Leaders from Taiwan’s premier research center visit Michigan Medicine

Members of Taiwan’s leading academic institution visited Michigan Medicine last month to discuss potential collaborations between the two organizations.

UMMS leaders with visitors from Academia Sinica during the recent Symposium.

A delegation of nine scientists from Academia Sinica traveled to Ann Arbor  for a three-day symposium in September to meet with UMMS leaders and faculty in Surgery, Pulmonary Medicine, Microbiology, and more. Representatives of Michigan Medicine have twice visited the Academia Sinica campus, in Taipei, but this marked the first time faculty from Taiwan’s preeminent research institution had come to Ann Arbor.

“Although we have individual researchers with ongoing collaborations with Academia Sinica, it’s been exciting to broaden the relationship between both organizations,” said Michigan Medicine Professor of Surgery Kevin Chung, MD, the meeting’s primary organizer. “Each institution has similar interests and complementary strengths. There is much more we could do together.”

The bulk of the discussions during the Sept. 14-16 event focused on a few key topics such as microbiome, precision medicine, and storing, organizing and leveraging big data. The visiting researchers enjoyed extensive tours of some of Michigan Medicine research facilities, including the Biorepository at North Campus. Michigan Medicine CEO and Medical School Dean Marschall Runge, MD, PhD, welcomed the group, Senior Associate Dean for Research Steven Kunkel, PhD, provided an overview of Michigan Medicine’s research enterprise, and several faculty presented on ongoing individual projects.

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Michigan Medicine has partnerships with multiple institutions in Taiwan. Leaders from the country’s largest hospital system, Chang Gung Memorial, are set to visit U-M for a Symposium Oct. 26-27.

“Two areas that I know all of us would be interested in mutual collaborations: the first is exploring large clinical databases and how to use those best, and the second is around potential collaborations in precision health,” Runge told the Academia Sinica visitors near the conference’s conclusion. “I’m very enthused about potential collaborations. You have a very deep array of expertise.”

The visitors included experts in statistics, genomics, biomedical sciences, and healthcare law and policy. Leading the delegation was one of Academia Sinica’s top administrators (and a leading expert on inflammation), Vice President Fu-Tong Liu, MD, MPH.

“We are impressed – the visit confirmed our understanding that Michigan Medicine is a top-notch organization,” said Liu. “We identified a strong initial group to visit and begin to define future collaborations, but I think in the future there will be room to involve more people.”

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