SCBA 25-Year Anniversary Gala Opening Speech
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to the 25th Anniversary Celebration of the Seattle Chinese Biomedical Association!
Today is a very special day. 25 years ago in 1993, SCBA was founded out of University of Washington. I want you ALL to take a brief moment to recollect, what was happening in your life in 1993, when Google was not even a word, iPhone was just a science fiction, and Amazon was meant to be a river in South America. I will give you a few vignettes to put people in this room into perspective:
- The Human Genome Project was just launched;
- The movie “Sleepless in Seattle” was released;
- Bill Gates attracted Lee Hood from CalTech to Seattle, to start Molecular Biotechnology at UW;
- WANG Xiaodong was a postdoc with Joe Goldstein and Michael Brown, just purified the famous SREBP family of membrane-bound transcription factors;
- DONG Chen started his PhD in immunology with Max Cooper at Alabama;
- I was finishing up my Medical School in China and getting ready for graduate school at Michigan State;
- Right here in Seattle, a group of fearless Chinese Scholars WANG Jian, YU Jun, HUANG Jieyu, and a few others, they got together and decided to start an academic gathering which later became known as SCBA. The mission was to bridge and promote biomedical research among Chinese researchers.
25 years could span the entire career for many. SCBA is a perfect lens to see through a generation of overseas Chinese scholars, as they train, work, struggle, survive, and thrive in both US and China. What they have accomplished are mind-boggling. I will share a few exemplars with you:
- WANG Jian and YU Jun co-founded BGI, which became a global powerhouse in genomics. BGI went public last year, and Mr. Wang is among the most successful entrepreneurs in China.
- WANG Xiaodong’s research on Apoptosis was so successful, he became the first overseas Chinese scholar (since the 80s) to be elected into the US National Academy of Science at the young age of 41. To give you some context, there are over 6 millions of overseas Chinese scholars to date. He later co-founded the National Institute for Biological Sciences in Beijing (a huge success of course), and a Global Biopharma Company BeiGene. BeiGene went public on NASDAQ and HK last year, the market cap is over 20 Billion Dollars. [Yes, He is a Billionaire indeed ☺]
- DONG Chen, also known as Mr. Th17, a former UW professor of Immunology and a collaborator of mine for over 15 years. Seems that he only publishes on CNS (Cell/Nature/Science). His papers have been cited for over 37,000 times. He is currently Dean of Medical School at Tsinghua University, arguably the best University in China.
- There are many more inspiring stories from our SCBA members, about 1000 of them. Professors XU Wenqing, ZHENG Ning, GAO Dayong, LI Linheng, LIU Shanlv, MU Hua, just to name a few. You will have a chance to hear their fascinating stories tomorrow!
I want to stress that a humble non-profit like SCBA, has made a lasting impact in the global biomedical enterprise. I’m so thrilled that these distinguished alumni have come back and join us tonight. There are so much to celebrate: ones’ career, ones’ life. And tonight, they all belong to SCBA.
I’m so proud to be a part of, and to have led this extraordinary organization. Our mission will continue; our future is bright–knowingly the path will be strenuous. But I am determined, and I am optimistic.
I want to thank every one of you, for being here tonight, for all your supports over the years. Especially, my mentor of lifetime, Dr. Lee Hood; colleagues from UW, ISB, P4Medicine Institute, Swedish, Providence and Fred Hutch; my fellow board members, physicians, industrial leaders, and all the generous sponsors who have made the celebration tonight possible.
I implore to you all, let’s work together to weather all the difficult climates, naturally and politically, for a better and healthier world!
“China Meets Seattle, Sleepless One More Night!”. Let’s Celebrate and Have Some Fun! Thank You!