Tsinghua University establishes Center for Structural Biology

11:29, April 16, 2011      

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The Center for Structural Biology of Tsinghua University (THU-CSB) was established on April 16, 2011.

Professor Binling Gu, President of Tsinghua University, Member of Chinese Academy of Sciences (referred to as Member hereafter), along with Professor Yigong Shi, founding Director of the CSB, unveiled the plaque for CSB. Professor Jining Chen, Senior vice President of Tsinghua University announced the university’s decision to establish the center.

CSB represents an integrative program with principal investigators from School of Life Sciences, School of Medicine and Department of Chemistry.

In this post-genomic era, the role played by structural biology is more important than ever. Advances in technology, methodology, and computation have allowed convenient determination of biomolecule structure by non-specialists.

In contrast to the old-day practice of only getting a static structure, there is an increasing demand for comprehensive and dynamic information on macromolecular assemblies. The concept of structural cell biology has taken roots in the minds of new-generation structural biologists. Addressing fundamental questions in biology frequently requires integration of traditional structural biology approaches with single molecule biophysics, molecular dynamics, and other burgeoning technologies.

It is under this broad context that CSB is established at Tsinghua University. The missions of CSB are to cultivate young talents in molecular biology and to address challenging biological problems with an integrated approach. Now there are 15 independent laboratories and about 170 post-doctoral research associates, graduate students and technicians.

It has strength in cryo-EM, led by Member Sengfang Sui, X-ray crystallography, led by Professor Yigong Shi, and computational biology. These teams are relatively independent and mutually complementary. Their research covers lots of frontier areas in modern structure biology and has already delivered a series of magnificent works. Since 2009, researchers within CSB have published about 25 research articles in top journals including Nature, Science and Cell.

CSB will effectively improve the existing loose collaboration among Tsinghua’s various schools and departments. It will gradually evolve into a platform for interdisciplinary collaboration and exchange of thoughts among scientists from diverse background such as mathematics, biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering disciplines, material science, medicine, and physics.

The CSB people are quite enthusiastic that, in addition to making important discoveries in structural biology, it will engender novel ideas and thoughts that ultimately foster the creation of new research fronts and disciplines. At a higher level, it is hoped that CSB will facilitate innovative and fundamental research in China.

The Frontiers of Protein Sciences Conference is a high-level international academy conference designed to promote scholarly exchanges in the broad areas of protein structure and function. This is the first of an annual conference series. Lots of authentic experts in protein sciences, among whom there are six Members of the American National Academy of Sciences, came to report their latest research results and trends.

There were more than 400 attendees to the ceremony, composed of peers from other universities, industry partners and students, teachers from schools of medicine, chemistry departments and other related schools and departments.

By People's Daily Online

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