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BGI Announces the Establishment of BGI Hong Kong Research Institute for Strengthening Omics Research in Asia Pacific
Publish Date: 2012-12-06

December 1st, Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China – BGI today announced the establishment of BGI Hong Kong Research Institute and the appointment of five honorary professors in the 7th International Conference on Genomics & Bio-IT APAC 2012. The newly established institute is to pursue excellence in genomic research and innovation for benefiting human health, agriculture and environmental development in Asia Pacific.


As a non-profit organization, BGI Hong Kong Research Institute is committed to establish the genomics tools to improve healthcare and agriculture in Asian Pacific. To acknowledge the outstanding partners significantly contributed to the research and academic activities, BGI Hong Kong Research Institute appointed honorary professors who will be responsible for providing some new theoretical guidance for better advancing the institute’s research, collaboration and development objectives. With their support, BGI Hong Kong Research Institute can make more breakthroughs for benefiting healthcare, agriculture and environment in the near future.


"BGI’s efforts in recent past made large-scale genomics research accessible to even small labs and that too not only in model/major plant and animal species but also in under-studied species.” Professor Rajeev Varshney from ICRISAT, said, “The establishment of BGI Hong Kong Research Institute is a great initiation that will help taking genomics research to new dimension especially in context of healthcare and agricultural productivity in Asia pacific.”


Professor Robert Park from University of Sydney said, “The rust diseases, caused by pathogenic fungi, are among the most serious biotic threats to stable wheat production and cause significant yield losses around the world year in and year out. Researches between the University of Sydney and BGI Hong Kong Research Institute will use genomic approaches to unravel the interaction between rust pathogens and the wheat host, to develop new control strategies and ensure adequate supplies of safe food for all.”


“BGI, being a world leading institution in genomic research, certainly could play a pivotal role in this translational process.” Professor TK Lau from Fetal Medicine Foundation of the United Kingdom said, “With the strong technological support from BGI and experienced researchers from various specialists, I am confident that the BGI Hong Kong Research Institute will make significant contribution to the advances in human health.”


Following are the short profiles of five honorary professors:


Prof. Poh San Lai


Poh San Lai is Associate Professor at Department of Pediatrics, National University of Singapore, and heads the Human Molecular Genetics Lab. She is currently the President of the Biomedical Research and Experimental Therapeutics Society of Singapore, Board Member of the Asia-Pacific Society of Human Genetics and member of the Singapore National Medical Research Council Scientific Review Committee.


Dr. Rajeev K Varshney


Rajeev K Varshney, is working as a Principal Scientist and Director at International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), has over 10 years research experience in the area of plant genomics and crop biotechnology. Dr. Rajeev K Varshney and BGI have collaborated on pigeonpea and chickpea genome projects, and they are working on pear millet genome and re-sequencing of other six species.


Prof. Tze Kin Lau


TK Lau, the representative of the Asia Pacific region of Fetal Medicine Foundation of the United Kingdom (FMF), is currently responsible for general training to the Asia Pacific region. He engaged in prenatal genetic testing development together with BGI in early days and a major partner to promote the clinical application of the test.


Prof. Siu Ming Yiu


S.M. Yiu is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science of the University of Hong Kong. He has more than 10 years extensive research experience in cryptography, secure protocol design, and design of various encryption and signature schemes and published more than 100 papers in international journals and conferences. He is currently the principal investigators for a number of research projects and was awarded for the Research Output Prize of HKU in 2006, the Outstanding Teaching Award of HKU in 2009 and numerous teaching award of the Department.


Prof. Robert F. Park


Robert Park is the Professor of Cereal Rust Research, the University of Sydney. He was awarded the 2010 Fulbright Senior Scholarship and was awarded a Humboldt Fellowship in 1995 and in 2009 received the Chinese Friendship Award, the highest award conferred by the Chinese Government to foreign experts. He is dedicated to the research about plant pathology and genetics, particularly in the rust fungi that infect plants. The research group he led has a long and proud history in cereal rust research, and has made major contributions to the global effort to control these diseases.