203 Principles of Biostatistics

MPA6205 Operations Management and Healthcare Logistics & Strategy

MPA6206 Principles of Cost-effective Management of a Hospital and the Healthcare

Delivery System

MPA6207 Health Laws, Ethics, and Regulations

MPA6208 Legal Environment, Health Policy and Industrial Relations


Major in Public Administration

MPA6301 Public Administration principles

MPA6302 Government-Business Relations

MPA6303 Intergovernmental Relations and Local Government Administration

MPA6304 Transition Economics: Issues and policy Options

MPA6305 International Economics

MPA6306 Globalization and Public Administration

MPA6307 Urban and Regional Development Policy

MPA6308 Finance and Accounting for Public Administration



C. Teaching Philosophy and Effectiveness (based on my courses evaluation by students)


(i) Philosophy of Teaching

I consider teaching to be my primary academic role. This is because, for me, teaching and research go hand-in-hand. Throughout my academic career, I have infused relevant aspects of my research into my courses. However, conversely, every time I teach a course I come up with some new ideas for research. Thus, quite frequently my graduate students’ research is based on topics covered in class. This gives them an initial momentum for deeper development of these topics.



Right from the beginning of my academic career, my philosophy in teaching a course is to cover a wide range of topics within the subject (and not just emphasize my own involvements environments in that subject), so that the students get exposed to the breath of the subject. This extra effort taken by me in reading research papers on the subject and then simplifying their engineering analysis and modeling for class instructional purpose has paid good dividends. On the one hand, it has kept me conversant with the expanding domain of a subject. On the other hand, it has enabled me to develop some new domains with more rigorous engineering formulations as well as new dimensions of the subject. Thus, my courses are evolving all the time (as the subjects evolve) both in content and rigor.


Biomedical engineering (BME) involves engineering formulation of biomedical phenomena, processes, procedures and devices. Hence, two types of expansions are possible in biomedical engineering courses. One realm is in the range of biomedical topics covered, while the other realm is in engineering rigor entailed in formulation of the biomedical topics. I take pains to address both these needs, according to the level of the course.


In a typical BME course taught by me, I will first give an overview of the course, so that the students have an initial panoramic view of the course. Then, I cover each topic within the course in a problem-based approach. I first introduce the biomedical subject and its relevance. Next, I develop its engineering formulation, using engineering theory and principles suited to the level of the students. After that, I cover some numerical examples to explain the application of the theory. Finally, I bring attention to how the problem results have bearing on its biomedical purport.


From the start of my academic career, when I taught some of the earliest courses in bioengineering and when bioengineering was still evolving as a field, I have taken pains to orient my courses to biomedical applications and clinical professional needs. I have also advocated this to my colleagues. This is because we want our students to be capable of contributing to biomedical engineering in industrial and healthcare settings. However, even now courses offered in many biomedical engineering programs are not addressing these needs. This is why biomedical engineering is as yet not incorporated into tertiary medical-care as, say, biochemistry is. In other words, we do not have biomedical engineering departments in hospitals that are intimately involved in day-to-day medical care.



There are two reasons for this as yet non-recognition of the importance of Biomedical Engineering in tertiary medical practice. One is that biomedical engineering programs are based in engineering colleges of universities and often quite removed from an awareness of medical professional needs. The second reason is that there is no provision for a hospital to bill for biomedical engineering services. I have endeavored to address both these needs, in my administrative capacity. For the first need, I have also developed biomedical engineering education and courses within the College of Medicine, and pioneered the adoption and orientation of biomedical engineering and physics in the medical curriculum. It is only when medical graduates get to study biomedical engineering and biomedical physics as part of their education, then they can recognize its utility and push for its incorporation into medical professional practice.


