New agreement to bring Bioinformatics students from China

A new program promises to bring top science and engineering students from China to earn an advanced degree at the University of Michigan Medical School.

Associate Chair of Computational Medicine & Bioinformatics Margit Burmeister poses for a picture with Yangsheng Xu, President of CUHK(SZ) , UMMS' newest institutional partner in China.

The partnership was finalized this spring between the UMMS School of Bioinformatics and the School of Science and Engineering at Chinese University Hong Kong, Shenzhen – CUHK(SZ). Under the unique new “3.5+1.5 BS-MS” program, CUHK(SZ) students would spend 3.5 years on their home campus earing an accelerated bachelor of science, followed by 1.5 years as a visiting scholar in the UMMS Bioinformatics master’s program.

Up to five students could participate each year, with the inaugural cohort of students expected to arrive in Ann Arbor early in 2019 after finishing their undergraduate degree a semester ahead of schedule.

“One of the things we found compelling about this structure is that we anticipate getting the best students, because only the really dedicated students will be able to do finish their undergraduate degree early,” said UMMS Associate Chair and Professor of Computational Medicine & Bioinformatics Margit Burmeister, PhD, who helped finalize the agreement during a visit to China in March.

A young university, CUHK(SZ) was founded in 2012 and welcomed its first students in 2014. The school has since been growing rapidly and prioritized institutional partnerships abroad. According to the CUHK(SZ) website, the university has student exchange and cooperative agreements with more than 40 universities around the world, and more than half of CUHK(SZ) students embark on some kind study abroad experience.

Science and Engineering is the university’s largest undergraduate program. All of courses are taught in English – an anomaly in China – and many faculty have dual appointments in institutions beyond China.

“I was very impressed with the caliber of students. It’s an up and coming, high-quality university and I believe their students will thrive in our program,” said Dr. Burmeister. “Ultimately, we hope there will be more collaboration around research in the future, not just teaching collaborations.”