Structural Biologist Nieng Yan Serves as Dean of Shenzhen Medical Academy of Research and Translation

On December 10, Nieng Yan, a well-known Chinese structural biologist who recently resigned as a professor at Princeton University and returned to China, was appointed as the dean of Shenzhen Medical Academy of Research and Translation. The main functions of the newly-established academy include scientific research, educational exchange, innovation incubation and policy consultation.

Yan is currently studying the structural and chemical basis for membrane transport and lipid metabolism. Since 2009, as a correspondent author, she has published 19 papers in Nature, Science and Cell, some of the most influential academic journals in the world.

In her speech, Yan said that she would be down-to-earth and strive to build Shenzhen Medical Academy of Research and Translation into a biomedical center for talent training, scientific research, transformation and innovation with an international influence.

Shenzhen Special Zone Daily reported that Shenzhen Medical Academy of Research and Translation, which competes with the National Institute of Health in the United States, has strict clearances and no quota of government employees, striving to become a world-famous medical research institution by the middle of this century.

According to the latest data released by the Shenzhen Statistics Bureau in October, the city’s gross domestic product exceeded 2 trillion yuan ($286 billion) in the first three quarters of this year, ranking first in Guangdong Province. Compared with the bright economic strength, Shenzhen’s medical resources are relatively weak. At present, there are 39 3A hospitals in Guangzhou, 32 of which are in Shenzhen.

A large number of medical research results in China cannot be turned into actual products or programs. The reasons for this lack of convertability include few institutions that carry out clinical trials, insufficient capacity, lagging regulatory policies for new technologies, difficulty pricing new technologies, and whether new drugs and technologies can be included in medical insurance.

Yan mentioned in her speech on November 1 that basic research is inseparable from medicine and hospitals, and it is the important mission of the Shenzhen Medical Academy of Research and Translation to navigate the connection from hospital and laboratory to pharmaceutical companies.

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After the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, medical academies have been established in many provinces in China in the last couple of decades. In fact, these academies often cost substantial sums of money. The Guangdong Academy of Medical Sciences has a total area of about 110,000 square meters with a total investment of 865 million yuan.

According to the documents released by the Shenzhen Municipal Health Commission in May this year, the budget revenue of the preparatory stage of Shenzhen Medical Academy of Research and Translation in 2022 was 29.18 million yuan, over ninety percent of which was from the government. The budget expenditure was 29.18 million yuan, including 10.4 million yuan for medical services, such as research and demonstration, project evaluation and public platform construction.

Shenzhen Medical Academy of Research and Translation is already recruiting. On November 11, its WeChat official account released a message saying that it was openly recruiting 24 staff members, including the head of scientific research department, the head of scientific research platform, and several assistants. On December 7, another 19 jobs were opened to the public.