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SUSTech Cryo-Electron Microscopy Center Opens, Becomes Largest in China.

Nov 19, 2018 Latest News

In some ways, November 19th, 2018 will go down in history as one of the coldest days, as Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) officially unveiled its Cryo-EM innovation and Research Center. Cryo-electron microscopy pioneer and Nobel Laureate in Chemistry Richard Henderson was on hand to attend the ceremony, along with SUSTech President Chen Shiyi, Deputy Director Cai Yu of the Shenzhen Municipal Development and Reform Commission and Academician Sui Senfang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The SUSTech Cryo-EM innovation and Research Center is a major basic scientific facility platform funded by the Shenzhen Municipal Government. It aims to support the science of biomedicine, precision medicine and new energy and new materials in both Shenzhen and across the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. The Center plans to install 6 sets of 300 kV cryo-electron microscopes and 71 sets of related auxiliary instruments and sample preparation facilities. Once the equipment is installed, it will be the most advanced cryo-electron microscope laboratory in China.

After more than one year of preparatory work, two 300kVcryo-electron microscopes have been installed, commissioned and put into use. Cryo-electron microscopy has changed how research in many biological fields is completed, enabling many studies to make major breakthroughs quickly. Cryo-electron microscopy has become a powerful tool in structural biology research. This technology overcomes many difficulties in the analysis of biomolecular structure and is called "bringing biochemistry into a new era" by Nobel Prize winners.

At the ceremony, Chen Shiyi welcomed the guests and thanked the Shenzhen Municipal Government and Committee for their support. He also congratulated Professor Wang Peiyi and the staff of the SUSTech for all their hard work. Chen Shiyi said that in the next few years, the Center would focus on combining basic knowledge and drug development to play an important role in industrial development of Shenzhen and China. SUSTech would continue to contribute to Shenzhen's society and economy by adhering to and carrying forward the spirit of Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

In his speech, Richard Henderson congratulated SUSTech for completing the Center. He pointed out that the Center will become one of the world's three largest cryo-electron microscopy centers. The other two centers are in the United States and the United Kingdom.

At present, there are about 100 similar research institutions around the world. After the completion of the SUSTech’s Center, it will be among the top 5% in the world. This expansion in capacity will have a great impact on research of related scientific research fields.

Cai Yu said that the Center is a key basic scientific research facility, filling the gaps in this field in Shenzhen, Guangdong and across southern China. It is hoped that the SUSTech Cryo-Electron Microscopy Research and Innovation Center will provide a new source of power for the industrial, economic and social upgrading of Shenzhen and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

General Manager Marc Peeters of the Materials & Science Division of Thermofisher Scientific (Asia Pacific), Chairman Jonathan Jing of Enoch Technology Holdings Ltd., Chairman Cui Yuping of Shenzhen Aerospace Industry Technology Research Institute and Managing Director Chen Shiyou of China International Financial Group also spoke at the ceremony.

Professor Zhou Zhenghong of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Professor Cheng Yifan of the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and Professor Zhang Peijun of the University of Oxford also attended the ceremony.

Following the opening ceremony, The International Symposium on the Development of Cryo-Electron Microscopes was also held at SUSTech’s Lynn Library. Richard Henderson gave the keynote speech on "CryoEM: Progress and prospects."

He described the development history of cryo-electron microscopy from a personal perspective, and provided his detailed outlook on its future technical developments. Sui Senfang reviewed the development of cryo-electron microscopy in China. There were also presentations by Florida State University Professor Kenneth A. Taylor, Fellow of the American Academy of Sciences and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Professor Dinshaw J. Patel, UCSF Professor Cheng Yifan, Tsinghua University Medical School Researcher Xiang Ye, UCLA Professor Zhou Zhenghong, Professor Zhang Peijun of Oxford University, Yang Maojun of Tsinghua University, and Dr.Wang Qing of Thermofisher Scientific

Source:  SUSTech Cryo-EM innovation and Research Center

Text: Chris Edwards

Proofread: Xia Yingying

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