CUHK Science Faculty Hosts Lecture by Nobel Laureate on Faculty Research Day
The Faculty of Science of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) held a virtual lecture by Professor Randy W. Schekman, 2013 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, last Saturday (22 May) at the Faculty’s Research Day 2021. The Dean of Science Professor Chunshan Song expressed a warm welcome to Professor Schekman as the Keynote Speaker for the Faculty Research Day. The event was held in hybrid mode. It attracted over 130 CUHK staff, students, alumni and members of the public to join in person or through the video conferencing platform.
Professor Schekman spoke on the topic “The Importance of Collaboration and Openness in Basic Science and Research Publication”. A more open and collaborative approach may make a difference in solving tough problems in scientific research. However, how scientists publish their work represents one of the most difficult challenges to effective collaboration due to the exaggeration of the use of the “impact factor” in self-promotion. Professor Schekman, in the lecture, described the publication model of a journal started by him, eLife, and the effort to diminish the influence of the impact factor by embracing the principles of DORA (Declaration on Research Assessment), and to promote open access publication.
In the keynote, he shared with the audience on his perspectives in part based on his experiences. In 2019, Professor Schekman was appointed as the Scientific Director for the Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s (ASAP), an international programme of collaborative research consisting of nearly 100 laboratories organised into 21 teams in 60 institutions around the world. In the lecture, he reviewed the challenges and ASAP’s approach to Parkinson’s disease, and he also highlighted the role of this international consortium of laboratories in this battle.
Professor Schekman is an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California at Berkeley. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in 1992 and as a Foreign Member of the Royal Society in 2013. In 2002, Professor Schekman was appointed Editor-in-Chief of the Annual Reviews of Cell and Developmental Biology. From 2006 to 2011, he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Proceedings of the NAS. From 2011 to 2019, he served as the founding Editor-in-Chief of an open access journal, eLife, sponsored by the HHMI, Wellcome Trust and the Max Planck Society. During the 1970s, Professor Schekman studied yeast cells with malfunctions in the vesicle transportation system. He demonstrated that the malfunctions were due to genetic defects and explained how different genes regulate different aspects of the transports. He shared the 2013 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with James Rothman and Thomas C. Südhof “for their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in our cells”. CUHK conferred on him an honorary degree of Doctor of Science in 2016. He has kindly delivered invited lectures at CUHK for the Croucher Summer Courses twice (2013 and 2019). Currently, he is a collaborator with CUHK’s UGC-Area of Excellence Centre for Organelle Biogenesis and Function. The participants of the Faculty Research Day also had opportunities to ask questions. Professor Schekman nicely answered all the questions from the faculty, staff and students.
The Faculty Research Day 2021
The Faculty Research Day is an annual event of the Faculty of Science. This year, with the theme of “Advancing Science through Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Research and Collaboration”, the Faculty hoped that Research Day 2021 could serve as a platform for researchers to exchange new research ideas and to encourage collaborative research across different disciplines.
Besides the Keynote lecture by Professor Schekman, another highlight of the Research Day was the session on “Sharing on Collaborative Research Fund”. The Faculty invited leading professors from different research units, including Professor Lok Ming Ronald Lui, Professor Jiang Xia, and Professor Yilin Wu to share their interdisciplinary research by linking their various backgrounds with biological problems. Over the past ten years, the Faculty of Science has successfully secured 24 Research Grants Council Collaborative Research Fund (CRF) and three Areas of Excellence (AoE) projects. This year, the Research Day also featured seven eminent researchers including Professor Man Nin Chan, Professor Kin Fai Ho (Faculty of Medicine), Professor Yingying Wei, Professor Sen Yang, Professor Ho Lam Jerome Hui, Professor Yuk Lap Kevin Yip (Faculty of Engineering) and Professor Liwen Jiang to share their experience in the CRF application.