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The Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences Oxford Institute (COI) - Institute of Medicinal Plant Development (IMPLAD) Joint Symposium was held from September 21st to 22nd in Haikou, Hainan.

The objective of this meeting is to explore opportunities for drug target discovery with the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS). The meeting aims to promote high-level academic exchanges between China and the UK, explore the frontier progress and latest achievements in the study of medicinal plants, and promote the construction of the CAMS Oxford Institute.

Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences has a rich source of medicinal plant extracts and isolated natural compounds with documented medical effects against chronic inflammation, cancer, neurodegeneration, and metabolic diseases. Experts from the CAMS network and specialists in drug and target discovery from the UK/CN presented and discussed how high-throughput screening & discovery methods that could be applied to uncover novel molecular principles of therapeutics derived from Chinese medicinal plants. The missions of this meeting are to increase team collaboration between the PIs from CAMS system and the University of Oxford to improve the scientific research level of medicinal plants, accelerate the transformation of medicinal plants in healthcare, and expand the influence of medicinal plant therapeutics. This meeting was co-organized by the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, CN, and the University of Oxford, UK. The Institute of Medicinal Plant Development Hainan Branch, CAMS, hosted this meeting. More than 40 experts and researchers from China and the United Kingdom participated in the meeting. This meeting promoted in-depth exchanges and discussions between Chinese and British scholars, and further enhanced mutual understanding towards a conservative and cooperative relationship.

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Focusing on the theme of “Target Discovery of Medicinal Plants”, Prof. Jiandong Jiang (Dean, IMM, CAMS), Prof. Chengyu Jiang (Vice Dean, IBMS, CAMS), Prof. Xiaobo Sun (Dean, IMPLAD, CAMS), Prof. Jingyuan Song (IMPLAD, CAMS), Prof. Zhongmei Zou (IMPLAD, CAMS), Prof. Jianhe Wei (Director, IMPLAD Hainan Branch, CAMS), Prof. Meihua Yang (Vice Dean, IMPLAD Hainan Branch, CAMS), Dr. Guang Li (Assistant Dean, IMPLAD Yunnan Branch, CAMS), Prof. Yuejuan Zheng (Vice Dean, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine), and Prof. Yuling Ma (Oxford) reported the research progress in the application of Chinese herbal medicines. Prof. Tao Dong (Director of COI, Oxford), Prof. Benedikt Kessler (TDI, Oxford), Prof. Dan Ebner (Head of HTS, TDI, Oxford), Prof. Roman Fischer (TDI, Oxford), Dr. Dan Li (DPAG, Oxford), Prof. Mukram Mackeen (the National Institute of Malaysia) introduced the application of high-throughput screening technologies in the field of drug discovery from their respective research fields.

CAMS and the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom jointly established the CAMS Oxford Institute in December 2017. This is the first time in more than 800 years that Oxford has established a research unit for external institutions to build on its campus. The establishment of COI is an exploration to integrate Chinese and British medical research into the world's “frontier highlands”. CAMS and Oxford have established a close partnership through high-level collaboration and communication mechanism between China and the UK. Such a partnership has shed light on future cooperation between the two institutions. COI focuses on the research frontiers of medical science and technology innovation, working together to solve major medical and health problems facing China and the UK and the world, and writing a new chapter for building a community of human destiny.