Griffith and University of Peking researcher Professor Xiauchan Pan has taken out an Australia-China Alumni Award at a ceremony in Shanghai in September 2012.

Professor Pan, deputy director of the Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, Peking University School of Public Health has been an Adjunct Professor at Griffith’s School of Public Health since 2009 when he teamed up with Dr Jing Sun and colleagues to carry out research on the public health effects of climate change as part of an Australian Leadership Award (ALA) fellowship.

Professor Pan took out the Aus-Aid award for his commitment to “priority areas such as climate change and health to advance regional policy objectives and increase institutional capacity of Australian partner countries such as China.”

The Griffith University team together with Professor Pan researched the relationship between air quality, temperature change and cardiovascular diseases in Brisbane and Beijing.

Professor Pan and Dr Sun’s results indicated that a combination of air pollutants and rising temperatures resulted in increased mortality from cardiopulmonary disease. However the research seemed to suggest Beijing residents were affected less, indicating they may be “getting used” to both heat wave and increased air pollution.

The team published three papers from this research and have carried their collective interest into an ongoing relationship and the supervision of nine graduate students in the climate change and public health area.

“Professor Pan is simply an outstanding scientist and it’s been a real coup for Griffith University to establish this relationship which has been so rewarding for both sides,” said Dr Sun.

“Ultimately the issue raised by our research are going to have to be addressed by local governments who need to protect vulnerable people during extreme events like heatwaves, which will become more common.”

“Making sure that science is as rigorous as possible helps governments make decisions on difficult matters and scientist like Professor Pan will only become more important,” she said.

The Australia China Alumni Awards were established in 2009 by the Australia China Alumni Association to recognizing the wide-ranging achievements of graduates of Australian universities that are currently based in China, both local and expatriate.

Over 150 people were nominated.