Appointment of Head of the Division of Life Science
Dear Colleagues,
It gives me great pleasure to announce the appointment of Prof Ting XIE as the Head of the Division of Life Science effective from 4 January 2021.
Prof Xie received his PhD degree in 1996 from the Joint Graduate Program of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry of Rutgers University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Before joining HKUST, he served as full Professor in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at University of Kansas Medical Center, and also an Investigator of Stowers Institute for Medical Research. Prof Xie is an internationally recognized leader and pioneer in the field of stem cell research who has made significant contribution to adult stem cell regulation. His laboratory applies a combination of molecular, genetic, genomic, developmental and cell biological approaches to understand how adult stem cells are regulated in vivo using Drosophila and mice as model systems. He is the first researcher who successfully demonstrates, through experiments, the existence of the stem cell niche for controlling stem cell self-renewed in any system. He is also the first person to propose the existence of another distinct niche dedicated to the control of stem cell progeny differentiation, now known as the differentiation niche. His pioneer work has led to a decade of important research initiatives on stem cell niches in various adult tissues and organisms. In recent years, leveraging his expertise in stem cells regulation, Prof Xie has extended his scope to vision research. His research studies demonstrated that retinal stem cell-derived photoreceptors could restore some light response in the photoreceptor-degeneration model, photoreceptor-deficient rd1 mutant mice, which has translational implication that stem cells could possibly offer an effective treatment for retinal degenerative diseases.
In addition to research excellence, Prof Xie has also leveraged his expertise to contribute to the establishment of first-rate research infrastructure in different partner institutions. One good example is the Center for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine at Tsinghua University where Prof Xie has led the major effort to build the center from scratch in his capacity as Scientific Advisor. His leadership and contributions have earned him high respect in his field and wide recognition among the international academic community.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Prof Zhenguo Wu for his leadership and contribution as Acting Head in the Division of Life Science since April 2018, and thanks to members of the Search Committee, comprising Prof Che Ting CHAN (Chair), Prof Ho Yi MAK, Prof Robert QI, Prof Karl TSIM, Prof Angela WU, Prof Mingjie ZHANG and Ms Anthea CHENG (secretary), for their time and effort in conducting this important search.
Last but not least, please join me in extending our hearty congratulations to Prof Xie and in rendering your unreserved support as he takes on this role.
Lionel Ni