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Officials with Middle Tennessee State University and China’s Guangxi University of Chinese Medicine signed an agreement Monday (Dec. 17) solidifying their ties with regard to cooperative research of agricultural residues and traditional medicine.
MTSU Provost Mark Byrnes signed the documents along with Jiagang Deng, who is part of a team of researchers and a major editor for the book, “Medicinal Studies of Agricultural Residues I,” which he signed and presented to Byrnes during the meeting held in the President’s Conference Room.
In the agreement, MTSU will join the team of collaborative institutes of Guangxi Collaborative Innovation Center for Research on Functional Ingredients of Agricultural Residues, a research institute based in China at Guangxi University.
Together, they will participate in joint programs of medicinal research and product development on agricultural botanical residues, including aerial parts of American ginseng and persimmon, mango and sugarcane leaves.
“We’re excited about the opportunity of continued cooperation with you,” Byrnes told Deng and other members of the visiting Chinese delegation. “We look forward to educational opportunities for our faculty and students, and for economic opportunities that will arise with this.”
Through interpreter Iris Gao, an associate professor in the MTSU School of Agriculture and researcher with the International Ginseng Institute, Deng shared “how very grateful he was with MTSU” for the partnership and thanked everyone for the hospitality during the three-day visit. He also praised Gao for her role in the process.
Deng said he and his team look forward “to successful collaboration opportunities” and added a thank-you “for the opportunity for our faculty and students to visit MTSU. … We welcome you, your president (Sidney A. McPhee) and colleagues to visit our campus.”
Other aspects of the agreement include:
• Both universities will promote the study of the biochemical and physiologic effects of traditional medicine — mechanisms of action and toxicity of botanical materials, including kernel oil, Compound Yizhi granule and ginseng extracts.
• MTSU and Guangxi will jointly contribute to the completion and publication of the reference text, “Medicinal Plants in China and the United States,” and pursue funding to support publication of the same in their respective countries.
• Based on Guangxi University’s experience, both will be willing to make joint efforts to develop and promote health products derived from traditional botanical medicine in the U.S. market.
• Both will facilitate the short-term exchange of staff and postgraduate students.
• The rights of ownership to intellectual property jointly developed by both universities will be shared by both.
Gao said that “not only will the research collaboration be great, but both universities will work together in the commercialization of herbal medicines.”
MTSU alumnus Paul Martin Jr., chief managing member of Clarity Resources LLC, said “MTSU’s oldest China collaboration is one Dr. McPhee brought (originally) and the program is to the point where it offers academic and commercial opportunities — and MTSU’s a prime business area.”
Martin said this is a strong “investment in time and money” for McPhee, whose trips to China to further develop partnerships are funded by private donors.
In addition to the book, Deng also gave Byrnes a package with two containers of herbal tea from the Guangxi University of Chinese Medicine.
MTSU has more than 300 combined undergraduate and graduate programs.