September 26, 2019

Michigan Medicine-PKUHSC Joint Institute awards 12 new projects for 2019

A record 12 new research projects between UMMS faculty and collaborators in China have been funded through the Joint Institute (JI) partnership between Michigan Medicine and Peking University Health Science Center, in Beijing.


The dozen grants awarded for 2019 – the largest group of new projects since the JI’s inception – come from numerous departments and disciplines, including hepatology and cancer, as well as areas new to the JI like dentistry, pharmacy, and ophthalmology.

“We have been intentional about expanding the scope the JI to incorporate more disciplines where both institutions bring complementary expertise,” said Global REACH Director of Asia Programs Amy Huang. “That includes an increasing number of projects in precision medicine and big data, as well as research from other health sciences.”

Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences David Zacks met his PKUHSC counterpart, Dr. Liu Yang, when she toured Kellogg Eye Center last year as part of the 2018 JI Symposium. Their new joint research project, which explores the molecular mechanisms underlying photoreceptor cell death during disease, is the JI’s first study in ophthalmology.

“We realized that we could leverage the strengths of our two labs to gain more insights into mechanisms of cell death, the goal being to ultimately develop therapies to keep the cells alive and improve visual outcomes,” said Zacks, who is headed to Beijing at the end of the month for the 2019 Symposium. “Our work will benefit both institutions tremendously, by allowing for the sharing of information and gaining of knowledge.  We look forward to initiating and strengthening this collaboration, and are optimistic that together we can help find new therapies for patients.”

Below is a list of projects awarded for 2019 and their respective U-M PIs. Find full descriptions at the JI website.


Determining genetic and microbiome effects on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and its medical complications in a Chinese population
Elizabeth Speliotes, MD, PhD, MPH

Three-dimensional scaffold with two-stage siRNA delivery to reconstruct periodontal defects
Peter Ma, PhD

LILRA3 as a novel regulator of thrombioinflammation in antiphospholipid syndrome (APS)
Jason Knight, MD, PhD

Molecular signatures underlying the progression of intestinal meaplasia: a multi-omics approach
Andrea Tosisco, MD
John Kao, MD

Gaining insight into retinal cell death: rational drug development through vitreous proteomic analysis
David Zacks, MD, PhD

Citrullinated Histone H3: A Mediator and Biomarker of Sepsis-induced Acute Lung Injury
Yongqing Li, MD, PhD

Michigan-Peking Cancer Biomarker Collaborative
Arul Chinnaiyan, MD, PhD

Cancer Stem Cell Dormancy and Epigenetic Regulation
Yali Dou, PhD

EMERALD-HF: Evaluation of MinERalocorticoid antagonists in ALdehyde dehydrogenase type 2 Deficiency
Bertram Pitt, MD
Porama Thanaporn, MD

New Strategy to Identify, Validate, and Eliminate Heterogeneity for Personalized Cancer Therapy of Breast Cancer or Liver Cancer
Duxin Sun, PhD

Deferoxamine in the Treatment of Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Hemmorrhage (DISH)
Aditya Pandey, MD

Building a Learning Health System for Kidney Disease through Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Record Data in Yinzhou China
Charles Friedman, PhD