University to collaborate with Chinese on health research

Jim Mann
Jim Mann
The University of Otago will collaborate with three leading Chinese health institutions to combat the growth in diseases such as Alzheimer’s and heart disease.

Yesterday, the university signed a memorandum of understanding with representatives from Huashan Hospital, Shanghai Mental Health Centre and the Fudan University of Public Health to foster co-operation in research of non-communicable diseases.

Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) Research Collaboration Centre chairman  Prof Jim Mann, of the  University of Otago, said the agreement would give New Zealand close links with the latest medical developments.

"Our strengthening collaborations will allow us to match up New Zealand NCD research know-how with breakthrough Chinese techniques, their outstanding facilities, and wealth of ‘big data’  research opportunities that China’s vast nation avails."

Both New Zealand and China were at risk if developments to treat neurological disorders and diseases such as diabetes were not hastened, he said.

At present, such diseases were "poised to take a growing toll of premature death and ill health" in both countries.

New Zealand researchers from the government-mandated "a better start", "healthier lives" and "ageing well" programmes would also collaborate with Chinese researchers as part of the agreement.

The delegation’s visit also provided the opportunity to begin discussing the creation of collaborative projects, Prof Mann said.

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Zhejiang University Children’s Hospital and Capital University Tongren Hospital are also visiting Dunedin.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said the agreement was a sign of the strong relationship between Dunedin and China.

"As well as social and health benefits, these types of collaborations bring economic benefits to our city in the form of research grants ...

"It is also exciting to know that our researchers are at the forefront of some potentially significant health advancements."

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