Outline of a world map

Provost's Global Faculty Awards

2023-24 Beijing Recipients

Academic Events

Annual Conference on Advanced Therapies for Solid Tumors and Academic Development

PIs: J. Michael Millis, Mitchell Posner, Department of Surgery
Partner Organization(s): Peking University Medical College

This will be the 9th year for this important conference. Prior to the COVID hiatus, this had become a significant conference for the international cancer community. We have been successful in having distinguished speakers from all disciplines associated with the care of the cancer patient - Surgery, Medical Oncology, Radiation Therapy, Interventional Radiology, and Basic Science fields. The speakers are so prestigious and excellent speakers that this year we will make a concerted effort to increase the size of the conference. We will likely need to use the larger conference room. We have contacted a media company that will live stream the talks and this will be our 2nd year of using a AI system for speaker translation. We will continue to use on site translators this year as well. The theme for this years conference will be the explosion of new systemic therapies for hepatocellular carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma. In addition we invite a surgical research resident to present at the conference and have on site clinical exposure to the hepatobilary surgery service at PUMCH.

China-US Conference on Clinical Ethics Consultation

PI: Peter Angelos, Department of Surgery
Partner Organization(s): Peking University, Peking University Medical College, Peking University Third Hospital

Before  a feasible and well-designed model for clinical medical ethics consultations in China can be developed, it would be useful to organize a workshop to introduce the working style at the University of Chicago. The Maclean Center’s Clinical Medical Ethics Fellowship Program is the oldest, largest, and most successful Clinical Ethics fellowship program in the world. Since beginning the fellowship program in 1981, the Center has trained more than 450 fellows, including 300 physicians. Graduates of the MacLean Fellowship have served as directors of more than 40 ethics programs in the United States, Canada, South America, Europe, Africa, Australia and China. MacLean Center fellowship graduates have held faculty appointments at more than 60 university programs in the US and Canada. More than 25 fellowship graduates have held endowed university professorships. Former fellows of the MacLean Center have written more than 180 books and thousands of peer-reviewed journal articles. Many of the graduates of the fellowship program, including more than 75 surgeons, are academic leaders and mentors who represent a network of expertise that advances scholarship in clinical medical ethics and works to improve patient care. In 2016, Johns Hopkins University presented the Meyerhoff Award to the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics. The award stated: “The training programs established by you, including more than 350 clinical fellows across almost 35 years, have had a greater impact than any other clinical ethics training program in the world.”

Importantly, in 2018 and 2019, the University of Chicago hosted 11 Chicago Clinical Leadership Development fellows from China for a year long fellowship that included the full scope of the MacLean Clinical Medical Ethics Fellowship. These are 611 fellows from 9 of the China Medical Board's recognized Elite Teaching Hospitals. These hospital train the vast majority of medical leaders in China. In sum, the workshop is the preparing for the future collaboration between the University of Chicago MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics and the current and future leaders of healthcare in China.

Medical & Surgical Decisions in Critically Ill Patients: Cross-Cultural Perspectives

PIs: Peter Angelos, Michael Millis, Department of Surgery; Micah Prochaska, Department of Medicine

The ethical issues confronting physicians in contemporary medical practice continue to grow. For some challenging clinical situations there are clear standards of care that guides the clinical decisions. However, in ethically challenging situations, there are frequently not clear answers about what is the best way to proceed. We propose to explore these gray areas where the ethically optimal approach is not clear to consider how different cultural assumptions affect the recommendations that clinicians make for their patients. We believe that an international conference to explore these issues in Beijing and Hong Kong will prove to be beneficial for all participants to understand different approaches to ethically challenging clinical situations.

Neuromodulation in neurological and psychiatric disorders

PI: Xiaoxi Zhuang, Department of Neurobiology

We propose a symposium to further develop the hypothesis that many brain disorders are “bad memories” in which specific aberrant “memories” lead to specific behavioral abnormalities (e.g. dyskinesia, obsessive and compulsive disorder, PTSD). Therefore, permanently erasing such “bad memories” selectively would be the most effective therapy, in contrast to the current treatments that suppress the symptoms during the short time window after medication. The success of such an approach will rely on our understanding of mechanisms of synaptic plasticity and memory consolidation. It's already known that neuromodulators play key roles in changing synaptic strength in diseases. However, how to use it to erase specific memories is not known.

