A very important and so far unique enterprise for KI is the establishment of an actual research hub outside of Sweden – The Ming Wai Lau Center for Regenerative Medicine in Hong Kong. Lau Center was made possible by a donation from the Hong Kong businessman Ming Wai Lau, and consists of two nodes – one at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and one in Hong Kong. The focus of the Hong Kong node is on building a front line technology-focused hub, including genome editing, single cell transcriptomics, bioinformatics and 3D tissue imaging technologies relevant to stem cell and regenerative research. Lau Center will also facilitate increased contacts in the area of stem cell research and regenerative medicine between KI and the Hong Kong and Chinese scientific communities.
Inauguration in October
Last week I appointed a steering group including Deputy Vice-Chancellor for International Affairs at Karolinska Institutet, Professor Maria Masucci (Chairman); Acting Dean of Research and also Dean of Doctoral Education at Karolinska Institutet, Professor Anders Gustafsson; Representative from the host institution, Deputy University Director Marie Tell; Donor, Mr. Ming Wai Lau; and Representative from Hong Kong University, Professor Paul Tam. The Scientific Director of the Lau Center, Dr Ola Hermanson, is an adjunct member.
The lab in Hong Kong Science Park is expected to be ready in the fall and four team leaders are presently being recruited following an open call. During the first year, approximately 20-30 people will be working at this location. For operations in Sweden, up to eight Lau grants targeted to researchers already active at KI within stem cell biology research and regenerative medicine, will be awarded following an open call posted earlier this year. The dead-line for both these calls has passed and there were 50 applicants for the assistant professor positions at the Hong Kong node, and 37 applications for the eight Lau grants, which will now be subject to external review.
The official inauguration of the Lau Center will take place at the Hong Kong Science Park 7 October this year.