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Saturday, October 8, 2016, 11:17

Top Swedish institute opens medical research facility in HK

By Dara Wang in Hong Kong

Top Swedish institute opens medical research facility in HK
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying looks through a microscope while touring the Ming Wai Lau Centre for Reparative Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, at the Hong Kong Science Park on Friday. (P rovided to China D aily)

Hong Kong got an important boost in its future-oriented scientific research when the world-renowned Karolinska Institutet (KI) of Sweden opened its first medical research hub here on Friday.

Called the Ming Wai Lau Centre for Reparative Medicine, the new research facility will focus on regenerative medicine. This field holds the promise of stimulating the body’s own repair mechanisms to heal previously irreparable tissues or organs.

Under KI’s leadership, the center will consist of two parts. One is in Stockholm and the other is in the Hong Kong Science Park.

The Stockholm-based Karolinska Institutet is one of the world’s largest and most prestigious universities for medicine and pharmacy.

Branching out to Hong Kong, said Karin Dahlman-Wright, KI’s acting vice-chancellor, “is a natural step for KI.”

This is partly because of the SAR’s position as a global hub for research, innovation and knowledge exchange, she said.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying also spoke at the launch ceremony. He said the establishment of the KI research center showed how far medical science had progressed in Hong Kong.

Top Swedish institute opens medical research facility in HK
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying (center, front row) said on Friday that Ming Wai Lau Centre for Reparative Medicine will further foster collaboration in scientific medicine between China and Europe. (Provided to China Daily)

It also showed how the SAR could use the “One Country, Two Systems” principle to encourage research collaboration between China and other countries, Leung said.

Ronald Li Tang-wai, chief scientific officer of the KI center, said the center’s research will include stem cell-based regeneration of the heart, liver and nervous systems, especially in areas of aging-associated diseases.

Other research projects will range from biomedical engineering, gene-editing to RNA technology, Li said.

The center now has employed five scientists as the leaders of five research teams and will recruit around 50 researchers in 12 to 18 months in the first phase, he said.

Li will lead a research team at the center. He said the center will welcome cross-disciplinary collaborations with all universities in Hong Kong. He also expects to apply the research findings to practical situations in the near future.

dara@chinadailyhk.com

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