Shanghai delegation visits UNMC

by Tom O’Connor, UNMC public affairs | November 04, 2008

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From left: Hongmei Tang, M.D., deputy director of the educational affairs office at SJTUSM; Hongzhuan Chen, M.D., Ph.D., executive director of the College of Graduate Education at SJTUSM; Don Leuenberger, vice chancellor for business and finance at UNMC; Zhenggang Zhu, M.D., Ph.D., dean of SJTUSM and vice president of Shanghai Jiao Tong University; Tom Rosenquist, Ph.D., vice chancellor for research at UNMC; Jing Yi, M.D., Ph.D., executive director of the College of Basic Medical Science at SJTUSM; and Shuliang Lu, M.D., Ph.D., deputy director, Science and Technology Affairs Office at SJTUSM.
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From left: Dr. Yi, Dr. Tang, Jialin Zheng, M.D., Dr. Lu, Xu Luo, Ph.D., Kangmu Ma, Dr. Zhu and Dr. Chen outside a laboratory in the Durham Research Center.
After a large delegation of nearly 40 UNMC people ventured to China in October, it was UNMC's turn on Monday to roll out the welcome mat for five key administrators from Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine (SJTUSM).

The Chinese visitors will spend two days in Omaha before heading to Toronto on Wednesday morning.

The SJTUSM delegation was headed by Zhenggang Zhu, M.D., Ph.D., dean of SJTUSM and vice president of Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Other members of the SJTUSM delegation were:

  • Hongzhuan Chen, M.D., Ph.D., executive director, College of Graduate Education;
  • Jing Yi, M.D., Ph.D., executive director, College of Basic Medical Science;
  • Shuliang Lu, M.D., Ph.D., deputy director, Science and Technology Affairs Office;
  • and Hongmei Tang, M.D., deputy director, Educational Affairs Office.

The delegation was formally welcomed at a lunch on Monday in the Truhlsen Events Center in the Michael F. Sorrell Center for Health Science Education. The event was hosted by the two UNMC vice chancellors who have been actively engaged in collaborations with SJTUSM -- Vice Chancellor for Research Tom Rosenquist, Ph.D., and Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance Don Leuenberger.

Leuenberger, who headed the UNMC delegation that went to China in October, had high praise for the UNMC/SJTUSM partnership.

"This has been a tremendously successful collaboration," he said. "It can only get better."

He noted that UNMC hopes to open an office on the SJTUSM campus and thanked the Chinese school for providing this office space. He added that UNMC also hopes to open another office in Beijing through the Chinese Academy of Science.

In Chinese culture, nothing is more important than good friendships, Dr. Zhu said.

Although UNMC and SJTUSM have a great distance and many cultural differences between them, he said you "can't separate our friendship and collaboration between our two schools."

Dr. Zhu noted that more than 30 students and several young faculty from SJTUSM have come to UNMC under the partnership. UNMC has been sending 16 nursing students and faculty members to SJTUSM and have also sent three medical students and will soon begin sending more medical students (12 students per year) to SJTUSM.

This collaboration will enhance joint research projects between the two campuses, Dr. Zhu said.

As part of the lunch program, all of the SJTUSM students at UNMC were introduced and each of the students said a few words.

UNMC and SJTUSM are collaborating on the first-ever M.D./Ph.D. program between a Chinese university and an American university. Under the program, the students will take their first two years of medical school at SJTUSM, then come to UNMC for four years to earn their Ph.D., then return to SJTUSM for their final two years of medical school.

The first SJTUSM student enrolled in the program is Kangmu Ma, who spoke at the lunch. He praised Jialin Zheng, M.D., director of UNMC's Asia Pacific Rim Development Program, and Mary Cavell, APRDP coordinator. Ma also cited UNMC Chancellor Harold M. Maurer, M.D., for his vision of "global collaboration and pioneering spirit."

The other six SJTUSM medical students attending UNMC -- all at the same level as third-year medical students in the United States -- include: Yanan Mo, Zhihua Zhang, Qirong Wu, Chao Zhang, Han Bo and Jimin Yin. Another SJTUSM student, Ling Ye, is doing two years of research training in UNMC's pharmacology and experimental neuroscience department.

In addition, another SJTUSM student with the same name as her medical school counterpart -- Chao Zhang -- is seeking her Ph.D. through the UNMC College of Nursing.

Zhang, the nursing student, has been at UNMC for the past two months and had high praise for APRDP.

"It really has changed my life," she said. "The program is awesome."

Dan Monaghan, Ph.D., professor, pharmacology and experimental neuroscience, and director of UNMC's Biomedical Research Training Program, was the final speaker on the lunch program.

He said the partnership between UNMC and SJTUSM is "maturing."

He noted that the partnership is now a "two-way street" with students and faculty from both institutions going back and forth.

Dr. Monaghan summarized the importance of the collaboration quite nicely when he said: "Two people from different backgrounds can learn more than two people from the same background."

In addition to meetings with key UNMC administrators on Monday, the SJTUSM delegation toured the Durham Research Center and the Lied Transplant Center.

Today, they will tour the Scott Technology Center at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the Henry Doorly Zoo. They also will go to Lincoln to tour the State Capitol building and for meetings with University of Nebraska President James B. Milliken and Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman.

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Back row, from left: Chao "Mickey" Zhang, Bo Han, Kangmu Ma, Ling Ye, Qirong Wu, Yanan Mo, Zhihua Zhang, Jimin Yin, Chao Zhang, Dr. Zheng, Mary Cavell; front row, from left: Kai Fu, M.D., Ph.D., Dr. Yi, Dr. Tang, Dr. Rosenquist, Dr. Zhu, Leuenberger, Dr. Chen, Dr. Lu and Dan Monaghan, M.D., Ph.D.