The proposed symposium will take advantage of UChicago’s strength in learning and memory research; bring together leading researchers in other universities and in China. China has unique strengths in neuroscience; it has emerged as a leader in monkey research especially in disease models. China also has large patient populations concentrated in a few established hospitals in Beijing and Shanghai.

The most important outcome of the symposium would be to spark new ideas and generate new research directions. It will foster new collaborations, and enhance UChicago’s international visibility.

Exploratory Trips

Planning “The Next Generation of Chinese Art Historians” Collaborative Project

PIs: Wu Hung, Department of Art History

I am applying for funding to travel to China, to discuss a major collaborative project with Peking University. Called “The Next Generation of Chinese Art Historians,” this multi-year project will be co-organized by the Center for the Art of East Asia (CAEA) at the University of Chicago and the School of Art at Peking University (Beida), and will include scholarly exchanges, conferences, workshops, and publications. I started discussing this project with key personnel at Beida, including then President Hao Ping, Vice President Wang Bo, and Director Peng Feng, back in 2018 and 2019. They, as well as then President Zimmer who participated in one of these conversations, all endorsed the vision, but the pandemic interrupted the discussion. Now I plan to visit Beida in the fall of 2023 to renew this process. I will meet with Beida’s president and vice president, and introduce the plan to several related departments and institutes in that university. The keystone will be to hold a series of meetings with the director and professors at the School of Art to discuss the state of art history in China and to draft a five-year collaborative plan, to be further discussed with colleagues at the University of Chicago. While in China I will also meet with the directors of some other major art history programs, including those in the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Renmin University, Fudan University, and Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, to solicit their support and suggestions.

Replicating ECHO Training in China: A Demonstration Project

PI: Daniel Johnson, Department of Pediatrics
Partner Organization(s): Tongji University School of Medicine

The Extension for Community Health Outcomes (ECHO), originally developed by the University of New Mexico in 2003, is an innovative workforce development model for expanding primary care capacity in underserved communities. The ECHO-Chicago program at UChicago Medicine, established in 2010, is the third longest running ECHO program worldwide and the first to apply the model to an urban setting. Through Zoom, ECHO-Chicago “moves knowledge, not patients” by bringing together community-based providers and subject matter experts to engage in curriculum driven training and case-based learning that focuses on helping providers navigate real-world challenges to best practice implementation. The effectiveness of the ECHO model has fueled the spread of ECHO programs around the world. Today, there are >900 ECHO training centers across 63 countries; but there are no ECHO training centers in China. ECHO-Chicago recently received notification about receipt of a 3-year grant from the Cyrus Tang Foundation. We are now completing the grant contract details. This grant will fund an initial demonstration project to provide proof of concept for implementation of ECHO programming in China. It will also lay the foundation for scaling ECHO programs in China in the future. Funding from the 2024 Global Faculty Awards program will help support travel to China during the initial year of the demonstration project. Travel to China will help us to strengthen the partnership and facilitate collaboration with our Chinese partners, which includes the Tongji University School of Medicine and its network of 10 community hospitals and 7 community health science centers in Shanghai. Additionally, we will be working closely with the UChicago Center in Beijing and the China Medical Board’s Beijing Office to explore partnerships with additional institutions across China that may be interested in starting their own ECHO programs.

Research Projects

China’s Youth in Transition: A Long-Term Study of How Youth Adapt to Work Life

PI: Thomas Talhelm, Booth School of Business
Partner Organization(s): Wenzhou Kean University

China's young generation is becoming increasingly disillusioned and frustrated with their work and life situations. After graduating from school, they face challenges with limited job opportunities and changing social norms. The generation before them went to work at a time when the economy was booming. This project investigates the critical life junction China's youth are facing in the transition to work and adult life.

