CUHK Lo Kwee-Seong Integrated Biomedical Sciences Building Opens Today
The grand opening of the Lo Kwee-Seong Integrated Biomedical Sciences Building at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) was held today (29 August). Officiating guests included Dr. the Honorable Ko Wing-man, Secretary for Food and Health, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; Mr. Wang Zhutian, Assistant Director, China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment; Dr. Lo Tak-shing, Peter, Chairman, K.S. Lo Foundation; Mr. Lo Yau-lai, Winston, Executive Chairman, Vitasoy International Holdings Ltd.; and Prof. Joseph J. Y. Sung, Vice-Chancellor and President, CUHK. The building was named after the late Dr. K.S. Lo, Founder of the Vitasoy Group and the K.S. Lo Foundation, in recognition of the Foundation’s support to the University’s development, including in particular its research in biomedical sciences. Over 150 distinguished guests and members of the University attended the ceremony.
In his welcoming address, Prof. Joseph Sung expressed his deep gratitude to the Foundation for its staunch support to the University. He said, ‘The erection of the Lo Kwee-Seong Integrated Biomedical Sciences Building marks a new chapter in the University’s research and development, and lends great significance to the opening up of Area 39 as a substantial research base. We shall try our best to make the building the most important research hub on biomedical sciences in Hong Kong and inAsia, and dedicate our efforts to the advancement of health sciences to benefit our community at large.’
CUHK excels as a comprehensive research university in the international arena, with remarkable achievements in education and research. In line with the University’s Campus Master Plan in cultivating clustered and zoned development for disciplinary teaching and research activities, Area 39 is being developed in phases into a key research hub, where the Lo Kwee-Seong Integrated Biomedical Sciences Building is situated. The nine-storey building with a gross floor area of 18,264 m2 has been functional since the first quarter of 2012. It houses various facilities including theme-based laboratories with open-laboratory format, a demonstration laboratory, seminar rooms, research commons, meeting rooms, breakout areas and administrative offices.
Dr. Ko Wing-man complimented CUHK on its rapid development in the past years, he said, ‘I am very honoured to witness the opening of the Lo Kwee-Seong Integrated Biomedical Sciences Building, an important milestone of the University’s research development. I am pleased to learn that the School of Biomedical Sciences at the Chinese University shares the vision of the Government’s Theme-Based Research Scheme by actively pursuing five Thematic Research Programmes, facilitating translational and interdisciplinary research and promoting long-term development of Hong Kong. I am confident that the Chinese University will scale new heights in its research and development, uplifting the quality of life in Hong Kong, the region and the world.’
In 2010, the K.S. Lo Foundation made a magnanimous donation of HK$150 million to CUHK, a third of which was assigned to establish an endowment fund named the Lo Kwee-Seong Biomedical Research Fund for supporting biomedical research in agriculture, including research on soybean and other staple foods. Dr. Peter Lo, Chairman of the K.S. Lo Foundation said, ‘The Foundation, the Lo’s family and myself are very pleased to have built a close partnership with the Chinese University. We hope that this infrastructure will further strengthen interdisciplinary research in biomedical sciences, and we all wish the University the best to continue breaking new grounds and advancing human knowledge for our society.’ Mr. Winston Lo, Executive Chairman of Vitasoy International Holdings Ltd. said, ‘Vitasoy celebrated its 72nd anniversary this year, my father would be very proud to know that the enterprise he founded still puts quality, public health and affordable nutrition at the forefront of its business. We hope that this new building will become the cradle to nurture young scientists in biomedical sciences with the ultimate aim of betterment for the mankind.’
State-of-the-art Facilities in Support of Advanced Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Research
The School of Biomedical Sciences is the main occupant of the building. Equipped with state-of-the-art biomedical equipment, the building allows researchers to use cutting-edge technologies in various fields including genetics, genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics, to study the basic mechanism of human diseases with the goal of understanding the pathogenesis, and the improvement of the diagnosis and treatment of common illnesses. The five key research areas of the School include cancer and inflammation; neuro-degeneration, development and repair; reproduction, development and endocrinology; stem cell and regeneration; as well as vascular and metabolic biology. The ‘open-lab’ design ensures effective communication among researchers and facilitates interdisciplinary research, strengthening CUHK’s leading position in biomedical research.
The School of Pharmacy occupies the 8th floor of the building which houses the most advanced equipment to allow professional pharmacists and researchers to develop new drug products, striving to treat diseases that still lack effective therapy, and assuring the safety and quality of the existing pharmaceutical products.
Novel Animal Holding Core
The Animal Holding Core is full of innovations including dedicated procedure rooms, a surgical operating suite, several special rooms for animal behavioral experimentation, and quality caging with automated washing and sterilization equipment. All rooms have independent controls of temperature, lighting, humidity and air management to provide greater flexibility to the researchers. A professionally managed Aquatic Zone with an on-site microinjection room is also available.
A Safe and Energy-efficient Research Space
With its outstanding energy efficient features, the building is rated at the Platinum Standard by the BEAM Society, the highest rating recognized by the Society. It is oriented with its main facades facing north and south, and installed with sunshades in accordance with the intensity and the angle of the penetrating sun-rays to minimize heat. A cost-effective and environmental friendly centralized district cooling system has been set up to serve the building as well as other research buildings to be constructed in the Area. Other sustainable features include vertical greening, motion sensors for lighting, and carbon dioxide sensors for regulating fresh air inflow.
To provide a safe teaching and research environment, the building has a dedicated laboratory control system and an emergency ventilation control system. Once activated, the emergency system will run in full fresh air mode and alarm will sound to warn people against entering the laboratories affected. Different zones of the building have independent pressure control systems to keep the laboratories at a negative pressure to prevent any airborne hazards from spreading to public areas. Laboratories are equipped with over 80 bio-safety cabinets and fume cupboards, while special fume exhaust fans are provided on the roof for safe discharge of chemical fumes.
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