HKUST Division of Life Science Biotechnology Research Institute



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One of the most fascinating organs ever to have evolved in higher organism, and in particular mammalians, is without a doubt the brain. The major questions at the heart of molecular neuroscience are how does the nervous system develop, and how do neurons carry out their specialized functions. As important as these questions are to science, they are becoming evermore important to medicine. Within the next quarter century the world's maturing population will begin to place a great toll on the world's economy in terms of healthcare alone. Of the roughly twelve major disease categories, greater than one-third relate to neuropathologies and conditions. To date, the physicians' armamentarium is, for the most part, ineffective and there is an urgent need to accelerate the advancement of effective medical intervention to combat the debilitating consequences of neurodegenerative diseases and conditions. How important is this? Current estimates by the World Health Organization suggest that various neurological conditions affect hundreds of millions of people worldwide, and at a cost to the global society in the tens of trillions of US dollars. As a result, there has been a worldwide movement to unite the neuroscience community, the public, various organizations, and government towards advancing our understanding of the brain in efforts to provide the basis for medical advancement.

Over the past decade, Hong Kong has made great strides in establishing a world-class research infrastructure as well as providing the necessary resources to support cutting-edge basic and applied research. Through these efforts, neuroscience has emerged as one of Hong Kong's scientific strengths. Local neuroscientists have obtained international recognition for important scientific contributions. Moreover, Hong Kong's close ties with the Chinese Mainland allow her to tap into their wealth of neuroscience and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) talent and to facilitate research collaborations. Hong Kong's strength in innovative and aggressive business strategies as well as extensive international ties provide her unique advantages in seeking strategic alliances with major pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies. In order to facilitate Hong Kong's growing international presence in molecular neuroscience, the Molecular Neuroscience Center (MNC) was established at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) in 1999 to consolidate the neuroscience expertise and research initiatives at HKUST.


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Last Updated in January 2007