NUI Galway is to link up with two leading Chinese universities to further research and facilitate student and researcher exchanges between Galway and China.
The Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI ) based at the local university has signed collaborative agreements with both Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the Fourth Medical Military University Hospital in Xi’an as part of the recent Trade and Investment Mission to Shanghai and Beijing by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister Richard Bruton TD. Funded by Science Foundation Ireland, REMEDI is Ireland’s leading research institute in the area of regenerative medicine and stem cell research.
The agreement will see REMEDI work closely with both Chinese partners. At the signing were NUI Galway president, Dr James Browne and Professor Sanbing Shen, who recently moved to Galway and REMEDI as professor of stem cell biology.
Through Professor Shen and Professor Tim O’Brien, REMEDI Director, NUI Galway is developing formal partnerships with the Chinese universities in the areas of regenerative medicine and life sciences. The Fourth Medical Military University is considered to be one of the top three medical schools in China and has pioneered neurosurgery and transplant procedures in China.
One of the first joint projects will involve Professor Shen, who is developing cutting edge induced pluripotent stem cell (iPS ) technology at REMEDI. This involves generating “embryonic-like” stem cells from adult cells and has been hailed as one of the top scientific breakthroughs in the last number of years. REMEDI will also work with both Chinese institutes to develop joint clinical trial programmes in the area of regenerative medicine.
Professor Tim O’Brien, director of REMEDI at NUI Galway, says its commitment to clinical trials of treatment using adult stem cells will be greatly enhanced by these collaborations as both institutions have similar scientific and clinical interests as NUI Galway.
“This will provide for much more extensive patient involvement in clinical trials, as well as the sharing of expertise in the design of the trials and the analysis of the resulting data.”
Speaking at the signing of the Memoranda of Understanding in both Shanghai and Beijing, president of NUI Galway, Dr James Browne stated these partnerships will see NUI Galway and these two “significant” Chinese universities develop joint research programmes which will encourage the exchange of faculty, researchers, and graduate students with the objective of fostering academic cooperation and collaboration between both parties.
“NUI Galway has a range of excellent relationships with Chinese higher education institutions in areas from marine science to engineering to human rights. These new agreements in the area of regenerative medicine with our Chinese partners will bring new and positive developments to our activities in the biosciences.”
In addition to signing these agreements President Browne hosted a reception for Chinese-based alumni of NUI Galway. Almost 90 Galway graduates are based in China and the event attracted almost a third of these to a reception in central Beijing. Among those alumni and friends in attendance were Tsingua University academic, Professor Yu Ming and his wife Betty Liao and Mr Zhou Ji, former Minister of Education in China.
More than 17,000 students attend NUI Galway, a research-led university with internationally recognised expertise in areas including biomedical science and engineering, web science, human rights, marine science, energy and environmental science, applied social sciences and public policy, and humanities, in particular literature, theatre and Irish studies.