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HKU Holds Dedication Ceremony for Dr. Li Dak-Sum Research Centre

(From left) HKU Council Chairman Dr. Leong Che-hung, Chief Executive Mr. Leung Chun-ying, Dr. Li Dak-Sum and HKU President Professor Peter Mathieson officiate at the plaque unveiling ceremony of the Dr. Li Dak-Sum Research Centre on regenerative medicine.

A plaque unveiling ceremony was held on January 10 (Saturday) for the Dr. Li Dak-Sum Research Centre on regenerative medicine.

The Centre was established by the University of Hong Kong and the Karolinska Institutet, a world-renowned medical university in Sweden. It was made possible by a $100,000,000 donation from Dr. Li Dak-Sum. The ceremony was hosted by HKU President & Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Mathieson who thanked Dr. Li for his generous support of the University. Participants included the Guest of Honour Chief Executive Mr. Leung Chun-ying, Dr. Li and his family and friends, and University colleagues.

In his welcoming address, Professor Peter Mathieson thanked Dr. Li for his generosity, his vision and his staunch support of the research programme that will come under this collaboration. Professor Mathieson also expressed his great appreciation for the support of the HKSAR Government. He said: "I am very excited that the University of Hong Kong can play a signification part of the partnership between Hong Kong and the Karolinska Institutet. Dr. Li's support is the kick-start of this collaboration and I am very confident that this collaboration will be good for the advancement of medical research and will benefit the population worldwide."

The Chief Executive Mr. Leung Chun-ying also expressed his appreciation towards Dr. Li's support for the establishment of the Research Centre at HKU. He said: "The Karolinska Institutet has played an important role globally in the area of the medical research and education. I am so pleased to be at this ceremony and witness the collaboration between HKU and the Karolinska Institute. I am sure that this research centre will open up new horizons in the field of regenerative medicine." Mr. Leung added: "I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Li for his contributions to the country and Hong Kong. The HKSAR Government has put great emphasis on education. Yet, without the generous support of donors like Dr. Li, our tertiary education would not have developed in such an extensive scale, our research and development would not have reached the heights and attained the achievements we have today."

Dr. Li Dak Sum said in his remarks:"I am pleased to be involved in this research project on stem cell and regenerative medicine at the University of Hong Kong and am honoured to contribute a small effort to kick-start this new area of research for Hong Kong and the Mainland."

Stem cell biology and regenerative medicine represent the most exciting development in modern biomedicine and offer unprecedented opportunity in the areas of cell replacement for the treatment of many currently incurable diseases such as heart attacks and Alzheimer’s disease, providing novel tools for drug discoveries and testing, and understanding disease mechanisms.

The Chinese Government has identified in its 12th five-year plan biotech research, with specific focus on stem cell and regenerative medicine, as one of the seven key "Strategic Emerging Industries" (SEIs) for development. In Hong Kong, HKU has identified Stem Cell as an Emerging Strategic Research Theme since 2008, whereas the University Grants Committee's Research Grants Council of Hong Kong has adopted ‘Stem Cell' research as a topic of the Theme-based Research Scheme (TRS) since 2010.

The Karolinska Institute (KI), founded in 1810, is one of most renowned medical universities in the world. Since 1895, KI has been responsible for selecting the laureates of the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine. This is also the first time KI has established a physical presence outside of Sweden. Its unique partnership with HKU will help assure Hong Kong's role as the regional stem cell hub in China and Asia, boosting the biotech industries in knowledge-based economic activities.

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