At HKUST, we have an Animal and Plant Care Facility for this type of research, but the facility is outdated and needs to be expanded and enhanced to cope with modern “translational research” (the development of fundamental research into techniques and tools in medicine). Despite not having our own medical school, the University is extremely strong in medical-related research. Ground-breaking work has included a new therapeutic strategy for Alzheimer’s disease; discovery of two protein molecules known to cause autism; development of a novel strategy to promote regeneration of injured neurons, which could inspire new directions for spinal cord injuries; new technologies that boost the effectiveness and utilization of Chinese medicine; treatment of ischemic strokes; and diagnosis of glaucoma eye disease. All these significant research discoveries could only have been achieved with the experimental use of animals.
The new facility will offer just not more space, but an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach, and follow international guidelines to ensure the wellbeing of laboratory animals. It will maintain and ultimately boost the University’s reputation, enable the expansion of research and attract new faculty from other top laboratories.