Ten Chinese diplomats toured the Banner Sun Health Research Institute this week, their second-to-last stop on a trip arranged by the U.S. State Department’s International Visitors leadership program.
The diplomats represented a wide range of areas of expertise, though all of them are scientists, and all were interested in the work being done at BSHRI.
“This particular group was interested specifically in research and health care,” said Brian Browne, BSHRI’s director of communication and education.
“They reached out to us specifically on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.”
Browne explained what BSHRI does and walked the diplomats through the process, from autopsies to brain recovery as well as the research itself.
The tour lasted more than an hour.
Browne said he was not surprised BSHRI. was chosen as a stop on the trip.
“This is an example of our strong international reputation,” he said. “We’re sought out globally for the research we do.”
Browne told them about the history of Sun City and why it was seen as the ideal location for research on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Browne also mentioned how BSHRI now accepts entire bodies for research, not just brain donations.
The revelation prompted one of the diplomats to ask if the bodies are preserved so they might be brought back to life in 100 years.
Browne clarified, saying individual organs are salvaged and stored, not entire bodies, at which point the tour group laughed at the misunderstanding.
The tour included a stop in the facility’s autopsy room, where Browne removed a brain from its jar, prompting a little squeamishness and nervous laughter among the diplomats.
Zengguang Hou is the deputy director of the State Key Laboratory of Management and Control for Complex Systems at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Automation Institute.
He said the tour of America has been beneficial.
“We started in Washington, D.C., where we visited the Department of State and met with several university professors,” Hou said.
“It’s been very good so far.”
Hou said he was particularly pleased with the tour of the Banner Sun Health Research Institute.
“It’s very good for me because my research is related,” he said.
“I work in vascular diseases and rehabilitation. I enjoyed it here very much.”
Jeff Dempsey may be reached at 623-876-2531 or firstname.lastname@example.org.