HKUST Launches IAS HKUST - Scripps R&D Laboratory


HKUST’s Institute for Advanced Study will launch its first R&D laboratory in collaboration with The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), a world-class research institute based in San Diego, California, USA.

At a ceremony today (Friday 16 November), HKUST and TSRI signed a Memorandum of Understanding which formally endorses the set up of a joint HKUST – Scripps R&D Laboratory under the auspices of the Institute for Advanced Study at HKUST.

TSRI will establish its research team and conduct research projects in biomedical sciences in collaboration with scientists from the Schools of Science and Engineering in HKUST. The teams will be led by TSRI’s Prof Paul Schimmel, member of US National Academy of Sciences, and Prof Zhang Mingjie, Professor of Biochemistry at HKUST.

The joint laboratory will be working on novel functions of a class of enzymes called tRNA synthetases in human health and diseases. The laboratory is expected to be fully operational within a year.

Speaking at today’s signing ceremony, IAS founder and HKUST President Prof Paul Chu said, “This Memorandum of Understanding signifies a new phase in IAS’ development. With the launch of a laboratory led by a team of brilliant researchers and scholars from Scripps and HKUST, our dream of building up an advanced research centre of cutting-edge excellence is about to take off.”

“It also brings us closer to our goal of cementing ties with world-class scientific research centers. In particular, Prof Paul Schimmel’s reputation as a pioneering biomedical researcher and his capability to translate research outcomes into drug discovery to cure human diseases is beyond dispute. The IAS HKUST – Scripps R&D Laboratory represents a new paradigm in collaboration between HK and US research institutions.”

“We are excited and honored to be able to seal our ties with TSRI.”

Apart from setting up a joint IAS HKUST – Scripps R&D Laboratory, the Memorandum for Understanding also makes possible the bilateral academic exchanges of faculty members and research postgraduate students.

Institute for Advanced Study, HKUST 
Founded by HKUST’s President Prof Paul Chu in June 2006, IAS was set up to spearhead fundamental and applied researches relevant to the region’s economic development; provide the platform for interactions among top scholars and scientists in the world through workshops, seminars and symposiums; foster collaboration across disciplines between local, national and international researchers in high-impact areas and run postgraduate and undergraduate courses or internship programs.

Guided in its development by an International Advisory Board chaired by Nobel Laureate in Physics Prof C N Yang and 15 members most of whom Nobel Prize recipients, IAS has run more than 30 lectures given by world class scientists and Nobel Laureates. IAS’ inauguration talk delivered by University of Cambridge’s Prof Stephen Hawking in June 2006 has spawned the love for space sciences among Hong Kong’s public.

The Scripps Research Institute, California, USA 
The Scripps Research Institute is the world’s largest non-profit biomedical research facility. Since its founding in 1961 by a small group of immunopathologists led by Frank Dixon, M D, the institute has become internationally recognized for its basic research into immunology, molecular biology, cell biology, chemistry, neuroscience, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular disorders, and cancer research.

There are 225 members of the faculty at TSRI. Widely recognized in the international scientific arena, many are the recipients of prestigious honors and awards, including three Nobel Laureates Gerald M Edelman, K Barry Sharpless and Kurt Wuthrich.


For media enquiries, please feel free to contact :

Luk Kam Wing
: 2358 6306

May Cheung
: 2358 6103

Prof Paul Chu, HKUST President and Founder of HKUST’s Institute for Advanced Study and Prof Paul Schimmel, The Scripps Research Institute, USA (right) at the signing ceremony.
Prof Paul Chu, HKUST President and Founder of HKUST’s Institute for Advanced Study and Prof Paul Schimmel, The Scripps Research Institute, USA (right) at the signing ceremony.
Sign up for our latest news