This project is a rare longitudinal project, building on our foundational work in 2022. In 2022, over 20 million Chinese youth between the ages of 16 and 24 were unemployed in cities. Millions more were unemployed in rural areas. Societal and economic pressures are high. Inflation is increasing as life gradually returns to normal after Zero-COVID.

We began by tracking 600 young people in 84 cities to explore the trajectories of their work and life. We measured workplace organizational context factors, personal characteristics (e.g., ambitions and goals), and lifestyle changes and challenges (Figure 1).

In this year's 2023-2024 Provost Faculty Award, we want to turn this foundation into a true longitudinal study. With the support of the Provost Faculty Award, we will track this rare sample to gain a deeper understanding of their experiences as they represent the post-Covid youth. We propose four research questions:

  1. How have China's youth emerged from this life-altering pandemic, and what are some of the most prominent psychological changes they have experienced?
  2. How are China's youth handling the transition from college to work, and in what ways are young employees thriving at work?
  3. In this time of immense personal transformation and social change, how are China's youth forming their work and personal social relationships?
  4. How are China's youth forming their professional work identity, and do their professional work and life identities impact each other?

Cultural Beliefs of Learning Mathematics: The Importance of Effort and Enjoyment

PIs: Susan Levine, Yu Zhang, Department of Psychology
Partner Organization(s): Tsinghua Laboratory of Brain and Intelligence

The project aims to understand how cultural beliefs and values shape parents’ and children’s math learning goals and decision-making processes. Prior research indicates that Western cultures put more emphasis on enjoyment and interest in learning whereas East Asian cultures put more emphasis on effortful learning as a process of self-cultivation. Relatedly, passion (e.g., enjoyment, interest) is a strong predictor of academic achievement in individualistic cultures, whereas collectivist cultures tend to attribute academic success to their effort. In the proposed research we aim to examine whether these characterizations hold for a particular domain of learning – mathematics. Our focus on mathematics is driven by the importance of success in mathematics to STEM success more broadly. Additionally, with increased globalization, we are particularly interested in whether the rather stark cultural differences that have emerged from prior research no longer hold. The project involves samples of children and parents drawn from China as well as the United States and utilizes both quantitative and qualitative methods. The understanding of such cultural differences can be highly beneficial for educators and policymakers in designing culturally sensitive and effective educational programs and interventions.

Duty to the Self: Comparing the Fundamental Moral Values of People in the US and China

PI: Fan Yang, Department of Psychology
Partner Organization(s): Tsinghua University

People across different cultures believe in various types of moral obligations to others. But to what extend do we also believe that we have obligations to the self? This important question has been debated by philosophers for a long time, and there is little empirical work in moral psychology about people’s beliefs of duty to the self. People’s endorsement to duty to the self may vary across cultures––it is possible that people in individualistic cultures are more likely to endorse duty to the self than people in collective cultures.To explore lay people’s moral intuitions about duty to the self and their cultural origins, our project aims to examine three related questions among people in the US and in China: 1) The nature of our beliefs about duty to the self: whether and why adults in these cultures believe in duty to the self; 2) The developmental origins of this belief: whether children in these cultures start to endorse duty to the self from a young age; 3) The psychological consequences of this belief: Whether people who endorse duty to the self are more likely to engage in self-care behaviors and are happier, and whether these effects differ in the US and in China. Our project will reveal the nature, cultural origins, and consequences of duty to the self as a distinct moral value, which will provide a deeper understanding of our morality and promote a more fulfilling life.

Reassessing Timber-Frame Architectural Traditions in Southeast Shanxi, China: A Synthetic Approach

PI: Wei-Cheng Lin, Department of Art History
Partner Organization(s): Tsinghua University, Peking University, Taiyuan University of Technology

China is well-known for its timber-frame architectural tradition. Built in wood and consisting of a skeletal framework and non-loadbearing walls, Chinese timber-frame architecture is highly flexible, and its material imparts a sense of organicity and cyclicity through periodic rebuilding. Timber, however, is perishable and subject to fire, termites, and natural causes. Preserving timber structures throughout China’s history was thus more than technicality but also involved issues of cultural practices and environmental humanities.

