Professor Matt Brown to present seminar on modern medicine and genetics at UQ's Global Challenge Leadership event

21 Oct 2011

As part of The University of Queensland's Global Challenge Leadership Series being held in China this month, modern medicine and genetics, nano and biotechnologies will be some of the topics discussed in Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing from October 21 to 26.

Director of The University of Queensland’s Diamantina Institute, Professor Matthew Brown, will give a seminar on Modern medicine and genetics at the Pudong Shangri-La, Shanghai on Monday, October 24 at 6pm, followed by a networking function.

Professor Brown will discuss the challenge of identifying the genes involved in diseases of the developed world, like diabetes, obesity and hypertension, and of the developing world, including infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria.

In August, the UQ Diamantina Institute and the Queensland Brain Institute further strengthened their research ties with China with the opening of a joint laboratory dedicated to exploring how genes influence brain development and function. The Joint Sino-Australian Neurogenetics Laboratory aims to uncover the genes that cause or make individuals susceptible to certain neurological and mental illnesses. The initiative builds off UQ Diamantina Institute's links with Shanghai 2nd Military Medical University.

“Genetics offers the chance to identify individuals either very early in their disease, or even before it starts, enabling preventative strategies to be employed targeted at those at highest disease risk,” Professor Brown said.

In Beijing on Wednesday, October 26, the Director of the UQ Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, Professor Peter Gray, will discuss Nano and bio technologies — small solutions for large global problems.

Professor Gray’s talk will focus on the explosion in biotechnology, driven by a rapidly growing understanding of the basis of life and cellular activity. It will also look at nanotechnology — an understanding of structures and phenomena at the nano scale, which is creating a multitude of new materials with improved properties. 

These transformational technologies are leading to new innovations such as bar-coded nanoparticles for early detection of disease; the nanopatch for speedy, low risk mass immunization; new generation energy storage devices; biotechnology to produce aviation fuel from sustainable plant sources; and improved technologies for low cost water cleanup and removal of pollutants.

UQ Acting Vice-Chancellor Max Lu will lead a senior delegation of Institute Directors and early and mid-career researchers to China during the Global Challenges Leadership Series.

Professor Lu said the mission would explore research collaboration opportunities with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and Tianjin University and foster collaborative research activities, staff exchanges, and joint PhDs.

“We will build on the University’s previous missions in the past two years to nurture new relationships, build on current links and to engage with alumni, friends and partners,” he said.

Professor Lu said a stronger global network helped to support collaborations with research institutions, business and governments in research, teaching and in enriching the student experience.

“The work the University is doing across health, sciences, the environment and humanities helps shape approaches to the big issues of the 21st century, which are of deep concern to all people,” Professor Lu said.

“The Global Challenges Leadership Series will provide the University's alumni and friends with an insight into those big ideas and an opportunity to become involved.”

Visit to find out more about The University of Queensland's Global Challenges Leadership series.


Media: Jan King 0413 601 248


UQ has established positive partnerships with four institutes in the Chinese Academy of Sciences: UQ’s Queensland Brain Institute has relationships with the Institute of Neuroscience and the Institute of Biophysics; the UQ School of Physical Sciences has a relationship with the Institute of Applied Mathematics; and the UQ School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering has a relationship with the Institute of Software.

UQ has 967 co-authored publications with the Chinese Academy of Sciences as the key collaborator.

The UQ Graduate School is currently in negotiation with the Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences to develop joint (dual) PhD programs.

The University of Queensland had 39 partner universities in China — its key partners include the C9, Project 211 and Project 985 Institutions.

UQ as a member of the Australian Group of Eight universities (Go8) earlier this year signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to deepen its co-operation with the leading research universities in China, known as the C9.

The MoU commits the two groups of deans to ongoing dialogue regarding double-badged and joint PhD programs, joint summer schools and two way short-term student exchanges. It will also explore post-doctoral exchange and development programs.

The newly formed C9 (Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Peking University, Tsinghua University, Harbin Institute of Technology, Fudan University, Nanjing University, Zhejiang University, University of Science and Technology of China and Xi'an Jiaotong University) is a consortium of universities that has agreed to collaborate to enhance its international linkages and respond more effectively to global challenges.

The University of Queensland has 842 Chinese alumni; and 2648 currently enrolled undergraduate and postgraduate students.

The University’s links with China also include a Confucius Institute at UQ. It was established last year under an agreement between UQ and the Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban) in China, and in partnership with Tianjin University, China.

In addition to promoting the learning of Chinese language and culture at UQ and in the broader community, the UQ Confucius Institute seeks to build and deepen links and collaborative opportunities with China in the fields of science, engineering and technology.

The Global Challenges Leadership Series is an opportunity for alumni and UQ partners to engage with the University's research leaders in an open dialogue on solutions to global issues.

The series highlights the University's role as an internationally engaged research institution with global reach and impact, committed to finding innovative solutions to global issues through learning, discovery and engagement.

This year, the University has held Global Challenges events in the U.S., U.K., Indonesia, Australia, Chile, Colombia, Japan, and Vietnam. The seminars in China will be followed by others in Hong Kong, India and Oman.