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National Cheng Kung University and the University of Ottawa Renew MOU on Research Cooperation

On Friday, May 1 2015, the University of Ottawa hosted a signing ceremony to renew the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on research cooperation it has with National Cheng Kung University (NCKU). Dr. Huey-Jen Jenny Su, president of NCKU, and Mr. Allen Rock, signed the renewed MOU, and Bruce J.D. Linghu, Representative at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Canada was invited to the ceremony to observe the signing. This MOU on research cooperation was originally signed at NCKU in Tainan city in Taiwan in December, 2011, to facilitate the undertaking of joint research projects of mutual interest.

This was the first document that NCKU had signed with a Canadian university on a university-to- university level and it was an expression of their shared commitment to joint efforts engaging in substantial research to accelerate scientific discoveries. The subsequent collaboration between NCKU and the University of Ottawa led to medical breakthroughs in ovarian cancer research. A medical discovery made by a joint research team the two universities helps clinicians to better treat women with ovarian cancer. The team investigated why ovarian cancer is often resistant to chemotherapy and identified a protein called gelsolin which plays a critical role in such resistance. They found that increased levels of gelsolin are associated with aggressive forms of ovarian cancer which are more likely to be resistant to chemotherapy and lead to death. The short-term goal of their study is to develop a detection method to accurately predict the potential for drug resistance when women are being treated for ovarian cancer, while the long-term aim is to develop an effective strategy to combat such resistance.

Both universities are outstanding in such areas as medicine, clinical medicine, neuroscience, and chemistry, and Allen Rock hailed the signing as an opportunity to continue his university’s fruitful partnership with NCKU. Both universities want to elevate their international profile and continue to upgrade their research excellence, and discussion about advanced collaborative projects in related fields followed the signing.

President Su was in Ottawa from April 29 to May 1. As well as renewing the MOU with the University of Ottawa, she led a delegation of three scholars of NCKU— Professor Chen Ching-Min, Associate Vice President of the Office of International Affairs; Dr. Li Yi-Heng, Director of the Division of Cardiology; and Dr. Chia-Ching Josh Wu, from the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy in the College of Medicine—to undertake exchanges with the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa Heart Institute, and the Faculty of Health Science at the University of Ottawa.