The southeast region of the present-day Shanxi Province has the country's highest density of historical timber architecture. Approximately 70% of China's surviving timber structures dated before the 13th century are in the region. Yet not in the proximity of metropolitan areas, architectural traditions in southeastern Shanxi have been characterized as regional. To contrast mainstream historical narratives and remedy the current scholarship’s lack of awareness of the topic and research materials, this proposal calls for a synthetic approach that treats architecture not merely as a physical structure but encompasses an aggregate of socio-cultural factors. In the two-day workshop, specialists and local officials will be invited to join five thematic panel discussions with the goal of charting the paths for the project to move forward.

The Origin of Genes: Sexual Selection, Sexual Conflict and Neutrality

PI: Manyuan Long, Department of Ecology and Evolution
Partner Organization(s): Peking University, Japanese National Institute of Genetics

I propose to investigate evolutionary forces acting on the origination processes of new genes by collaborating with colleagues in three institutes in China and Japan. This project will be distinct but complementary to my academic exchange with colleagues in U.S., Canada and European countries in a book writing project entitled “the Origin of Genes”, which was partially supported by my John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship for Biology. I plan to visit two institutes in Beijing to study sexual selection and sexual conflict (SS&SC) by examining the paleontological data in the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) and cucumber single sex flowers in the School of Life Science at Peking University (PKU). I also plan to visit Japan’s National Institute of Genetics (JNIG) near Tokyo to investigate the neutral theory of molecular evolution as an evolutionary force alternative to SS&SC. I shall work with the internationally outstanding experts in the three institutes in China and Japan to compare the morphological data of bird and dinosaur fossils at IVPP, molecular expression in the male flowers of cucumber at PKU and theoretical predictions of the neutral theory. I shall investigate the roles of these comparisons and theoretical results in new genes evolution.

Training Initiatives

International Experience in Global Health: Beijing

PIs: J. Michael Millis, Department of Surgery
Partner Organization(s): Peking University Medical College Hospital, Chines Academy of Medical Sciences

PUMCH, the top ranked hospital that is affiliated with PUMC, the top ranked medical school in China have a long relationships with the University of Chicago School of Medicine and Hospital that dates back more than 100 years. Prior to COVID, PUMC sent 6-10 medical students to UChicago Medicine for at least a 2 week week period to observe health care at the University of Chicago. PUMC/PUMCH would like to re-start this relationship and in reciprocity they would host UChicago medical students for 2 weeks at PUMC/PUMCH. This would be clinical observerships in the department of our medical student's choosing. The students would be expected to prepare a brief report on how they witnessed differences and similarities in the patient care model and clinical research if applicable from what they have seen in the US.

Residency Exchange Program and International Medical Educators Program Conference

PIs: Jonathan Lio, Renslow Sherer, Department of Medicine
Partner Organization(s): Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University

With the support of the Provost’s Global Faculty Award, we propose to re-initiate and expand the residency exchange program to include Wuhan University residency programs in addition to the existing partnership with Peking Union Medical College Hospital (PUMCH). In 2014, the University of Chicago established a partnership with PUMCH to provide mutual clinical observational opportunities for residents from three disciplines – General Surgery, Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. Since then, over 50 residents from two institutes have benefited from the direct clinical observational opportunities and contributed to the engagement of important dialogues in the areas of residency training standards, clinical competency building, evaluation methods, clinical ethics and faculty development. The inclusion of Wuhan University as an exchange destination will enrich residents’ clinical exposure and further strengthen disciplinary development and institutional partnership.

In addition to the residency exchange program, we envision a joint conference on medical education curriculum design collaborating with PUMCH and Wuhan University. This event is a culmination of the International Medical Educators Program (IMEP), an annual faculty training program focused on curriculum development methods and teaching skills in medicine since 2019 with participants from Beijing, Wuhan and Guangzhou. Through this event, we hope to showcase the best practices of curriculum design and implementation highlighting IMEP method.