The 21st century is an era of life science with structural biology constituting one of the cutting-edge and mainstream subjects of modern life science research. An in-depth study of biomacromolecular structure and functions can not only solve a series of major scientific problems, but also help people better understand the nature of life, how it closely relates to human health, and how it can greatly promote new drug research and development. China has an excellent tradition in structural biology research, dating back to the sixties and seventies. Structural biology research in our country has been a world leader for quite some time, keeping pace with Britain, US and other countries. For example, high resolution insulin crystal structure determination that was completed by the‘Beijing insulin research’group in the 1970s, represented the advanced level of research in China as compared to the world at that time. Since the start of the century, a batch of local research institutes represented by Tsinghua University and the Institution of Biophysics of CAS, have made good progress.
Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Structural Biology has been established by Beijing Municipal Education Commission, and is one of the first 13 high-tech innovation centers in Beijing. The center at Tsinghua University has been jointly established with Beijing University of Technology, making it the leading research unit in China. Tsinghua University is an important higher education center in China, constituting a scientific research and technology development base as well as shouldering important responsibilities of high-level Chinese talent cultivation, research break-through and acquisition and fueling growth of national economy. Based on the achievements of our predecessors, Tsinghua University's structural biology team continues to gradually develop, grow and expand its international influence. The first director appointed for the center Professor Shi Yigong, is a world famous structural biologist. The Center now has 20 independent laboratories, more than 40 post-doctoral fellows and more than 200 doctoral students. Research covers many frontier domains in modern structural biology, including the structure and functional research of biomacromolecule machines, membrane proteins associated with disease, tumor-inhibiting factors, cell apoptosis regulatory proteins, diabetes drug target proteins and other significant biomacromolecules. The center has recently completed a series of outstanding international research work. In 2015, the center used Tsinghua University as the corresponding author to publish 11 high-level research papers in Nature, Science and Cell, and published dozens of papers in other international journals, contributing to a large and growing international influence, and to a large extent the development of structural biology in China.
With the support of Beijing Municipal Education Commission, the research efforts of Tsinghua University have been integrated with Beijing University of Technology conferring phenomenal advantages to the Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Structural Biology. The center carries out structural biology research to bring exemplary improvements in the health industry. The center organically integrates technology development, basic scientific research application and transformation through the collaborative advantages of multi-disciplinary fields. This is likely to result in a series of influential and new innovative technologies and methods for structural biology research over the next 5-10 years. The primary task of the center is to develop inter-disciplinary, inter-university cooperation, and cooperation with the local government, to organically integrate technological development, and built a robust fundamental research landscape in the country. The center aims to be a world class leader in structural biology and serve as an incubator for scientific achievements in the future. Technological development will not only elevate the prominence of Beijing's biotechnology, bio-pharmaceutical and other health related industries in China, but will also build an excellent platform for Chinese biologists to rank among the top in the international stage.