Yet, even if biomedical engineering were to be an intrinsic department of a hospital and its biomedical engineering staff were involved in clinical care (in diagnostics, intervention, surgery and decision making), a hospital needs to be able to justify billing for these services. In other words, we need to have billing codes for biomedical engineering services. This is one of the remits of my new field of Healthcare Engineering and Management (HCEM), which will in fact make it possible for employment of our biomedical engineering graduates in hospitals. The other and broader impetus for me to develop this new field stems from an awareness of inadequacy of MBA degree-holding hospital administrators to adequately appreciate the intricacies of tertiary clinical-care and the resources needed for it. There is hence a need for the field of Healthcare (and Hospital) Engineering and Management (HCEM), to educate and train hospital administrators to properly address cost-effective medical care in healthcare delivery. This prompted me to develop the curriculum of HCEM (delineated in the previous Section B and to start teaching it).



(ii) Teaching Effectiveness (and course evaluation by students)

I take teaching very seriously and also find it very rewarding. After every course, I get the pleasure of some students wanting to do research under me. Nevertheless, the effectiveness of anyone’s teaching can best be adjudged from the students’ feedback and how they are motivated for further studies or to do research or to incorporate what is taught into their work.

Herein, Appendix B provides in verbatim the students’ feedback to my teaching in the Biological Systems (BI-6122) course, as relayed by the class representative (Lam Ah Wah) to Dr. Kwoh Chee Keong (BI-6122) (the coordinator of MSc Bioinformatics program). Additionally, Appendix C provides the students’ feedbacks to my Sports Engineering course (in the MSc Biomedical program), as relayed in verbatim by the class representative Lim Meng Kiang to Dr. Kim Wangdo (the course coordinator).

These feedbacks comment on my teaching style, explanations in class, and relating of theory to applications. The BI-6122 feedback mentions some specific course topics and how these topics have helped them to connect to topics in another course (Proteomics). Also mentioned is the benefit obtained by the students from this course. From each of these two courses, one student opted to do MSc dissertation and then PhD under me.


Finally Appendix D provides two samples feedbacks of students, on how my teaching has helped them in their education, reserach and career development.



Appendix B


Students' Feedback to my Biological Systems course

BI6122 course in the MSc (Bioinformatics) Program


From: #LAM AH WAH#

Sent: Mon 8/2/2004 4:08 PM

To: Kwoh Chee Keong (Assoc Prof)

Subject: Further feedbacks on BI6122, (MSc, Bioinformatics)

Hi A/P Kwok,

I would like to provide further feedbacks gathered from my fellow course-mates of BI6122, Biological Systems Modeling. We opined that the course should be considered as a core subject.

1. The course has provided insightful perspectives on biological systems because it combines many areas of knowledge. The characterization of the biological systems and its linkage with genome/protein are necessary to advance our scientific knowledge and database.

2. The course has laid the foundation for further study on bioengineering and biomedical engineering such as lung function, respiration system model, nerve cell model, membrane model, red blood cell model, etc. The functional models of human organs and tissues are increasing more important for pharmaceutical companies and in future for the direct delivery of drugs to the affected cells.

3. In BI6123, Proteomics, we were taught the patterns of the amino acids in protein sequences of ion channels and its possible 3D structure. In BI6122, Biological System Modeling, we were taught why there are channels and how the channels should function to support the stability of the cell. The systems' functions may well be a driving force for change at the lower levels. We learnt how the membrane is used for electrical conduction and that the forces of the cytoskeleton structure support the shape of cell and probably much more, such as 'signaling', etc.

4. Overall, the course has given us a good understanding of biological systems. It has helped much in future research where systems models and genome/protein sequences are required for further development in bioscience and bioengineering.


Lam Ah Wah



From: #LAM AH WAH#

Sent: Monday, August 02, 2004 4:57 PM

To: Kwoh Chee Keong (Assoc Prof)

Subject: RE: Further feedbacks on BI6122, (MSc, Bioinformatics)

Hi A/P Kwok,

Sorry I missed out something. Since I have also gathered feedbacks on the teaching by Prof Ghista, I would like to extract them (in verbatim) for your information:

1. Prof Ghista is very patient in explaining things. He does not assume that we know the background. He is also a good mentor and very generous and sincere in his advice.

