Newsletter No. 150

HK$18 MILLION f o r s i x r e s e a r ch p r o j e c t s Sixresearch projects launched by staff of the University have recently attracted grants totalling $18.4 million from the Industrial Support Fund. They are Development of Plasma DNA-based Diagnostic Technology (HK$3,617,000) Principal investigator: Prof. Dennis Lo, Department of Chemical Pathology OCF - Open Component Foundation (HK$3,715,000) Principal investigator: Prof. Wong Kam Fai, Department of Systems Engineering and Engineering Management Chinese Speech Recognition Infrastructure for Hong Kong's Technology (HK$2,230,000) Principal investigator: Prof. Ching Pak Chung, Department of Electronic Engineering A Smart Wireless Telemetry Systems for Remote Metering Application (HK$ 1,170,000) Principal investigator: Prof. Chan Kam Tai, Department of Electroninc Engineering Development of Two Potent Novel Antiviral Drugs from Traditional Chinese Medicines (HK$3,280,000) Principal investigator: Prof. Vincent Ooi, Department of Biology Smart Antenna Technologies for Wireless Communication Systems (HK$4,418,000) Principal investigator: Prof. Albert Lai, Department of Electronic Engineering TD U Orientation for New Teachers an d T each i ng Assist an ts Thirty-five new teaching staff and six guests from various departments and units attended a one and a half day orientation programme organized by the Teaching Development Unit (TDU) on 27th and 28th August. Starting off with welcoming speeches by Prof. C.B. Hazlett, new head of TDU, and Prof. Kenneth Young, pro-vice-chancellor, the programme featured an experience sharing session, during which staff representing the spectrum of faculties spoke to the newcomers on teaching. This was followed by a question and answer session, and group discussions led by experienced faculty members on teaching methods. Visits to the Computer Services Centre and the University Library were arranged for the participants, where they were briefed on the University's service centres, personnel functions, and occupational safety policy. A separate orientation for 79 new teaching assistants and postgraduate students was also organized on 1st September to prepare them for their new duties. Orientation for new teaching assistants Top Chemist Lectures on Drug DiscoveryfromChinese Medicine Leading expert in traditional Chinese medicine, Prof. Lee Kuo Hsiung gave a Sir Edward Youde Memorial Fund Public Lecture entitled 'Structural Modification of Active Principles from Chinese Medicine' on 25th August in the Cho Yiu Conference Hall. In his lecture, Prof. Lee explained how Chinese medicine provided a broad and profound base for the discovery of new drugs. He shared his experience in applying design-based modification to improve active compounds from Chinese medicine and to generate synthetic analogues with increased drug activity and decreased toxicity. Prof. Lee is currently Kenan Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the US. He is also director of the Natural Products Laboratory and chair of the Medicinal Chemistry and Natural Products Division of the University of North Carolina, as well as an academician of Academia Sinica. East Meets West to Discuss Obesity-related Disorders Being too fat is not just a cosmetic issue. Obesity is a major factor predisposing one to diabetes, high blood pressure, and high blood cholesterol levels— a cluster of diseases called the 'metabolic syndrome'. In Hong Kong these disorders are rapidly increasing in prevalence with approximately eight per cent of the adult population being diabetic. Research indicates that the overweight criteria for Westerners are too lax for the Chinese. The risk of metabolic syndrome diseases is more than twice as likely in Chinese subjects with the same excessive body fat levels as in Westerners. The Department of Medicine and Therapeutics brought together local and international experts to discuss related issues at the First Hong Kong Diabetes and Cardiovascular Risk Factors: East Meets West Symposium held on 21st August at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The seriousness of the growing epidemic of diabetes and cardiovascular risk factor-related diseases in Hong Kong and similar affluent Asian communities was highlighted and the key role of obesity emphasized. In keeping with the East meets West theme, the latest high-tech advances in molecular biology were debated side by side the benefits of traditional Chinese therapies. Over 500 delegates attended despite Typhoon Sam. Mainland , HK, and Taiwa n Student s Mee t fo rCultura l Exchang e * Forty-eight students from five 'jiaotong' universities in Taiwan and mainland China visited Chung Chi College from 23rd August to 1st September as part of the student visitor programme between the college and the universities. The five universities were respectively North Jiaotong University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Southwest Jiaotong University, X i ' an Jiaotong University, and Hsinchu Chiao Tung University from Taiwan. Their delegates discussed with Chung Chi students the development of information technology and its effect on Chinese communities, economies, and cultures. During the 10-day visit, the students studied the applications and influence of information technology on education, finance, business, transport, communication, and daily living in their home cities 一 Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Chengdu, and Hsinchu, and presented their findings at a seminar. Vice-Chancellor Prof. Arthur Li (right 6), head of Chung Chi College Prof. Ran c e Lee (right 4), and chairman of the Chung Chi Board of Trustees Mr. George Hung (right 5), with guests and student delegates from ' j i a o t o n g ' universities at the welcoming reception * Nine Chung Chi students visited Peking University from 19th to 26th August to reciprocate the visit paid by mainland students to Chung Chi at the end of last year. These activities were organized under the Beijing/Hong Kong cultural exchange programme. A forum entitled 'Beijing Hong Kong Cultural Exchange at the Turn of the Century' was arranged for the students. There were also visits to famous scenic spots such as the Great Wall and Yihe- Yuan.