Professor Ie-Ming Shih Shares with Tzu Chi University’s Faculty members, Staff and Students

Professor Ie-Ming Shih is the Richard TeLinde Distinguished Professor in the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Professor Shih also directs the inter-departmental TeLinde Gynecologic Disease Program and co-directs the Women‘s Malignancy Program at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions.  On this day, Professor Shih was invited to give a lecture at Tzu Chi University to share his study of endometrial cancer with faculty members, staff and students, for the number of women who are diagnosed with it has increased rapidly.

In the United States, endometrial cancer is the most common cancer of the female reproductive organs. Its occurrence has been growing rapidly in recent years, due to patients’ obesity. In addition, women who have not given birth to any children can also have this form of cancer.Professor Shih and his team study how endometrial cancer evolves from lesions. Furthermore, they employ genomic analysis to understand whether patients have any changes in their oncogenes or tumor suppressor genes. The team aspires to use new drugs or combine them with other drugs to treat endometrial cancer.

Professor Ie-Ming Shih’s team is also developing a simple Pap smear test that can identify cervical lesions, and detect endometrial cancer or ovarian cancer. Using this simple and commonly used Pap smear test, his team wishes to diagnose women’s cancer in its early stage. Professor Shih said that early diagnosis will prompt early treatment. Otherwise, by the time the cancer spreads throughout the body, it will be too late.

Professor Shih’s speech attracted seventy faculty members, staff and students. In addition to his dedication to research, Professor Shih is also very proficient in photography. Moreover, he has unique insights about religion and life, and is filled with humanism. He has focused his efforts on enhancing the well-being of society and augmenting human interactions. In addition to sharing his research endeavors, Professor Shih also taught our faculty members, staff and students by his personal examples, and a round table discussion was arranged for our members to learn from him.

Besides devoting himself to clinical work, research, and teaching, Professor Shih is also interested in studying Buddhism, philosophy, and psychology. At Jing Si Abode, he discussed Buddhism and science with Dharma Master Cheng Yen and University President Ingrid Liu. He spoke highly of altruistic giving by Tzu Chi members. He mentioned that people view compassion and altruism as just a state of mind, but a research finding has revealed that there is an area in the human brain called PGA, which is responsible for our compassion and altruism. Compassion and altruism will stimulate our physiological and neurophysiological functions. Specifically, compassion and altruism will excite the parasympathetic nerves, which will reduce the heartbeat and lower blood pressure. As a result, we will feel comfortable, both physically and mentally. Moreover, compassion will release some chemicals to reduce our uncomfortable feelings. He concluded that our compassion and altruism will generate a physical reaction, and enable us to feel happier.

Professor Shih believes that most human suffering comes from our own attachments and failing to realize that everything comes and goes. The human brain is the most complex machine, and we can use it to change our understanding, thoughts and behaviors. Everything does come and go, and there is no way we can change this fact. However, when things come or leave us unexpectedly, we can choose to accept them and be flexible, rather than insisting on getting certain results. Buddhism teaches us to realize that everything comes and goes, and inspires us to develop compassion and altruism. By doing these, our sufferings will be reduced and we will feel happier.