CHINA SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
The Ministry of Science and Technology
People's Republic of China
June 20, 2010
IN THIS ISSUE
*WAN Attended ITER Council Meeting
*Translational Medicine Forum
*Poverty Diseases Control Enhanced
*Computer Summit Held in Beijing
*Oil Eating Bacteria Found
*Mapping up Camel’s Genome
*Vitiligo Susceptibility Allele Found
WAN Attended ITER Council Meeting
ITER Council 6th Meeting opened on June 16, 2010 in Beijing. WAN Gang, Vice-Chairman of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and Chinese Minister of Science and Technology, made a welcome speech at the opening ceremony. The meeting reviewed the ITER’s core document to define the baseline for ITER projects. The core document, a baseline document guiding the future implementation of ITER projects, is made up of several thousand documents concerning projects’ progresses, budget, technical specifications, and management. The meeting also discussed the senior management and organizational structures of ITER, work progresses, and plans.
An ITER and Nuclear Fusion Exhibition was also held June 16-25, 2010 at the Suzhou Industrial Park, as part of the meeting event. It was held to enhance people’s awareness of and interest in ITER’s plan and the development of nuclear fusion energy, using real things, models, multimedia, pictures, and illustrations.
WAN Met with Former US Vice-President
On June 9, 2010, WAN Gang, Vice-Chairman of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and Chinese Minister of Science and Technology, met with former US vice-president Al Gore and his party who planned to stage a climate change impact adaptation training event in China. WAN briefed his guests of the accomplishments achieved by the Chinese government in adapting to climate change impacts through S&T innovations. For example, China has strengthened the R&D of the technologies that can be applied in energy efficiency/emission reduction and adaptation to climate change impacts, through a range of special projects, including a campaign to introduce a thousand electric automobiles in ten major cities, a semiconductor illumination project to introduce energy saving illumination systems in ten major cities, the Golden Sun project, an S&T Olympic Game, and an S&T Expo among others, in an attempt to promote the demonstration and associated commercial applications of low carbon technologies. Meanwhile, efforts have been made to raise people’s climate change awareness through popular science activities, and to stage national actions for energy efficiency and emission reduction. WAN said Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology is currently preparing a special national plan to adapt to climate change impacts through S&T development for the 12th Five-year period (2011-2015) . The plan will make systematic deployments in four priority areas: scientific issues, impacts and adaptation, mitigation, and the economic and social development, while strengthening S&T support to adaptation to climate change impacts.
Both sides also exchanged views on cooperation between the two countries in the area of science and technology. WAN briefed the other side of the latest development in bilateral cooperation, including China-US Clean Energy Joint Research Center, and proposed to strengthen the collaborations between the government, industry, and people of two countries at different levels, taking advantage of the opportunity brought up by this training event.
Translational Medicine Forum
A China-US international forum on clinical and translational medicine, co-sponsored by the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, NIH, and GlobalMD, opened on June 16, 2010 in Beijing. Chinese Health Minister CHEN Zhu, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences President LIU Depei, NIH Clinical Center Director Dr.John I.Gallin, GlobalMD Secretary-General Carol Collado, and GlobalMD Chief Representative Dr.Tim Shi attended the event.
LIU pointed out that an increasingly enlarged gap has been seen between basic research and people’s practical health needs. Many basic studies confined themselves to publishing papers only, doing little to translate research findings into the practice that can be applied clinically. Translational medicine is a philosophy proposed to address the problem, in an attempt to combine basic research and patients’ actual needs, asking basic research labs to work on practical human health issues, while facilitating the application of research findings in clinical practice and decision making. It works with other disciplines, sharing resources and supplementing each other with their respective strength.
Translational medicine, first proposed by NIH, emphasizes a full process that turns lab findings into clinical applications. Studies made under the philosophy of translational medicine directly raise the quality of medical treatment, desirable for the social development. It has become an emerging inter-discipline encouraged by the international medical community.
Poverty Diseases Control Enhanced
China Diseases Prevention and Control Center and the World Health Organization TDR inked on June 13, 2010 an MOU in Shanghai to work together to prevent and control the infectious diseases stemmed from poverty. China CDC Director WANG Yu and WHO/TDR Director Robert Ridley undersigned the MOU at the closing ceremony.
On the same day, a seminar on study and control of infectious diseases of poverty was opened in Shanghai. During the meeting, some 200 senior scientists from different countries and WHO/TDR representatives discussed a range of topics centered on working together to eradicate infectious diseases of poverty, and help African countries to curb infectious diseases.
Computer Summit Held in Beijing
A China-US computer summit, the third of its kind co-sponsored by Chinese National Natural Science Foundation, and US National Science Foundation, was held June 14-15 at Peking University.
Some 50 top specialists and S&T decision makers from China and the United States had an in-depth discussion of the similarity and differences between the two countries in selecting the projects to be financed and associated implementation, along with other related issues, including the contributions of computer science to the society, the sustainable development of computer science, and challenges facing the interdisciplinary studies and education.
HE Jifeng, a CAS academician and Dean of East China Normal University School of Software, LI Guojie, a CAS academician and Director of CAS Institute of Computing Technology, and Prof. WU Jianping, Director of China Education and Research Computer Network Center, briefed their counterparts from the United States of the large projects China has launched in the areas of high-assurance software, high-end processor, and next generation internet.
