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regenerative medicine expertise cultivated through sino-irish cooperation

source: science and technology daily | 2022-12-22 08:59:55 | author: staff reporters

professor timothy o'brien. (courtesy photo)

by staff reporters

professor timothy o'brien, a world-renowned irish expert in the field of regenerative medicine and collaborator ofhebei medical university (hebmu), was awarded the chinese government friendship award in 2022. o'brien said he appreciates the honor and would continue to work with chinese people to build a bright future together.

since the beginning of the exchange between hebmu and national university of ireland galway (nuig) in 2016, o'brien has actively facilitated frequent visits and exchanges between senior leaders of both universities to build a platform for potential cooperation. over the past six years he has been dedicated to this aim, while also training personnel and enhancing academic research in the field of stem cell regenerative medicine through in-depth cooperation with hebmu.

establishing a provincial stem cell research center

o'brien, formly was dean of nuig's college of medicine, nursing and health sciences, and is the foreign director of hebmu-nuig stem cell research center. he has played a pivotal role in preparing, constructing and developing the center, as well as teaching and research cooperation between the two sides for the past few years.

many difficulties arose in the early stage of the operation work. o'brien actively integrated various resources and led the research team to overtake challenges. with the support of the chinese and irish embassies and hebei provincial government, the hebmu-nuig stem cell research center was finally established in november, 2017. at present, the center has developed into the largest public, international joint stem cell research institution in hebei, leading the way for high-level cellular medicine research and development.

another challenge that o'brien faced was how to grow the research center. "i found that there was a great demand for regenerative medicine knowledge among researchers at hebmu, and everyone was eager to learn about the latest, cutting-edge findings,” he said. so from november 2017 to october 2018, he organized a series of academic meetings, bringing the latest discoveries of international regenerative medicine to the teachers, students, researchers and clinicians.

taking advantage of increasingly expanding international science and technology cooperation, the stem cell center has been approved as the hebei province stem cell medical transformation engineering research center and hebei province medical and health international cooperation research base. the center has published 28 academic papers, applied for seven patents, and received several provincial science and technology progress awards, actively taking the research level of regenerative medicine in hebei to a new level.

international cooperation to cultivate regenerative medicine experts

o'brien has always been devoted to promoting cooperation between china and foreign countries. he has been appointed as the academic master's supervisor and doctoral supervisor at hebmu, and through the "integrated training model of undergraduate-master-doctor,” six doctoral students have completed their studies.

from 2020 to 2021, o'brien led a team to consider an application for the "hebei medical university - national university of ireland galway master's program in basic medicine (regenerative medicine)," which was approved by china's ministry of education, and 12 students went to ireland in 2022 under the program. in may 2021, a memorandum of understanding to apply for the establishment of a sino-foreign cooperative institution was signed between the two universities, which is sure to bring real benefits to prospective undergraduates in both universities in the long term.

since 2020, o'brien has been unable to travel to china due to the pandemic, but he still conducts weekly online academic seminars to help the research team expand their international vision, grasp the frontier of scientific research in this field, and cultivate excellent expertise in regenerative medicine and clinical translational research in regenerative medicine.

this article is contributed by hebei medical university.

editor: 毕炜梓

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