Cultivating Collaborations

Robert G. Hawley, Ph.D., professor and chair of the department of anatomy and regenerative biology at the George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS), traveled to China June 22-29 to further a research initiative with Jining Medical University (JMU). Hawley delivered a seminar titled “Stem Cell Therapeutics,” and attended several meetings with JMU leadership where the discussions focused on ways to develop and enhance scientific cooperation and exchange in the field of translational medicine.

During his visit, Hawley was named a visiting professor of JMU by Duanmin Hou, chairman of the University Council.  Hawley also met with Dongfeng Chen, M.D., president of JMU Affiliated Hospital.

The visit was organized by Bo Yan, M.D., Ph.D., an adjunct professor in the department of anatomy and regenerative biology and professor of medicine and genetics at JMU.

Hawley’s visit was pursuant to a letter of intent executed between GW and JMU in February 2012, which was signed by Jeffrey S. Akman, M.D. ’81, G.M.E. ’85, vice president for health affairs and dean of SMHS and Steven Lerman, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at GW. “It provides the framework for a collaborative research program in translational medicine, initially involving my laboratory and the laboratory of Dr. Yan at JMU.,” said Hawley.

As part of the GW-JMU research initiative, Hawley and Yan have published three manuscripts together during the past year on the genetics of Parkinson’s disease.

“Our hope is to use the initiative as a springboard for future collaborative grant applications, such as to the NIH's U.S.-China Program for Biomedical Collaborative Research competition, as well as for philanthropic support, and to eventually expand it to include multiple researchers at both of our universities,” he said.

Hawley's wife, Teresa, director of the GW Flow Cytometry Core Facility, accompanied him on the trip, which also included several sightseeing excursions such as a hiking tour of the Great Wall of China and visits to the Forbidden City in Beijing and to Qufu, the birthplace of Confucius.