Newsletter No. 271

New CUHK-HKIEd Programme Grounds Teachers in English A joint degree programme in English Studies and Education has been launched by the Chinese University and the Hong Kong Institute of Education. The programme is the first collaborative project announced by the two institutions since the heads of both signed an Agreement on Deep Collaboration in teacher education in July 2005. Announcing the details of the BA (honours) in English Studies and Education at a press conference on 13th December, Mr. Lee Shu-wing, director of registry services at CUHK, said the programme is an excellent example of how the strengths of the two institutions can be combined to enhance the quality of teacher education. The curriculum is well-integrated and customized to train professional and caring teachers with a solid foundation in English language and literature, as well as strong pedagogical knowledge and skills. Graduates of the programme are eligible for registration as qualified English teachers in primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong. Students of the four-year programme will spend two years at each institution and will have a wide choices of courses from which to choose. They will also spend one semester in an English-speaking country and perform teaching practice in local schools in the last two years of their studies. (From left) Prof. Peter Skehan, head of graduate division and postgraduate linguistics coordinator, Department of English, CUHK; Dr. Wendy Lam of the Department of English, HKIEd; Dr. So Kwok- sang, registrar, HKIEd; Mr. Lee Shu-wing, director of registry services, CUHK; Dr. Philip Hoare, head of the Department of English, HKIEd; and Prof. Cecilia Chun of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, CUHK Talk by Eminent Biologist Marks Return of SHKP Nobel Laureates Lectures D r. Richard J. Roberts, 1993 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine 1993, delivered a Sun Hung Kai Properties Nobel Laureates Distinguished Lecture on 'Friends and Foes —the Unseen Bugs Who Share Our Planet' on 9th December 2005 at the lecture theatre of Shaw College. In his lecture, Dr. Roberts discussed the fascinating microscopic world of bugs, including 'friends' to human beings such as the Bifidobacteria found in yoghurt, or 'deadly foes' such as Yersinia pestis, the bacterium that caused the Black Death that decimated Europe in the Middle Ages. These organisms live in and on our bodies as well as in every environment, even the harshest, found on earth. Yet little is known about them. Dr. Richard J. Roberts is an eminent molecular biologist who is currently research director at the New England Biolabs in Massachusetts, USA. He obtained a B.Sc. in chemistry and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Sheffield in 1 965 and 1 968 respectively. After finishing postdoctoral research at Harvard University in 1972, he began to work for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. In 1977, he discovered that the genes of the adenovirus are discontinuous, that is, a given gene could be present in the genetic material (DNA) as several, well-separated segments. It has since been established that this split gene structure is common in higher organisms. The discovery of split genes has been of fundamental importance for today's basic research in biology, as well as medical research on cancer and genetic diseases. The discovery earned him the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1993, shared with Prof. Phillip A. Sharp. Dr. Roberts' current research is in bioinformatics and the discovery and mechanism of restriction-modification systems from bacteria. The Brai n Illuminated at BRAIN 2005 O ver 400 medical professionals from 10 regions in the world attended Brain 2005, the Third Asia Pacific Multidisciplinary Meeting for Nervous System Diseases, held on 2nd and 3rd December at the Postgraduate Education Centre of the Prince of Wales Hospital. Jointly organized by neurologists, neuropathologists, neurosurgeons, neuro-oncologists, and neuroscientists of the Faculty of Medicine, this is the only multidisciplinary meeting of its kind in the Asia Pacific region. The themes addressed at the conference included epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, and paediatric brain tumours. Eleven international experts joined their local counterparts to discuss the new classification of medulloblastomas, pathophysiology of Parkinson's disease, and the treatment of refractory epilepsy. The conference was officiated by Prof. T.F. Fok, dean of medicine. Support for the event was given by the Hong Kong Neurosurgical Society, the Hong Kong Neurological Society, the Hong Kong Society of Neurosciences, and the Hong Kong Division of the International Academy of Pathology. 'Smart' Operat ing Rooms Instal led at PWH T wo high-tech, fully automated operating rooms have been installed at the Prince of Wales Hospital. These new surgical suites will enhance the safety of the patient during minimally invasive procedures by boosting the comfort and performance of the surgeon and the surgical team. They will also facilitate the training and research programmes of the CUHK Jockey Club Minimally Invasive Surgical Skills Centre. The centre, which opened on 18th November 2005, is one of the most sophisticated, multidisciplinary centres of its kind in the Asia Pacific region. It conducts cutting-edge research in surgical technologies, aimed at enhancing Hong Kong's position as an international hub for medical sciences and surgical research. And to support this effort, two endo-surgery operating theatre suites have been upgraded to 'smart' operating rooms. Each room allows the surgeons and nurses to control the entire surgical suites through a panel system. Equipment and monitors are suspended from the ceiling by means of boom arm technology, allowing medical personnel to move unimpeded and optimal positioning of equipment while eliminating hazardous cords and wires from traversing the operating floor. To support this initiative and the operation of the centre, Hewlett Packard Hong Kong Ltd. has donated computer equipment to power up the centre. 1 No. 271 4th January 2006