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Vol 19, No. 11, November 2015   |   Issue PDF view/purchase
Duke-Kunshan University - Professor Fang-Fang Yin

Fang-Fang Yin is a professor and director of radiation physics in radiation oncology department at Duke-Kunshan University. He obtained BS in physics from Zhejiang University and MS in physics from Bowling Green State University, and PhD in medical physics from the University of Chicago. Prof. Yin’s research focuses on stereotactic radiosurgery, stereotactic body radiation therapy, treatment planning optimization, knowledge guided radiation therapy, intensity-modulated radiation therapy, image-guided radiation therapy, oncological imaging and informatics, and quality improvement and assurance.

How did Duke-Kunshan University establish as a university campus? And is there a particular reason that Kunshan is the preferred choice for Duke University to establish collaborative work and to extend their academic wing?

Education is becoming increasingly global. Students want to live and study in a global environment, and employers want to hire students who are comfortable in global settings. In recent years, education reform has been on top of agendas of many governments in the industrial world. The establishment of Duke-Kunshan University (DKU) is a prompt response to the call of The Outline of the National Plan for Medium and Long-Term Education Reform and Development (2010-2020) to introduce quality educational resources from foreign countries

DKU is a Sino-American partnership of Duke University and Wuhan University to create a world-class, liberal arts research university in the city of Kunshan, China. DKU obtained establishment approval from the Ministry of Education in September 2013 and opened in August 2014.

Kunshan is a prosperous, forward-thinking and rapidly expanding city in the Yangtze River Delta. Historically, Kunshan was a cultural hub for centuries, offers students a unique and conducive environment to learn and develop. The city enjoys close proximity to Shanghai and Suzhou and is connected to both by high-speed rail and highways. For many years, the city has wanted to establish a world-class university to drive and enhance its innovation for long-term, sustainable development.

Are there ongoing research work and study-exchange between Duke University and Duke-Kunshan? Can you please highlight a few of the research themes?

DKU initially offers master’s degree programs in medical physics (through the Duke Medical Physics Graduate Program), global health (through the Duke Global Health Institute) and management studies (through the Fuqua School of Business at Duke). These three graduate programs lead to Duke University degrees. These programs offer the opportunity to study at Duke University or to conduct research outside of China. For example, the graduate students at DKU Medical Physics Graduate Program will have the opportunity to study at Duke University for six months, starting from the first-year summer session through the second Fall semester, to conduct medical physics thesis research with faculty at Duke and to take courses together with Duke graduate students.

DKU also offers a non-degree undergraduate semester program, the Undergraduate Global Learning Semester program, to undergraduate students enrolled at other universities in China and across the world. Their study at DKU leads to Duke University credit across several disciplines. Several Duke undergraduate students have studied at DKU through this program.

The Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI) and DKU have jointly established a Global Health Research Center (GHRC) on DKU campus. GHRC works closely with DGHI on research in such areas as non-communicable diseases, health policy and systems, and environmental health.

Recently, Wuhan University and Duke University also announced the establishment of a joint research institute at DKU. The “WHU-DUKE Research Institute at DKU” will serve as a joint research platform to attract faculty and students from Wuhan, Duke, and DKU, and scholars from around the world, to collaborate on research projects of common interest. Initially focusing on research in the physical sciences and engineering, issues concerning China’s development and economic transformation, contemporary Chinese thought and culture, and higher education internationalization, the institute complements DKU’s Global Health Research Center and overall research agenda.

The postgraduate medical-related courses at Duke-Kunshan are very specialized, and it is not common among most universities in Asia. Could you please share with us on why Duke-Kunshan is a recommended place to attend the postgraduate courses? (i.e. Medical Physics, Global Health and Management Studies)

The postgraduate curricula initially offered at DKU respond to China’s needs of talents in these areas, esp. medical physics and global health. For example, China will need 5000-8000 clinical medical physicists to provide high quality patient care in radiation therapy. The medical physics graduate program is aimed to provide well-educated medical physicists for this need in China

Do students have the opportunity to be engaged in industrial work experience? And to be part of a research work that may potentially lead to a scientific publication?

DKU offers students a lot of opportunities in field trips, practicum and internships. The goal is to expose DKU student to real-world practice and experience as well as to apply classroom learning to real problems.

In the global health program, DKU students are expected to work with faculty mentors to develop a field-based research project, for which they have to spend at least 10 weeks in the field. The research results lead to a master’s thesis with a good likelihood of being published.

In medical physics program, we partnered with leading medical device manufacturers in China so that students get exposed to the modern medical devices from the beginning of their graduate studies and will have the opportunity to work with excellent scientists/engineers in the industry and potentially select device manufacture/development in industries as their future career.

There’s a very interesting course at Duke-Kunshan University, Neuro-economics. Is it more of a social behavioral course or a neurobiology course, or a fusion of both? Please share with us on the course structure, and any information regarding the previous intake and class.

“Duke Neuroeconomics in China” is a 6-week summer program at DKU. For specific information about this program, please visit the program webpage: https://dku.edu.cn/en/academics/duke-neuroeconomics-in-china

What are the medical-related courses that Duke-Kunshan will be establishing in the coming months, or near future?

There are and will be various types of medical-related courses in both the global health and medical physics programs.

As DKU continues to expand its course offerings and faculty size, there will be more medical-related courses but at the moment no specific planning has been confirmed for the near future

What are the attributes of Duke-Kunshan University graduates?

Smart, diverse background, global perspective, interdisciplinary, problem-solving skills, etc.

Please share with us on the intake, scholarship funding and accommodation for international students.

More than 250 students have studied under DKU’s academic programs, and about one third are graduate students with the three graduate programs. Coming from more than a dozen countries in the world, international students account for nearly 50% of the master’s students.

DKU is committed to enrolling a highly talented, diverse and international student body. Scholarship support is available to help achieve these goals, and DKU is dedicated to providing full or partial scholarships to students who need financial support.

And the opportunities to pursue a doctorate degree in the United States or in China?

DKU doesn’t offer any doctorate-degree program yet, but students are encouraged to consider relevant doctorate studies at Duke University.

For example, medical physics graduate students will have the same opportunity as those at the Duke University to apply for PhD degree in Duke Medical Physics Graduate program.

This interview was completed in October 2015. Editor: Yuhui N. Lin

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