Date：22 July (Thursday)
Time: 12:20 – 13:50 (GMT+8)
Director, Department of Research Planning and Development, National Health Research Institutes
Distinguished Investigator, Institute of Molecular and Genomic Medicine
Prof. Tsai studied medicine at Taipei Medical College, Taiwan, before obtaining his Ph.D., at the Division of Human Genetics, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, City University of New York, USA. Following numerous fellowships through renowned institutions across United States including Division of Medical Genetics, Mt. Sinai Medical Center, New York, USA (1987-1988), Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, USA (1988-1990), Division of Hematology/Oncology, Children's Hospital, Boston, USA (1988-1990), Prof. Tsai joined the Institute of Genetics, National Yang-Ming University, Taiwan, where he acted as Associate Professor until 1997.
Prof. Tsai then began as a Professor at the Institute of Genetics, National Yang-Ming University, Taiwan, a position he has held for over 20 years. During this time, Prof. Tsai helped the establishment of genome research facility at the National Yang-Ming University and the National Health Research Institutes, acting as Director, Division of Molecular and Genomic Medicine, National Health Research Institutes, Taiwan from 2000 to 2007. Since 2017, Prof. Tsai has been the Director of Department of Research Planning and Development. He has played an active role in leading NHRI research development and engineering key international collaboration programs with Japan and USA. He is the Principle Investigator of the Flagship Program of Precision Medicine for AsiaPacific Biomedical Silicon Valley.
Prof. Tsai's research areas include human genetics, cancer genomics, and microbial genomics. His laboratory has applied genetic mapping and genomic technology to identifying genes associated with human diseases. Using high-throughput genotyping and DNA sequencing, recently, his laboratory has succeeded in discovering the genes responsible for two inherited diseases: type II collagen in osteonecrosis and IL6 receptor family genes in primary cutaneous amyloidosis. Also, he has characterized the genomic alterations associated with lung cancer and liver cancer and investigated the genetic basis determining individual difference in cancer treatment response. In the microbial genomics filed, Professor Tsai is a world expert on several important pathogenic bacteria, including V. vulnificus, K. pneumoniae, A. baumannii, and M. tuberculosis, all of which pose threats to health globally.
Taiwan is a country with over 23 million population. Our health care system is one of the best in the world, and the Taiwan citizens have good knowledge about gene and health. Taiwan is very strong in information technology (IT) and everyone is well connected to the system. Our NHRI team has been supported by Taiwan government’s “Flagship” Program from 2017-2020, and we have established a system to apply high-throughput DNA sequencing using the state-of-art Illumina Novaseq6000 system. We have worked with medical centers, universities, and the private sector to effectively generate genomic data for patients of genetic disorders and cancer. Also, we have engaged with international partners to share the technology and know-how for developing precision medicine. We envision that the Taiwan model can provide clinical services of gene-based medical care to the Chinese living in all continents. Many countries are infusing resources to population-based precision health programs, which combines the data of genomics, environmental factors, and personal behaviors into the prediction of disease risk. Beginning in 2021, Taiwan has increased spending on building the infrastructure to collect disease-related genomic information from eight hospitals, and these data will be applied to search for “biomarkers” for the prediction and management of prevalent diseases. We are moving from precision medicine (focusing on personalized treatment) to precision health (focusing on disease prevention). In order to effectively use the clinical resources, it is crucial to cross the barriers between medical institutions, and to standardize and share the data. Also, the biological specimens should be collected and distributed effectively, together with the clinical information. Coordination between governmental agencies is essential and health-related cohort data are central to the establishment of precision health industry. NHRI is campaigning the public-private partnership (PPP) spirit for all concerning parties to make contribute to this new health care industry.