October 3, 2019

JI welcomes 12 new projects for 2019

A record 12 new research projects between UMMS faculty and collaborators in China have been funded through the Joint Institute (JI) partnership between Michigan Medicine and Peking University Health Science Center, in Beijing.

The dozen grants awarded for 2019 – the largest group of new projects since the JI’s inception – come from numerous departments and disciplines, including hepatology, and cancer as well as areas new to the JI like dentistry, pharmacy, and ophthalmology.

“We have been intentional about expanding the scope the JI to incorporate more disciplines where both institutions bring complementary expertise,” said Global REACH Director of Asia Programs Amy Huang. “That includes an increasing number of projects in precision medicine and big data, as well as research from other health sciences.”

Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences David Zacks met his PKUHSC counterpart, Dr. Liu Yang, when she toured Kellogg Eye Center last year as part of the 2018 JI Symposium. Their new joint research project, which explores the molecular mechanisms underlying photoreceptor cell death during disease, is the JI’s first study in ophthalmology.

“We realized that we could leverage the strengths of our two labs to gain more insights into mechanisms of cell death, the goal being to ultimately develop therapies to keep the cells alive and improve visual outcomes,” said Zacks, who is headed to Beijing at the end of the month for the 2019 Symposium. “Our work will benefit both institutions tremendously by allowing for the sharing of information and gaining of knowledge.  We look forward to initiating and strengthening this collaboration, and are optimistic that together we can help find new therapies for patients.”

See the full list of 2019 projects and awardees here.