Associate Professor Apichat Jiravuttipong, MD, Dean, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University welcomed Miss Alexandra McKenzie, Deputy Head of Mission, British Embassy Bangkok, and delegates, on her visit to visit the MD-KKU laboratory that first discovered Innate Immunity factors relating to Cholangiocarcinoma. The purpose of the visit was to follow up the progress of Newton-Funded collaboration between UK Universities and MD-KKU. The welcome was held on March 12, 2021, in Nong Waeng Meeting room, Dean’s Office.
Professor Banchob Sripa, Principal Investigator, MD-KKU Tropical Disease Research Laboratory, WHO Collaborating Center for Research and Control of Opisthorchiasis, presented on the collaborative work of the “Newton Funded liver fluke research between University of Liverpool-UK and MD-KKU”. Following that, Deputy Head of Mission, British Embassy and delegates visited the Tropical Disease Research Laboratory, WHO Collaborating Center for Research and Control of Opisthorchiasis (Southeast Asian Liver Fluke Disease).
The major Newton Fund collaborative research between the two institutions focuses on the mechanism of innate immunity in Cholangiocarcinoma. This phenomena was first reported on by this collaborative project and has resulted in 2 international publications to date and another in preparation.
Over the past 5-years (2015-2020), MD-KKU and University of Liverpool has had active academic exchanges 6 undergraduate students, 2 master degree students, 2 Junior staff. Master degree students from Liverpool University have researched innate immunity in cholangiocarcinoma at MD-KKU for 9 months, with University of Liverpool staff visiting for supervision. In 2017, MD-KKU hosted an international conference with University of Liverpool, and the same year, the Dean of MD-KKU and administrators visited the School of Tropical Medicine at University of Liverpool.
Over the past five years, UK Research Funding awards to the MD-KKU Tropical Disease Research Laboratory and WHO Collaborating Center for Research and Control of Opisthorchiasis (Southeast Asian Liver Fluke Disease) include:
- Newton Fund Institution Link Grant.
- The Royal Society
- Newton Fund Impact Scheme
And, a recent grant submission to the UK Medical Research Fund (MRC) has been approved in the first evaluation round.
In addition to the collaborative research activities with Tropical Diseases Research Laboratory, WHO Collaborating Center for Research and Control of Opisthorchiasis, there is another MD-KKU research group that has received Newton Fund Project Grant support. It is the Research Project “Targeting the FOXM1 signature for early diagnosis and treatment in Cholangiocarcinoma” (2016-2018) an active e collaboration between an Imperial College London (ICL) research team led by Professor Eric Lam, Department of Surgery and Cancer, ICL, Principal Investigator, and a MD-KKU research team led by Professor Sopit Wongkham, Co-investigator.
On this visit, the Deputy Head of Mission, and her delegates learnt about the MD-KKU’s International Researchers’ achievements and further opportunities for collaborative partnerships to sustain research leadership and promote SMART HEALTHCARE connectivity.
Other delegates from British Embassy were Miss Pafan Aumnuysawat, Assistant for Marketing and Investment, and Miss Lalita Filhavest, Newton Fund Manager.
MD-KKU Dean’s colleagues attending the meeting were;
Assoc. Prof. Wimonrat Sriraj, MD Associate Dean for Research and International Relations Affairs;
Dr. Jutarop Phetcharaburanin Assistant to the Dean for Research and International Relations Affairs;
Prof. Banchob Sripa, Principal Investigator, Tropical Disease Research Center & Department of Pathology;
Prof. John F. Smith English Specialist;
Asst. Prof. Sutas Suttiprapa, Asst. Prof. Prasert Saichua, Dr Kanin Salao, and Dr. Sujittra Chaiyadet, all from the Tropical Diseases Research Center and Postgraduate Students.