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Moving forward together: Shaping the future of MWLC

Ming Wai Lau Centre for Reparative Medicine and Consulate General of Sweden in Hong Kong co-organised the reception “Moving forward together: Shaping the future of Ming Wai Lau Centre for Reparative Medicine” on 20 November 2018 in the inspiring venue of Harbour Viewing Gallery at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum.

During the reception, guests from academia, industry and governmental bodies learned more about MWLC, where we are and where we are heading. Before and after the speeches the attendees had the opportunity to mingle and hopefully discuss potential collaborations.

Mrs. Marie Tell, Administrative Director of MWLC greeted the guests and introduced the first speaker of the event, Mr. Joakim Ladeborn, Deputy Consul General of Sweden to Hong Kong and Macau. He expressed his and the consulate’s excitement of receiving Karolinska Institutet as the first Swedish university to establish a research centre in Hong Kong.

Prof. Sandra Ceccatelli, Director of MWLC since 1 September, shared her visions and plans for Karolinska Institutet’s Ming Wai Lau Centre for Reparative Medicine.

The establishment of MWLC is a continuation of the Karolinska Institutet’s strong tradition of collaborationand international interactions to bring together scientists with different background and expertise to work in this complex field. With its two nodes, one in Hong Kong and one in Stockholm, MWLC offers a unique, collaborative environment for research in one of the most rapidly evolving fields with relevant translational implications. The research activities at MWLC focus on tissue repair, with special emphasis on the nervous system, heart and skin. A key component of MWLC’s research is related to the development of frontline technologies.

The recent establishment of a Scientific Advisory Board and a Local Reference Group willprovide expert non-binding advice with regard to quality assessment, career development and recruitments. The Local Reference Group will also help MWLC connect better with the Hong Kong and Mainland Chinese scientific community, and the Hong Kong society as a whole.

One major objective for the coming year is to continue the efforts of building strong relationships with thelocal universities in Hong Kong. MWLC foresee successful joint research projects and grant applications, the creation of joint appointments at associate and assistant professor level as well as joint PhD programs.

After giving a brief introduction of what reparative/regenerative medicine is, Prof. Ronald Li, Director of the Hong Kong node, talked about the work of MWLC in the past year and a half as well as the ongoing collaborations between the Faculty at MWLC and several of the universities in Hong Kong as well as internationally with universities in the US, Canada and Australia.

In his speech, the Honorable Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, Chief Secretary for Administration, described the establishment of MWLC as an important milestone for the collaboration between Hong Kong and Sweden in the field of medical sciences.

As the Karolinska Institutet's first overseas branch, the Centre has brought Hong Kong's potential in biotechnology research and development to the international stage.

He also remarked that Hong Kong is well positioned to develop into a regional hub of medical research and enjoys a number of advantages that are significant to the successful building of first-class medical research infrastructure. He further stressed that HKSAR Government will continue to enhance and expand the innovation and technology infrastructure, foster partnerships with world-class academic institutions and renowned enterprises.

The final speaker Dr. Christian Göritz, Lau Fellow Coordinator at MWLC in Stockholm, introduced the research by the six Lau Fellows at the Stockholm node. Their research topics include how information is processed in the brain, how to direct reprogramming and differentiation into specific cell types as well as finding treatments for blindness, chronic wounds, spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis.