The University of Macau (UM) Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) recently held the First Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area International Conference on Translational Medicine and the Fourth Macao Stem Cell Symposium. Combining both online and in-person elements, the two-day event attracted over 400 participants, including renowned scholars, biomedical experts, industry practitioners, researchers, and students from the United States, Singapore, mainland China, and Macao. During the event, participants discussed the latest progress in translational medicine, stem cell research, and the clinical application of research results in the two areas.

According to Ge Wei, vice rector (research) of UM, the Greater Bay Area is one of the medical technology centres in China and UM plays a vital role in its development. To facilitate the implementation of the national strategy, UM is committed to developing biomedical sciences and training outstanding professionals in related fields. He also mentioned UM’s being ranked No 11 among all higher education institutions in mainland China and Macao according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, showing international recognition of the university’s growing reputation.

FHS Dean Deng Chuxia said that the conference had gone through several alterations because of the epidemic, adding that the persistence of all colleagues and the patience of the invited speakers and other participants were key to the success of the event. He also said that the conference provided a platform not only for scientists, experts, and researchers from the Greater Bay Area and other regions to share their latest research findings, but also for students to exchange ideas with renowned scholars.

The two-day conference included three keynote speeches and 17 session talks. Prof Rudolf Jaenisch, a world-renowned scientist and a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences, delivered a speech on the genomic integration and expression of SARS-CoV-2 into patients’ genome and how it affects nuclear acid tests. Prof Song Erwei, an eminent scholar and a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, gave a speech on tumour ecology and immunotherapy and discussed breast-conserving surgery for breast cancer and its significance. Prof Wu Jun, a scholar at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, revealed how to increase chimera formation by increasing the competitiveness of xenogeneic cells in a host embryo, which is crucial for the generation of human organs in animals. The session talks covered a wide range of topics, such as converting fibroblasts to cardiomyocytes by using small chemicals, using cancer patients-derived organoids for precision diagnosis and therapy, new findings about the early-stage post-transplantation of hematopoietic stem cells, and the triggering of anti-viral response following the binding of M protein of SARS-COV-2 virus to TREM-2 on T lymphocytes of the host.

This year, the conference’s review and award committee received over 100 entries, including over 70 posters and 30 research images. Dr Xing Fuqiang, a UM alumnus who is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Fifth Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, and 11 other young scholars, received the Best Poster Award. Huang Borong, a PhD student at UM, and four other young scholars, received the Best Image Award.

The conference was hosted by the FHS and organised by the Zhuhai UM Science and Technology Research Institute, with assistance from the Macau Society for Stem Cell Research, Zhuhai Hengqin ImStem Biotechnology Co Ltd, STEMCELL Technology Inc, the Fifth Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Zhuhai People’s Hospital, Ministry of Education Frontiers Science Center for Precision Oncology at UM, and Becton, Dickinson (BD) and Company. Guests attending the opening ceremony included Pang Heong Keong, clinical director of Conde S Januário Hospital; Chan Chou Weng, a division head in the Economic and Technological Development Bureau; and Liu Lianggang, a technology consultant of the Science and Technology Development Fund of Macao SAR.

Renowned scholars, biomedical experts, researchers, and students join the conference

Experts from China and abroad share their latest research findings in translational medicine

Students exchange ideas with invited speakers