2. Prof Ghista obviously knew the subject well and I liked his teaching style. I learnt quite a lot and enjoyed the lectures.

3. Given the limited time, he has tried to cover as much as possible and unfortunately had to skip some. He went into sufficient depth for the ones he covered.

4. The presentation is class was quite good and he was enthusiastic. He was very good in explanation and has in depth knowledge. He could relate the theory to practical applications.

Best Regards,

Lam Ah Wah



Appendix C



Students Feedback to Dr. Kim Wangdo (coordinator) of my Sports Engineering Course in the MSc (Biomedical Engineering) program



Sent: Wed 8/4/2004 12:34 AM

To: Kim Wangdo (Assoc Prof)

Subject: Feedback on Prof. Ghista (Sport Engineering Class in 03/04)

Dear Prof. Kim,

Last semester, Prof. Ghista had requested us (i.e. students from Sport Engineering Class in 03/04) through email to compile the feedback for his teaching. I had received feedback from my peers and below are the compilation of these feedbacks for Prof. Ghista.

1. He has his unique way of teaching in class and always asks questions that prompt us to think further. Most of the time, he would tends to guide us along to answers those questions he posted. This help to enhance our mental thinking process.

2. He is an interactive lecturer with lots of experience to share.

3. From the lecture topics being taught, it was noticed that some were from his current research. From here, I felt that it's beneficial as it demonstrated to me how to use my engineering knowledge to sports biomechanics area.

Best Regards,

Meng Kiang



D. Student Feedback on my Teaching and Interactions with them

Verbatim-reproduced sample students’ letters from my Website’s Students’ Portal prepared by my students.


Deepa (Dr. Deepa Narayanan)

My acquaintance with Professor Dhanjoo Ghista began in the pioneer batch of biomedical engineers at the Nanyang Technological University. He was teaching us a few topics on Modeling. I still can visualize him walking in with a huge bundle of papers, walking slowly towards his seat. He would then start teaching from his hand written notes with just a pen in his hand and a board ahead of him. We would just watch and listen in fascination at the breath and depth of knowledge of Prof Ghista. So hooked were my friends and I that we enrolled into the modules that he was offering in the subsequent sessions.

Prof Ghista is the epitome of what a Professor should be. He would finish his lectures and was ready to share his thoughts with everyone who wanted to challenge it. His knowledge on topics from social studies to engineering to medicine is amazing. He has written books on a vast range of topics. But in spite of this his love for teaching students and willing to accept a different idea can be clearly seen.

He would always encourage me to take up a career in research and to work towards a PhD. Start each day with the feeling that you need to discover something new is what he would tell me. I have the fondest memories of Prof Ghista.

Deepa Narayan



Ramprasad Papannagari(rpapannagari@yahoo.com; received Nov 21, 2002)

Dear Dr.Ghista,

Good day!

Let me introduce myself as you might have forgotten our class during the course of time. I am Ramprasad from 1994-1998 batch (Anil Thota's batch) of BME at Osmania University. I am in the second batch graduated after your arrival at OU. I've learnt biomechanics principles under you. Then moved to USA in pursuit of higher studies. I have recently completed my Masters in BME with specialization in Biomechanics from The University of Memphis, Memphis,TN.

Currently I am working as Research Associate at the Orthopedic Biomechanics Lab, MGH, Harvard Medical School. This position is giving me a good opportunity to learn more about knee kinematics. Currently we are working on UKA and PCL reconstruction techniques. The job also involves finite element modelling and imaging techniques. I forgot to mention that my Masters thesis involved finite element analysis of aorta tissue.

I am very grateful to you for the extensive teaching and I still refer to your notes. You are the inspiration for my career.

Thank you very much,