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Yin is new director of Wisconsin China Initiative

by Kerry G. Hill

Jerry C.P. Yin, professor in the Departments of Genetics and Neurology, has been named as the new faculty director of the Wisconsin China Initiative (WCI) by Vice Provost and Dean Guido Podestá of the University of Wisconsin–Madison International Division.

“Jerry brings to this important position a broad understanding not just of China, but of the East Asia region,” Podestá says. “He will play a leading role in our efforts to strengthen connections across the campus and to bring together faculty and staff who are interested and engaged in this region. In particular, he will be instrumental in developing more cross-campus collaborations with the Center for East Asian Studies (CEAS) and other centers in the Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS).”

Podestá says Yin also will serve as a special advisor to the dean on China-related matters.

After receiving his Ph.D. in molecular biology from UW–Madison in 1986, Yin did post-doctoral research at MIT and at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, where he became an assistant professor in 1995 and associate professor in 2000. He returned to UW–Madison in 2004 as a full professor in genetics and neurology.

Yin, who has served on WCI’s faculty leadership committee, has had a long-standing interest and interaction with China, including a degree in East Asian Studies, a 15-month stint working in a joint venture in China started by Promega Corporation, and numerous trips there as a visitor and lecturer.

“Building upon the initial excitement and progress of the WCI, we hope to broaden campus-wide participation, and make the WCI self-sustaining,” Yin says.

“Historically, one of the challenges with UW–Madison’s different engagements with China has been the transient nature of the ventures, mostly due to personnel turnover at the grassroots – faculty and administration – levels. We hope to make the WCI a self-perpetuating effort, and one that can benefit the different UW–Madison constituencies while achieving our mission goals of outreach, education and research.”

The Wisconsin China Initiative was launched in 2007 to serve as the contact point for information about UW–Madison connections with China and the region and to bring together faculty across disciplines, alumni and leaders in business and government. The WCI is housed in The International Division.


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Click here to learn about President Obama’s “100,000 Strong Initiative” to increase the number and diversity of American students studying in China.



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