Newsletter No. 76

P r o f . Liu Pak-wai, professor of economics, has been appointed pro-vice- chancellor of the University by the University Council for two years from 1st October 1995. Prof. Liu graduated from Princeton University in 1971 and obtained his Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University in 1977. He joined the University as lecturer in economics in 1976, and was promoted to professor rank in 1994. Apart from teaching and research, Prof. Liu has held numerous administrative posts in the University and has been closely involved in the formulation of major academic and administrative policies. He was United College dean of students in 1978-79, university registrar from 1982 to 1986, chairman of the Senate Committee on Undergraduate Admissions, and convener of the Working Group on New Funding Methodology. He has also been chairman of the Economics Department since 1991. As pro-vice-chancellor, Prof. Liu will share major administrative duties with the two existing pro-vice-chancellors, Prof. Ambrose King and Prof. Kenneth Young. He has been assigned responsibilities relating to the bursary function, the buildings office, library services, health service, and other central administrative functions. A chart in the 'Announcement' section of this Newsletter delineates the new administrative structure of the University and shows the portfolios of the three pro-vice-chancellors. Outside of the University, Prof. Liu now serves as research director of the Hong Kong Centre for Economic Research, managing editor of the Asian Economic Journal published by the East Asian Economic Association, and member of the Flat Supply Sub-committee of the Land and Building Advisory Committee. He is also the founding member of the Hong Kong Committee of Pacific Economic Co-operation, and once served on the Central Policy Unit of the Hong Kong government. Orientation Day for Sixth-formers Interested students of local secondary schools, their parents, and teachers visited the University on the Orientation Day for Sixth- formers held on 30th September. The University's teaching and research facilities were opened to the visitors. There were also video shows, exhibitions, talks, counselling sessions, and printed materials to introduce the full range of undergraduate programmes on offer. Visitors in the newly-established computational physics laboratory Li and Fung Lecture on the Asian Challenge P r o f . Harry Harding, dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University and a specialist on Asian affairs, delivered a Li and Fung lecture on commerce and industry entitled 'TheAsian Challenge' on 25th September at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. The function was organized by the MBA Programmes and attended by some 300 guests. According to Prof. Harding, the rise of Asia in international affairs in the last quarter of the twentieth century poses four sets of challenges to the United States: economic, strategic, ideological, and psychological. He contends that such challenges require readjustments of thought and behaviour on the part of the United States who should react in amore positive, progressive and creative manner. He concludes with the seemingly paradoxical assertion that the challenge of Asia also affects Asia itself. Asia too needs to readjust its thoughts and behaviour to keep pace with its dynamic economic growth; otherwise it could become a victim of its own success. Prof. Harding received his MA and Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University. Two of his most famous publications are Organizing China: the Problem of Bureaucracy, 1949-1976, and A Fragile Relationship: the United States and China since 1972. The Li and Fung Lecture Programme was established in 1981 and has been financed by an endowment fund donated by the L i and Fung Group of Companies. New Treatment Methods for Intractable Seizure and Leukaemia T h e Faculty of Medicine recently announced the successfulapplication of new methods to treat intractable seizure and leukaemia. Patients suffering from intractable epilepsy in Hong Kong are now offered another therapeutic option in the form of vagus nerve stimulation. A device called the vagal nerve stimulator (VNS) consisting of a small generator with three electrodes is wrapped around the vagus nerve in the patient's neck. Every five minutes a current is released to stimulate the vagus nerve. It is believed that the anti-epileptic effect of VNS, mediated through the brainstem, will slowly build up in the brain over a few months. The Prince of Wales Hospital is the first neurosurgical centre in Southeast Asia to use the VNS. The device was recently implanted in three of its epileptic patients. All of them showed encouraging signs of improvement after the implantation. For the first time in Southeast Asia, an allogeneic blood stem cell transplant was also successfully carried out April 1995 at the Lady Pao Children's Cancer Centre. Since then three leukaemic children have been treated with this method. So far none of them has shown any sign of recurrence. Allogeneic blood stem cell transplant is the transplantation of the most primitive blood-producing cells, or blood stem cells, from a donor into a patient. Stem cells are normally found in the bone marrow, and only a few of them are present in the peripheral blood. Compared with bone marrow transplant, the collection of blood stem cells is simpler and less painful, requiring neither general anaesthesia nor hospitalization for the donor. The recipient also recovers faster and with fewer complications. To celebrate its 15th anniversary, the Faculty of Medicine has produced jointly with RTHK a ten-programme docu-drama series entitled 'Tide of Life'. The series, launched on 1st October, is based on real cases at the Prince of Wales Hospital, including the two new treatment methods just described.