Newsletter No. 231

Firs t Symposium of School f Public H e a l th O ver 200 health professionals gathered in Shaw Auditorium of the School of Public Health for the inaugural scientific symposium of the School of Public Health on 8th November 2003. The event was also held to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the University. Prof. Ambrose King, vice-chancellor, delivered the opening speech. Prof. Alfred Sommer (photo), dean of the School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, gave a talk on the o r i g i n, magnitude, and con t r ol o f nutritional blindness, and the relationship between v i t am in A deficiency and mortality and morbidity. Prof. David Barker from the University of Southampton School of Medicine gave a talk on his work on the foetal origins of chronic diseases. Other issues of public health relevance were discussed by prominent local speakers, including Prof. Edith Lau, Prof. Suzanne Ho, Prof. Joseph Lau, and Prof. Paul Chan from the University. In addition 19 posters were presented. New Marine Science Laboratory Formally Named After Dr. Simon F.S. Li T he naming ceremony of the Simon F.S. L i Marine Science Laboratory and Simon F.S. L i Building took place on 21st November, with Dr. Simon F.S. L i and Mrs. Lilian Li, Dr. Edgar W.K. Cheng, chairman of the University Council, and Prof. Ambrose King, vice- chancellor of the University, officiating at the function. Located on eastern campus, the University's marine science laboratory began operations in 1971. In 2001, the research facilities were reprovisioned at a new site in a new three-storey building next to the Hong Kong Institute of Biotechnology Ltd. As a token o f gratitude to the generous support rendered by Dr. and Mrs. Simon Li and their family over the years for the University's development, the new research f a c i l i t i es were respectively named the Simon F.S. L i Marine Science Laboratory and the Simon F.S. Li Building. (From left) Dr. Edgar Cheng, Dr. and Mrs. Simon F.S. Li, and Prof. Ambrose King Support for 10 Research Projects T he following 10 research projects undertaken by faculty members of the University have attracted funding support from different sources: • Cross-sectional Survey on Quality of Life Among Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma Patients in Hong Kong (HK$86,250) Sponsor: Suen Chi Sun Charitable Foundation Conducted by: Centre for Clinical Trials, School of Public Health • Adolescent and Adult Soy Intake and Breast Cancer Risk in Chinese Pre-menopausal Women (£149,772) Sponsor. World Cancer Research Fund International Principal investigator. Prof. Suzanne Ho (Department of Community and Family Medicine) Sponsored by the NSFC/RGC Joint Research Scheme 2003-4 • Face Image and Image Sequence Recognition in a Subspace Framework (HK$493,700) CUHK investigator. Prof. Tang Xiaoou (Department of Information Engineering) • The Role of Cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 Overexpression in Gastric Carcinogenisis: A Transgenic Mouse Model (HK$507,400) CUHK investigator: Prof. Joseph Sung (Department of Medicine and Therapeutics) • The Neurotrophic Action of Secretin in the Developing Cerebellum (HK$610,600) CUHK investigator. Prof. Yung Wing-ho (Department of Physiology) Sponsored by the Germany/Hong Kong Joint Research Scheme 2003-4 • A Study of Virodynamics in the Treatment of Chronic Hepatitis B by Pegylated Interferon and Lamivudine Combination (HK$1 3,920) CUHK investigator. Prof. Henry Chan (Department of Medicine and Therapeutics) • Anxiety Symptoms in Children and Adolescents: A Cross-cultural Comparison (HK$22,400) CUHK investigator: Dr. Patrick Leung (Department of Psychology) • Perceived Endings, Mortality Salience and Goal Regulation (HK$30,000) CUHK investigator. Prof. Helene Fung (Department of Psychology) • Automated Design and Prototyping of Communication Architectures for Heterogeneous Systems-on-a-Chip (HK$29,800) CUHK investigator: Prof. Lee Kin-hong (Department of Computer Science and Engineering) • Characterization of a RING-H2 Finger Protein, ANAPC11, the Human Homologue of Yeast Apc11P (HK$30,000) CUHK investigator. Prof. Mary Waye (Department of Biochemistry) New Centre to Advance Mobile Phone Technology T he Mob i le Technologies centre (MobiTeC) was formally established by the Faculty of Engineering on 19th November. The centre w i l l advance mobile technology by conducting high- end R&D, facilitating technology transfer of applied R&D, nurturing technical talent, and developing methodology and techniques to gauge performance indexes and improve the quality of wireless data services in Hong Kong. The centre is set up with the advice and encouragement of SmarTone Mobile Communications Ltd. and Ericsson Ltd., and headed by Prof. On-ching Yue of the University's Department of Information Engineering. The number of mobile phone users in Hong Kong ranks among the top worldwide. Apart from conventional voice applications, users demand better service in mobile networking, content delivery quality, and innovative wireless services. MobiTeC hopes to extend its linkages with mobile communication companies l oca l l y, na t i ona l ly and internationally, with the aim of enhancing the functions and technologies of mobile phone applications. Officiating at the opening ceremony of the centre were Mr. Francis Ho, permanent secretary for commerce, industry and technology (communications and t e c h n o l o g y) o f the H K S AR government; Mr. M. H. Au, director- general of telecommunications of the HKSAR; Mr. Douglas Li, chief executive o f f i c e r o f Sm a r T o ne M o b i l e Communications Ltd.; Mr. Stephen Yeung, managing director of Ericsson L t d .; Prof. Kenneth Young, acting vice-chancellor of the University; and P r o f. Ch i ng Pak - chung, dean o f engineering. New and Better Treatment of Emphysemous Patients E mphysema is a common debilitating condition among chronic smokers characterized by breathlessness. Together w i th other chronic lower respiratory conditions, it is the fifth leading cause of death in the territory. A l t h o u gh b r onchod i l a t o rs and steroids are useful, they are often ineffective in relieving symptoms in the late phase of the disease. Lung volume reduction surgery was advocated 10 years ago as the treatment for patients with advanced emphysema who are already on maximal medical therapy. The theory is t h a t b y r e m o v i n g t he m o s t emphysematous parts of the lungs, respiratory mechanics would improve. However those who are very sick would not be able to tolerate the surgery. The D i v i s i on of Cardiothoracic Surgery of the Department of Surgery is the first unit in Asia to investigate a new device called the endobronchial valve (EBV), which can be placed through a bronchoscope into the segmental airway leading to the most emphysematous part o f the lung. The EBV wou ld allow secretions from the targeted lung segment to escape while preventing air from getting into the lung. The resultant collapse would be equivalent to lung volume reduction surgery but without the trauma of surgery. So far the cardiothoracic division has performed this procedure on 21 patients with no operative deaths. Post- treatment hospital stay is five to six days, compared to seven to 10 for surgery. It was shown that the majority of patients were able to walk further, and t h e i r l u ng f u n c t i o ns made significant improvements. They also felt much better in general. A report of this study has been accepted for publication by the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery. The new procedure was announced at a press conference held on 6th November at the Postgraduate Education Centre of the Faculty of Medicine. 2 No. 231 4th December 2003