Newsletter No. 252

CUHK Wins Large Grants for Two School Development Projects T he Chinese University of Hong Kong was awarded a grant of HK$74 mi l l i on by the Education and Manpower Bureau of the Hong Kong SAR Government for implementing two school development projects 一 Partnership for Improvement of Learning and Teaching (PILT) and Quality School Improvement (QSI) — from 2004 to 2009. It was the largest grant ever awarded to a tertiary institution in Hong Kong for school development purposes. The two projects w i l l provide school-based support to a broad spectrum of local schools. The award illustrates CUHK's leading role in local school development. Its success is reflected by the implementation of a series of related projects that began with the Accelerated Schools for Quality Education Project (HK$62 million awarded) six years ago. The PILT project aims at improving the quality o f learning and teaching at j un i or secondary schools. It provides professional support for the development of different key learning areas and subjects, namely, Personal, Social and Humanity Education, Science, Mathematics, Physical Education, the proposed Liberal Studies, and Integrated Humanities. The project w i l l also empower teachers to face the challenges brought about by curriculum reform and the changes of the secondary school system. Led by Prof. John Lee Chi-kin, with Prof. Billy So Kee-long, Prof. Jimmy Yu Chai-mei, Mr. Hon Hau-sut, and Mr. Chan Kai-yeen on the advisory committee, the project aspires to provide professional support with high relevance to teachers and local schools. Ms. Louisa Cheung Yuet-sai, the project manager, will coordinate a team of 20 professors and instructors from the Faculty of Education, external frontline experts, and school development officers of the Centre of University and School Partnership to administer the project. The QSI project is a comprehensive school improvement project aiming to facilitate school development and promote quality school culture in Hong Kong. The ultimate goal of the project is to achieve all-round development in every student. Under the leadership of Prof. Leslie N. K. Lo (project director), Prof. Wong Hin-wah (head of research and development), Dr. Chiu Chi-shing (executive director) and Prof. Chung Yue-ping (head of management committee), the project team w i l l enhance the professional capacities of teachers and principals in areas such as teaching and learning, prioritization of school aims, and development of a continuous self-inquiry process. It is hoped that participants of the project w i l l acquire solid professional knowledge and develop a strong awareness of the responsibility for continuous improvement. The project w i l l span five years on a funding of $46 million. Academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences Joins CUHK P r o f . K u n g H s i a n g - fu has been appointed professor of virology at the Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases of the School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, from 4th December 2004. Prof. Kung is the ninth member of the Chinese A c a d emy o f Sciences to be in the University's service. The others are Prof. C.N. Yang and Prof. Yau Shing-tung, distinguished professors-at-large, Prof. Charles K. Kao, honorary professor of engineering, Prof. Joseph Lau, professor of surgery, Prof. Wu Chi and Prof. Henry N.C. Wong, professors of chemistry, Prof. Thomas Mak, Wei Lun honorary professor of the Department of Chemistry, and Prof. Shen Xubang, senior research fellow of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Prof. Kung received his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in the US in 1969. Prior to joining CUHK, he was chief of the Biochemical Physiology Laboratory of the National Institutes of Health, US, from 1986 to 1999, and director and chair professor of the Institute of Molecular Biology at the University of Hong Kong from 1999 to 2004. Prof. Kung was elected to membership of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 1999. His research work has led to the publication of 268 papers in peer reviewed journals. He has plans to conduct collaborative research with major research centres in the US and mainland China on topics including AIDS, and liver, stomach, and nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Neuroradiology Specialist Discusses Role of Magnetic Resonance in Dementia P rof. Jaap Valk, professor of radiology and neuroradiology of Free University Hospital, Amsterdam, delivered a lecture at CUHK as Wei Lun Visiting Professor to the University. The lecture entitled 'Magnetic Resonance in Dementia' took place on 10th December in the Postgraduate Education Centre of the Prince of Wales Hospital. I n his lecture, Prof. Valk analysed and illustrated the possibilities and limitations of magnetic resonance (MR) techniques. In a growing number of neurological disorders, MR techniques play a leading role in diagnosis, prognosis, disease management, estimation o f natural course, monitoring of therapeutic efficiency in clinical trials, and the assessment of some important aspects of brain physiology and function. In dementia, however, the role of MR is less well established and in many centres, x - r ay c ompu t e r i z ed tomography is still considered a possible diagnostic technique in dementing illnesses. Prof. Valk concluded by saying that the f i nal answers concerning therapeutic entries in dementing illnesses w i ll not come from MR or other imaging modalities but w i l l eventually be provided by geneticists and molecular biologists. But MR w i ll be of great help in selecting patients, in making, confirming, or rejecting a diagnosis, in assessing brain damage, in monitoring therapeutic trials, and to rule out possibly treatable other diseases. Prof. Va lk was awarded the We r t he im Salomons gold medal, the highest honour of the Dutch Society of Radiology, the Cornelia de Lange Award of the Dutch Society of Child Neurology, and the Gold Medal of the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) for his innovative wo rk in MR of white matter disorders. He was appointed Fellow of I SMRM in 2002. HK's First Artificial Cervical Disc System Implantation T he Division of Neurosurgery of the Department of Surgery has successfully performed the territory's first implantation of artificial cervical disc system on a 33-year-old patient to relieve nerve r o o t and s p i n al c o rd compression caused by a d a m a g ed d i s c . T he artificial disc allows for mo t i on and t he r e f o re reduces neighbouring disc degeneration wh i ch the traditional procedure does not. Recove ry is also speedy. Cervical disc damage is usually associated with degenerative changes. Discs lose their water c o n t e n t a nd s h o c k absorption properties because of age. When a disc ruptures in the cervical spine, it puts pressure on the nerve roots and the spinal cord, causing pain and other symptoms in the neck and arms and urine incontinence. About 30 to 40 per cent of Hong Kong people aged 40 or above have cervical spondylosis and the percentage increases with age. In severe cases, surgery is needed. In the traditional procedure to alleviate neck and arm pain, bone graft is placed between adjacent vertebral bodies which heels over several months until fusion occurs. However, since six columns of cervical spine, instead of seven, are left, physical stress to each column increases, which may accelerate disc degeneration elsewhere in the neck. Prof. -Poon Wai-sang (right) announcing the achievement of the new technique at a press conference on 16th December 2004 1 No. 252 4th January 2005