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Experts share how animal health and welfare can benefit humans

Hong Kong AFCD

Experts share how animal health and welfare can benefit humans

World-leading experts from the University of Edinburgh will be key players at a two-day workshop that addresses major health threats facing people and animals.

Edinburgh scientists and experts from Hong Kong and mainland China will discuss how advances in veterinary research (due in part to imaging advances) are improving animal health and welfare - and how this knowledge is being translated into improved treatments for human conditions.

The workshop - which will take place in Hong Kong from 20 to 21 April - is being organised by the University of Edinburgh and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government.

The event will include discussion of animal and human health issues facing Hong Kong and its surrounds, and encourage collaboration between experts in Edinburgh and Hong Kong.

Delegates from the University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies will be joined by colleagues from the University’s Roslin Institute, which created the world’s first cloned mammal, Dolly the sheep, in 1996.

Topics for discussion include how biotechnology can be used to combat infectious diseases in production animals and the ways in which new medical techniques can help to preserve endangered wildlife.

There will also be an examination of antiviral drug development and its impact on Avian Influenza and a session on how new medical research is set to benefit the health and welfare of horses.

Professor David Argyle, Dean of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, is one of eight experts from Edinburgh travelling to Hong Kong. He said: “The University of Edinburgh is carrying out pioneering work in the emerging discipline known as One Health - the idea that human and animal health are closely aligned".

Recent advances in genomic technologies, cell biology and molecular imaging, as well as bioinformatics are transforming this field.

"Major challenges facing the world’s population need grand visions. By working closely with our partners in Hong Kong, we aim to achieve these.”

The AFCD has been at the forefront of recent efforts to combat emerging infectious diseases in Hong Kong, such as Avian Influenza. The importance of a holistic approach has been highlighted during this time. By sharing knowledge with colleagues from Edinburgh, staff from the AFCD will be able to share insights from a world-renowned institution.

Hong Kong is important to the University of Edinburgh, with more than 300 students from the city currently studying at Edinburgh. This includes more than 30 students at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.

Edinburgh - ranked as one of the world’s top 20 universities - is one of the UK’s leading research institutions, a position confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) evaluation. The REF placed the University as Scotland’s top-ranked research institution, with 83 per cent of the University’s research activity classified as ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.

The University, founded in 1583, has a strong emphasis on international collaboration and recruitment, with more than 40 per cent of its student intake coming from overseas.

Hong Kong AFCD