HKUMed News (Vol 26 | Issue 2)

treatment for leukaemia that was also Hong Kong’s first patented prescription drug, technology that can establish expanded potential stem cell lineages from multiple animal species for development of new medicines and treatments, and of course, headline-making discoveries on infectious diseases. These achievements came on top of years of preparation and diligent work, illustrated most dramatically by our contributions to SARS and COVID-19. HKUMed’s work on infectious diseases began before the 1990s and started to accelerate during the 1997 H5N1 avian influenza outbreak in Hong Kong. When SARS arrived in 2003, they had the expertise and knowledge to quickly identify the virus, its source and treatment, discoveries that attracted Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to visit the Faculty in 2003. Since then, they have produced world-leading research on H1N1 swine flu, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, H7N9 avian flu and COVID-19 (see ‘Our “Firsts” on COVID-19’ on p. 16). Research successes have brought increased recognition and high-level collaborations. The HKU-Pasteur Research Pole was established in 2001 and two State Key Laboratories (SKL) in 2005, one for emerging infectious diseases and the other on brain and cognitive sciences. These were followed by an SKL on liver research in 2010 and an SKL on pharmaceutical biotechnology in 2013. HKUMed has also been a WHO Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Control since 2014. Accompanying that success, and in fact fuelling it, has been a realisation that research is not an endeavour of the individual. ‘The quantum jump in research growth was the realisation that nobody can know everything and nobody can do everything. In order to achieve in research, you have to collaborate,’ Professor Lee said. Over the past decade, resources have been amalgamated to strengthen basic research and interdisciplinarity, which are major drivers of research success. The pre-clinical sciences were united under the School of Biomedical Sciences in 2015 to foster greater synergy, while major equipment and other resources have been centralised to make them available to all, such as a tissue bank biorepository, bio-reagent facility, proteomic and metabolic mass spectrometer and a suite of cryoelectron microscopes. Looking ahead, the Faculty expects to produce impactful outcomes from its InnoHK projects, which involve collaboration across disciplines within the Faculty, across the University and with external partners including industry. Staff numbers are also being expanded through the recruitment of 140 new professoriate staff by 2027 to meet growing research and teaching demands, with a focus on recruiting promising young scholars and world-class researchers. ‘We clearly have a strong pool of research talent already and we are having good success in attracting distinguished scholars to join us from overseas. This will only make us better,’ Professor Leung said. Received from the government to lead 6 InnoHK centres 政府撥款支持醫學院 領導6個InnoHK 中心 new professoriate staff by 2027 2027年新增教授席數目 Research centres and SKLs established in 研究所及國家重點 實驗室相繼成立: 140 $2.2 B I L L I ON The HKU-Pasteur Research Pole 香巴 港斯德大學研究─ 所 SKL for Brain and Cognitive Sciences 腦與認知科學國家重點 實驗室 SKL for Emerging Infectious Diseases 新發傳染性疾病國家 重點實驗室 SKL Pharmaceutical Biotechnology 生物醫藥技術國家重點 實驗室 SKL for Liver Research 肝病研究國家重點 實驗室 2001 2005 2010 2013 ‘The quantum jump in research growth was the realisation that nobody can know everything and nobody can do everything. In order to achieve in research, you have to collaborate.’ Professor Lee Sum-ping 11 HKUMed News Winter 2021