The 8th Annual Bilateral Symposium between the University System of Taiwan and UC San Diego on November 13-14, 2014

The 8th Annual Bilateral Symposium between the University System of Taiwan (UST) and UCSD was held in the Fung Auditorium of the Powell-Focht Bioengineering Hall on November 13 and 14, 2014. UST is composed of four Universities in Taiwan, including the National Chiao-Tung University (NCTU) and the National Yang Ming University (NYMU), which sent twenty faculty members to attend this Symposium. UST and UCSD have an Institute of Research-intensive Center of Excellence (I-RiCE) on Advanced Biomedical Engineering sponsored by Taiwan National Research Council (now Ministry of Science and Technology) since 2010. IEM was responsible for organizing this event in collaboration with NYMU and NCTU.

The Symposium began with warm opening remarks by UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla, and NYMU President Kung-Yee Liang, highlighting the excellent collaborations between UST and UCSD over the past 8 years and supporting the continuation and amplification of this very fruitful cooperation.  The Symposium had 32 presentations by colleagues from NCTU, NYMU and UCSD in six scientific sessions on Structure Biology & Computational Biophysics, Metabolic Regulation, Imaging in Cell Biology, Electrophysiology and Neural Science, Cancer Biology, Cancer Genomics. The last two sessions on cancer on November 14 were initiated and co-sponsored by UCSD Moores Cancer Center Director Dr. Scott Lippman. In each session, the presentations alternated between NCTU/NYU and UCSD on related topics, thus fostering interactions and collaborations on these areas of common interests between UST and UCSD.  The scientific presentations demonstrated the excellent progresses on various subjects over the past year and exciting opportunities for the future. The UST-UCSD alliance not only produced numerous publications, but also opened new frontiers for the exchanges of novel ideas and complimentary researches, which pave the way for long-term collaborations.

The symposium ended with the excellent Special I-RiCE lecture given by Dr. Michael Sheetz, Director of the Institute of Mechanobiology in Singapore and Keenan Professor of Biological Sciences at Columbia University. Dr. Sheetz presented how the dynamic regulation of cell tension by external microenvironments through focal adhesion sites controls signaling events that lead to the determination of cell fate (growth, death, and differentiation) of normal and cancer cells.

During the two-day symposium, the attendees also held small group discussions to review collaborative projects and develop new research directions. The dinners on the two days served to provide opportunities for wonderful social interactions and personal interactions to advance teamwork. The 8th UCSD-UST bilateral symposium served as a scientific proceeding with an enjoyable partnership and synergy to bridge scientific research in different fields across the Pacific.

We wish to express our appreciation to all the participating scientists and all the supporting staff teams from NYMU, NCTU, and UCSD. We appreciate the attendance and encouragement by Dr. Richard Chang, Director of Science and Technology Division of Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in Los Angeles/Houston, and Dr. Frank Chang, President-Designate of NCTU who will take office in August 2005, as well as physician-scientists of the Taipei City Hospital (TCH) System, which is the teaching hospital system for NYMU, led by Deputy Superintendent Dr. Oscar K.S. Lee. On November 14, Dr. Lee and Vice Chancellor and Dean David Brenner signed an MOU to extend the collaboration agreement between TCH and UCSD School of Medicine on collaborations on research and training.

On November 15, the annual Advisory Committee Meeting for I-RiCE was held in the Fung Auditorium. The internationally renowned advisors are Drs. Bin He of University of Minnesota, Rakesh Jain of Harvard Medical School, Wentai Liu of UCLA, Michael Sheetz, and Scott Zeger of Johns Hopkins University.  The I-RiCE research team made written and oral presentations of the annual progress. The Advisors gave thoughtful and cogent comments and advice. They praised the excellent progress made in the past year and gave valuable advice for the coming period.