Life Science Trio Holds ShanghaiTech BioForum

ON2019-11-30TAG: ShanghaiTech UniversityCATEGORY: School of Life Science and Technology

On November 10-14th, the 2019 ShanghaiTech BioForum was successfully held at ShanghaiTech University. For the first time, the BioForum was jointly organized by the three life science institutions of ShanghaiTech University - School of Life Science and Technology (SLST), Shanghai Institute for Advanced Immunochemical Studies (SIAIS) and iHuman Institute (iHuman), which compose the “ShanghaiTech Life Science Complex” devoting to research in life science field. The organizing committee was comprised of faculty members from the three institutions, including Professors Ernesto Carafoli, Liu Jilong, Liu Zhijie, Luo Zhenge, Raymond Stevens, and Ian Wilson.

This year’s theme was “Cellular Mechanisms in Health and Disease” and 29 distinguished speakers, including the Nobel Laureate Michael Levitt, were invited from world-renowned institutions, including the Scripps Research Institute, Princeton University, Case Western Reserve University, University of Padova, Goethe University Frankfurt, National Institute of Biological Sciences Beijing, ShanghaiTech University, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, etc. Over 500 attendees from academic, industrial and healthcare communities gathered together at ShanghaiTech, sharing their insights on various topics in the field of cellular mechanisms.

Dr. Liu Jilong, SLST Vice Dean and professor, chaired the opening ceremony and warmly welcomed all attendees. Dr. Yin Jie, Vice President and Provost of ShanghaiTech University, delivered the opening remarks. Dr. Yin Jie introduced the mission and vision of ShanghaiTech, demonstrating that as a small and focused research university, ShanghaiTech is cultivating a stimulating environment for innovative research with top-tier faculty, accessibility to large scientific facilities, and a research-oriented curriculum.

Dr. Yin Jie, ShanghaiTech University

Dr. Liu Jilong, ShanghaiTech University

The BioForum featured three keynote speakers. Dr. Virginijus Siksnys, one of the CRISPR pioneers, delivered the opening keynote lecture. In his lecture entitled “CRISPR-Cas: from bacterial immunity to genome editing and beyond,” Dr. Siksnys summarized their journey to the discovery of CRISPR, discussed strategies to overcome the limitations of CRISPR, and forecasted further applications of CRISPR beyond genome editing. Nobel Laureate Dr. Michael Levitt spoke on “A wonderful life in science,” and gave a brief review of the origin of modern biology. Dr. Levitt also discussed the origin, development and future applications of computational biology, and concluded his lecture with advice to students – “be passionate, be persistent, be creative, be kind and good.” Top structural biologist Dr. Xu Wenqing presented his lecture as “Structural and Mechanistic Dissection of Wnt Signaling,” fitting perfectly into the theme of the BioForum. He focused on the structural studies on Wnt signaling pathway, and explored the possibility of applying Wnt inhibitors to anticancer therapy and regenerative medicine.

Dr. Virginijus Siksnys, Vilnius University

Dr. Michael Levitt, ShanghaiTech University & Stanford University

Dr. Xu Wenqing, ShanghaiTech University

The five-day BioForum featured 26 other lectures, focusing on six sub-themes in the field of cellular mechanisms in health and disease: 1) Mitochondria in Health and Disease, with talks by speakers including Dr. Luca Scorrano, Dr. Douglas Wallace, Dr. Liu Ying, and Dr. Alexandra Trifunovic; 2) Organellar Stress and Death, with talks by Dr. Kang Yibin, Dr. Ivan Dikic, Dr. Ehud Cohen, Dr. Jiang Xuejun, and Dr. Fan Gaofeng; 3) Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience, with speakers Dr. Yu Fengwei, Dr. Jin Yishi, Dr. Xie Ting, Dr. Martin Friedlander, and Dr. Han Chun; 4) Immunity and Metabolism, with speakers Dr. Kole Roybal, Dr. Feng Yongqiang, and Dr. Song Baoliang; 5) Dynamics and Patterning, with talks by Dr. Bai Lu, Dr. Mei Lin, Dr. Tong Xiajing, Dr. Zhou Bin, Dr. Tang Chao, and Dr. Zhao Suwen; 6) Cellular and Molecular Machineries, with talks by Dr. Du Lilin, Dr. Chen Lingling, and Dr. Zhao Jian. The speakers and attendees had insightful discussions on the topics, bringing in new ideas for future research as well as technology transfer.

BioForum Audience

In addition to the main sessions, the BioForum also offered various activities, including an innovative Flash-Talks session, live performance by the ShanghaiTech student orchestra, a volunteer appreciation session, etc. The Flash-Talks session was one of the highlights of the conference, attracting enthusiastic participations from both inside the conference center and on online platforms. The Flash-Talks session lasted 3 days, including three sessions - a poster presentation, public vote session and oral presentation. Among 120 posters submitted and presented by young scholars and students, 10 were voted for poster awards, and 9 were voted as the best of the posters to be presented in a 5-minutes presentation competing for the final awards. The Flash-Talks session was highly appreciated, stimulating the scientific communication between hundreds of attendees, including the speakers, the committee, faculty members and the students.

Dr. Michael Levitt (ShanghaiTech University & Stanford University) and other Flash-Talks committee members scoring the presentations

Dr. Lin Haifan (ShanghaiTech University &Yale University) presenting the grand award of Flash-Talks

The Flash-Talks committee presenting awards to the Flash-Talks and poster awards winners

The committee awarding volunteers certificates

The 2019 ShanghaiTech Bioforum was a resounding success, bringing in the most cutting-edge advances in the field of “Cellular Mechanisms in Health and Disease.” The BioForum was vital to its mission as an educational platform with a wide range of topics. The young generation was provided with close encounters with distinguished scientists to promote their research at the international platform and to collect valuable thoughts. 

This BioForum is also a grand gathering for ShanghaiTech’s Life Science Complex. By bringing the three life science institutions - SLST, SIAIS and iHuman - together to work closely, the BioForum greatly improved their communication and set a better foundation for future collaborations. “Life Science is the future”, said Dr. Ernesto Carafoli in his closing remarks. The ShanghaiTech Life Science Complex will continue to leverage life science and technology to benefit human health and beyond in the future.

2019 ShanghaiTech BioForum group photo

The 2019 ShanghaiTech BioForum Highlights