Oil Eating Bacteria Found
Researchers of Xi’an Agricultural Science and Technology University and Nanjing Agriculture University, in collaboration with the scientists at Oregon State University, found a bacteria able to clean up the leaked oil in the Gulf of Mexico. The bacteria, named NY3, have an extraordinary capability of producing rhamnolipids, an anionic surfactant able to decompose PAHs released from the leaked oil in the Gulf of Mexico, through harmless to microbes, animals, and humans. PAHs is a compound capable of inducing cancers or genetic mutations. The rhamnolipids produced by NY3 is relatively stable under different temperatures, salinity, and alkalinity, and able to effectively decompose 5 kinds of PAHs in the crude oil.
Mapping up Camel’s Genome
Chinese and Saudi Arabian researchers announced on June 9, 2010 in Riyadh that they have mapped out the genome of Arabian camels, the first of its kind in the world. It took half a year for some 20 Saudi Arabian and Chinese researchers to sequence out the DNA map of camels, allowing people to improve the genetic traits and diseases resistance of high temperature and drought resistant animals. WANG Jian, Director of Beijing Genomics Institute (Shenzhen) said Chinese and Saudi Arabian researchers will continue their study of camels and other creatures that are able to live under an extreme condition.
Vitiligo Susceptibility Allele Found
A study team, led by ZHANG Xuejun at Anhui Medical University, has found the susceptibility allele of vitiligo through a genome-wide association study. The finding, published in the recent online issue of Nature Genetics, has for the first time in the world confirmed that vitiligo is an autoimmune disease.
It took 5 years for Chinese researchers to have genotyped some 20,000 vitiligo cases and controls. They found the susceptibility allele closely associated with vitiligo in three regions. The finding presents a powerful evidence showing that abnormal autoimmunity is a major cause of vitiligo, creating a new approach for unveiling the pathogenesis of vitiligo, and laying a theoretical basis for vitiligo related disease warning, clinical diagnosis, and new drug development. The effort has led to the establishment of first database built on a genome-wide association study of Asian population, providing new insights into the genetic basis of vitiligo.
New Way to Induce Pluripotent Stem Cells
A research team, led by PEI Duanqing at CAS Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine and Health, landed a breakthrough in studying the mechanism that induces pluripotent stem cells. The finding was published in the recent issue of Cell Stem Cell.
In recent years, PEI and coworkers focused their study on two core issues: the mechanism of inducing pluripotent stem cells and the efficiency of such inducement. Last year, they found that vitamin C is able to accelerate the inducement of pluripotent stem cells. They also discovered a mechanism to start reprogramming pluripotent stem cells. In an experiment, four reprogrammed transcription factors made the fibroblasts lose their original cellular features through the synergistic effect. The transformed cells started to have the functions of epidermal cells. The process opens a path leading to pluripotent stem cells.
First Home Made Acoustic Imager
An acoustic imager, developed by CAS Key Laboratory of Noise and Vibration, attracted people’s attention on the Public Science Day launched by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Acoustic imager, or acoustic camera, is a special instrument able to measure the position of a sound and associated acoustic radiation, using an array of sensors. It is able to display the measured results in a cloud image manner, allowing people to view and analyze the noise level of an object measured, and to understand the field, wave, and source of the noise, quickly spotting the position and reason that contribute to the noise. In the past, one had to obtain an acoustic image by calculating the acoustic fields. It would take several days for a specialist to calculate out an acoustic image. The new approach allows people in the streets to obtain an acoustic image in 0.8 second, thanks to easy operations.
New Satellite Launched
At 0939, June 15, 2010, China successfully blasted off a satellite named Practice-12 aboard a CZIID launch vehicle, from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. The newly launched satellite will be applied to make scientific experiments on space environment probe, inter-satellite measurement, and communication.
A Green Leap Center
A Center for Green Leap Research, jointly created by School of Economics and Management, Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technologies, and Dept. of Engineering, all affiliated to Tsinghua University, was inaugurated on June 11, 2010. The new center will sort out the role models showing the green leap with Chinese characteristics, and study the factors affecting the green leap, in an attempt to feed enterprises with the information on sustainable innovation and green leap. It will also work on the policy issues assigned by government, and stage green leap demonstrations in collaboration with government or NGOs.
The Center has a range of objectives to realize, including preparing a report on Chinese businesses’ green leap practice, summarizing and diffusing Chinese businesses’ proven green leap practices; making green leap part of the EMBA and MBA courses, enhancing corporate managers’ green development awareness; and providing proven experience of sustainable development to the entire country, and even to the whole world, making China a cradle of green leap development.
With the support of Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology and Tsinghua University, the center will work with Cornell University, raising the research level and international influence of Tsinghua University in the area of green management.
H.Pylori Vaccine Comes
Authorities concerned at No. 3 Military Medical School disclosed on June 11, 2010 that an oral liposome-encapsulated recombinant H.pylori vaccine, developed by the school, expects to enter the marketplace in one and a half years.
Without H.pylori vaccines, people have to deal with H.pylori relying on antibiotics. Antibiotics based treatment would allow the recurrence and repeated infections of the diseases, with large toxicant and side effects and high treatment costs. The H.pylori vaccine produced by the school is able to form a resistance to H.pylori on stomach mucosa, enjoying a protection rate of 72.1%. The new vaccine has been granted with a new drug certificate. Thanks to an investment worth RMB 150 million, the vaccine will be bulk produced, and enter the marketplace at the end of next year.
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