The University signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Northwestern Polytechnical University (NPU) on 11 April in Xian and officially opened the “Joint Research Centre for Space Life Science in Musculoskeletal System” set up by the two universities to conduct research in space life science. A collaborative project under the Centre entitled “The effects of microgravity on the function of the cells in bone tissue” has recently been approved by the China Manned Space Engineering Office and is underway. The project will be conducted on “Tianzhou-1”, China’s first cargo ship in space scheduled to be launched in 2016.
The event was attended by Professor Rick Wong, Vice-President (Research and Development) of HKBU, Professor Lu Aiping, Dean of the School of Chinese Medicine (SCM), Dr Zhang Ge, Associate Director of Teaching Division of SCM, Professor Wang Jinsong, President of NPU, Professor Weng Zhiqian, Vice-President of NPU, and Professor Shang Peng, Dean of the School of Life Sciences of NPU. The event also saw the appointment of Dr Zhang Ge as guest professor of NPU, who was presented with an appointment letter by Professor Shang Peng.
In his speech, Professor Rick Wong said that a joint research project in space life science supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China and conducted by the Institute for Advancing Translational Medicine in Bone and Joint Diseases (TMBJ) of HKBU and the Key Laboratory for Space Bioscience and Biotechnology (Key Laboratory) of the School of Life Sciences of NPU has resulted in useful research findings. HKBU and NPU are also gratified that the collaborative project entitled “The effects of microgravity on the function of the cells in bone tissue” has recently been approved by the China Manned Space Engineering Office to be carried out in the “Tianzhou-1” programme. In order to better integrate the strengths of the two universities in completing this significant project as well as to pave the way for a closer and more in-depth cooperation in the future, the two universities decided to establish the “Joint Research Centre for Space Life Science in Musculoskeletal System”.
The project “The effects of microgravity on the function of the cells in bone tissue” is the only programme in the field of space life research approved by the China Manned Space Engineering Office and is among the first batch of space science experiments that have been endorsed for the space station stage of the manned space programme. The project was jointly designed by Professor Shang Peng and Professor Qian Airong, who are respectively the Director and Associate Director of the Key Laboratory, NPU, together with Professor Lu Aiping and Dr Zhang Ge, who currently serve as the Director and Deputy Director respectively of TMBJ. The Key Laboratory is among the first key laboratories approved by the Commission for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense of the PRC.
In addition, the School of Chinese Medicine of HKBU and the School of Life Science of NPU are working on the establishment of the Joint Institute for Applied Space Technology and Translational Health Science in Shenzhen to further promote the industrialisation of the research findings.
Professor Rick Wong (right) and Professor Wen Zhiqian sign the cooperation agreement on behalf of the two universities and officiate at the opening ceremony of the “Joint Research Centre for Space Life Science in Musculoskeletal System”
Delegations of the two universities sign the cooperation agreement to explore closer cooperation