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7th Annual Peking University - UCLA Symposium

85 faculty and students from Peking University and UCLA gathered to exchange research findings and explore new areas for collaboration at the 7th annual JRI symposium at UCLA.

A diverse delegation of 20 faculty represented Peking University’s (PKU) science and engineering research during the Joint Research Institute in Science and Engineering (JRI) by Peking University (PKU) and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Annual Symposium, held May 20, 2016 on the UCLA campus. Over 85 participants attended this seventh annual symposium which alternates between PKU and UCLA campuses. 

Participants gather after opening remarks

During her opening remarks, UCLA Vice Chancellor for Research Ann Karagozian said she was pleased to see faculty taking initiative to promote an important relationship and engage in cutting edge research. Incoming UCLA Foundation Chair, Shirley Wang and Lei Wang, the Deputy Consul General, Consulate General of P.R. China in Los Angeles stressed the importance of the U.S.-China relationship. JRI Co-Director and PKU Professor Xiaoming Li reflected on the seven years of partnership. An update of the JRI programs was provided by JRI Co-Director and UCLA Professor Jason Cong including highlights from JRI’s research, publications and student programs. Professor Cong congratulated faculty who won a National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), Project of International Cooperation and Exchanges award for image processing research. He also mentioned the first Air Quality Management Training Program that was led by UCLA Professor Yifang Zhu last summer. Students in the PKU/UCLA Integrated BS+MS "3+2" Program graduated and took prestigious positions in Silicon Valley and beyond.

The audience was then engaged by keynote presentations from prominent faculty from both campuses: Jonathan Flint, professor from the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences; Chenjian Li, professor from the PKU School of Life Sciences; and Lixia Zhang, professor from the UCLA Department of Computer Science.


Professor Jonathan Flint shares his initial findings

The afternoon included three breakout sessions where faculty from both schools presented their latest research and engaged in discussions on ways to collaborate together to advance their research. Topics included the Neurobiological Basis of Psychiatric Disease; Environment and Climate; and Named Data Networking and The Internet of Things. UCLA Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences Professor William Yang described the unique ways in which the JRI Symposium facilitates collaboration, “The UCLA and PKU neuroscientists explored diverse and complimentary approaches to apply big data and novel cutting-edge technologies to study the brain and brain diseases. The symposium has fostered new collaborative research projects in the areas of systems biology and neuropsychiatric diseases such as depression.”

PKU Professor of College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering Mei Zheng shared, “We appreciate the opportunity provided by JRI for collaboration, and active exchange of ideas and most recent research findings between faculty of PKU and UCLA in the area of air pollution, environmental health, and climate change. I am very happy to have established pleasant and fruitful collaboration with UCLA Professors Yifang Zhu and Suzanne Paulson. Their students worked in my lab during summer, and we have joint publications through this collaboration.”


Faculty from both schools meet to brainstorm for funding 

The day prior to the symposium, an Image Processing working group meeting was held that included researchers from the recently funded award from the NSFC. On the day following the symposium, PKU and UCLA faculty met to brainstorm additional ways to apply for joint funding.

For the full program of the symposium, please visit

JRI was founded in 2009 with the intention of fostering new and existing collaborations between UCLA and Peking University. Under the co-direction of Xiaoming Li (PKU) and Jason Cong (UCLA), JRI trains future science and engineering leaders with a global perspective, secures joint funding, and facilitates technology transfer of research results. JRI aims to serve both institutions as they jointly confront global concerns in science and engineering.

For more info please contact:
Erin Hakim

Published: Monday, June 20, 2016