Forums for Greater China, India focus on collaborations, partnerships

Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton addressed the audience during opening remarks at the Forum for Greater China Dec. 14 in Hong Kong. Both this one and the Forum for India in Mumbai Feb. 22 showcased the university's thought leadership and strengthened collaborative ties with partners in Asia.

A pair of events recently held in Hong Kong and Mumbai helped to further strengthen Washington University in St. Louis’ impact in the Asia-Pacific region and showcase its world-leading, collaborative research. The annual Forums for Greater China and India highlighted the work of top Washington University faculty members, and addressed global issues in ways that are accessible to a broad audience. The theme: personalized medicine and the future of health care.

The meetings, held Dec. 14, 2018, in Hong Kong, and Feb. 22 in Mumbai, brought together leading researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, business executives from several industries, as well as academic and research leaders from Greater China and India to discuss the enormous opportunity and promise for personalized medicine in the region.

“The Forums for Greater China and India showcased Washington University’s leadership role in advancing personalized medicine,” Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton said. “The university has been at the forefront of discovery and research when it comes to sequencing the genetic code, having played an integral role in the Human Genome Project. We continue to push forward this important work with new diagnostic and therapeutic breakthroughs, and discussed collaborative approaches with our partners in Hong Kong and Mumbai.”

Personalized medicine holds great promise for improving the treatment of disease. Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach to a particular illness, personalized medicine aims to tailor treatment to the unique genetic and molecular profiles of each patient. Washington University is a leader in the emerging field. Personalized medicine will help doctors become more sophisticated in diagnosing and treating disease and choosing targeted therapies that are more likely to have successful outcomes.

The forums featured keynote addresses from:

  • Rajendra Apte, MD, PhD, the Paul A. Cibis Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, and a professor of developmental biology, of medicine and of neuroscience at the School of Medicine;
  • Sessions Cole, MD, the Park J. White, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, executive vice chair of pediatrics, and assistant vice chancellor for children’s health at the School of Medicine;
  • Philip R.O. Payne, director of the Institute for Informatics, the Robert J. Terry Professor, and professor of medicine at the School of Medicine, and a professor of computer science and engineering at the McKelvey School of Engineering; and
  • Robert Schreiber, the Andrew M. and Jane M. Bursky Distinguished Professor and director of the Andrew M. and Jane M. Bursky Center for Human Immunology & Immunotherapy Programs at the School of Medicine, and co-leader of the tumor immunology program at Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and the School of Medicine.

At both events, panels composed of university faculty, medical providers and corporate leaders addressed business strategies for the future of health care, as well as trends in the practice of personalized medicine.

More than 100 people were in attendance for each forum, including business leaders, government officials, alumni and prospective students. The forums further deepened the university’s close corporate, academic and research collaborations in the region.

“The problems we are exploring are not unique to Greater China, India, the United States or any other single country,” said Kurt Dirks, vice chancellor for international affairs. “They are truly global issues, and we need brilliant, innovative people working together to solve them. This is why Washington University wants to actively partner with collaborators from around the world to address these big issues, such as health care and personalized medicine.”

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