The UKs largest academic group of membrane and neurobiologists is joining forces with leading scientists from the strongest research groups and institutions across China.
This new initiative, between the Faculty of Biological Sciences at the University of Leeds and academics from the State Key Laboratory of Biomembrane and Membrane Biotechnology - which comprises three linked laboratories from Beijing University, Qinghua University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) - will act as a platform for the development of long term research and teaching collaborations.
The partnership is expected to greatly enhance the research outputs and international profiles of the institutions.
These Chinese institutions represent the leading research groups in China in the areas of membrane and neurobiology, says Dr Bing Liu, China Liaison Officer at Leeds. Weve already held a highly successful joint symposium at Beijing University, at which a number of synergies were identified, and the strengths of each of the parties make this a formidable partnership which will have great benefits for the research and teaching on both sides.
Future planned ventures include a symposium to be held in Leeds in May 2008; a dedicated website to facilitate collaborative activity; several short term exchanges and a range of associated joint pilot research projects. Particular areas of research interest include ion channels, which play critical roles in the brain and other tissues and contribute to chronic pain, cardiovascular and other diseases. Studies are also being carried out on the structures of membrane transporters and receptors, which potentially represent targets for novel antibacterial, antiparasite and antidiabetic drugs. Complementing such studies, another major theme of the initiative concerns the flow of membranes between different cellular compartments and its dysfunction in disease.