$100m Shanghai Biomedical Research Center Officially Opens
2015-07-30 Page View:2325
The National Center for Protein Science Shanghai, a $100 million science facility, has received approval from Chinese science authorities to officially open.
"As one of the 12 large science facilities deployed by the government's 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10), the facility is an important measure to enhance the level of biomedicine research in China," said Lin Nianxiu, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission, during the project acceptance meeting in Shanghai on Tuesday.
"Only with such a facility will we be able to catch up with the scientific research of developed countries or even exceed theirs," Lin said.
During the 11th Five-Year Plan, the Chinese government invested 6 billion yuan ($966 million) in 12 large science projects that focused on different research fields. The protein facility was one of the 12. Others included a satellite navigation system, a large telescope and a marine research ship.
The protein facility, approved in 2008, needed seven years and 756 million yuan to complete its construction and trial operation.
"A protein is composed of 20 common amino acids according to a given sequence. Any change of the sequence or structure of proteins could cause disorder or even a disease," said Lei Ming, director of the newly approved center.
"The current gene technology can tell the reason that causes a disease, but cannot provide the right antidote. As a result, the next step is to find the right drug target for treatment, which is dependent on protein research."
However, the pace of protein research has been limited by difficulties in production, extraction, storage and analysis of proteins.
"'One protein, one career' is a popular saying in our research field back to the 1960s and '70s, which means that a professor would be lucky to fully explore one protein in his or her lifetime. In my case, I have analyzed the structure of dozens of proteins through my research career," Lei said.
The protein facility will change the situation by automating the process of protein production and improving methods to determine protein structures.
Since the protein facility began trial operations in May last year, more than 3,500 researchers from 60 institutes and universities across China have carried out experiments, producing a number of academic papers published in high-profile journals like Nature and PNAS.
"The National Center for Protein Science Shanghai should be open to and share with other research institutions in order to make more scientific achievements," said Lin, of the National Development and Reform Commission.
He also said that the commission has started research on building more large science facilities during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20).
(Source: China Daily)
Bai Chunli,president of the Chinese Academy of Science
Shanghai Mayor Yang Xiong
Lin Nianxiu,deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission