The unparalleled pace of advancement in genomic science during the last two decades was not complemented by the development of talent in the related fields, e.g., computational biology and bioinformatics. To sustain the growth and to facilitate the translation of genomic research outputs into products and services that benefit humankind, the training of professionals is of prime importance. CUHK has been making great strides in genomic research and BGI is one of the largest organizations in the world widely recognized for achievements in genomic research and development. Capitalizing on each other's research strengths in genomic science, CUHK and BGI establish the CUHK–BGI Innovation Institute of Trans-omics to focus on the training of individuals in the areas of genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, clinical genetics, clinical genomics, computational biology and bioinformatics, and facilitation of research in these areas to benefit the biotechnological and pharmaceutical industries.
Professor Sung said during the inauguration ceremony, 'The Innovation Institute will provide a platform for collaboration between scholars of CUHK and BGI to fully exploit the strengths in science and technology in the two institutions, advancing the application of genomic and proteomic research in clinical medicine. The Innovation Institute strives to become a world's leading research base and training ground in genomics to bring research development to new heights and benefit mankind.'
Professor Yang said, 'BGI and CUHK had co-operated on several important projects in the past 3 years, with significant achievements in the scientific research. The Innovation Institute will provide an excellent platform for the comprehensive training of trans-omics experts. With the rapid development of sequencing technology, multi-disciplinary talents are required to fully decode the miracle behind the genetic code from the enormous data output generated by sequencing.'
CUHK has been closely collaborating with BGI for years, including the establishment of CUHK–BGI Genome Research Centre in 2009 and the launch of research projects in cancer genome, soybean genome and diabetes. The 'Homecoming of Soybeans' project made major breakthroughs in soybean genomic research and the finding was published as the cover story in Nature Genetics, a leading journal in genetic research. CUHK and BGI have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Joint Supervision of Postgraduate Students to provide training to postgraduate students. The CUHK–BGI Innovation Institute of Trans-omics will not only develop basic and advanced education programmes (including Master and PhD programmes) in genomic and proteomic biology, computational biology and bioinformatics, but also enhance research collaboration and facilitate establishment of joint laboratories to meet the needs of expert training, academic research and biotechnology development. Its establishment will strengthen ties between CUHK and BGI towards long and sustainable collaboration to further explore new research areas and innovative projects.
CUHK has been expanding its presence in Shenzhen in areas of academic exchange, education and research with long-term strategies in place. The CUHK Shenzhen Research Institute (SZRI), scheduled for opening this year, will provide a pivotal base for research development, training and technology transfer. With the support of the Shenzhen Municipal Government, CUHK is planning to establish The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Shenzhen). The development of the CUHK–BGI Innovation Institute of Trans-omics will be closely linked with SZRI and the Shenzhen campus to foster the partnership in genomic science and biotechnology between Shenzhen and Hong Kong.