I. Biomedical engineering Discipline Introduction

    The biomedical engineering (BME) discipline is one of the founding members of the Chinese Society of Biomedical Engineering and has been ranked as the first class discipline by the Chinese government. It distinguishes itself with unique specialties and expertise and was ranked the third best in the country by Chinese Ministry of Education in 2012.

Mission and Objective

    Our mission is to develop insightful fundamental principles and de novo methodologies to provide the state-of-art instruments and technologies for the diagnosis and treatment of major diseases to address the challenges in life and medical sciences with the advantages of cross-discipline expertise in the engineering and medicine at Huazhong University of Science and Technology. Our strategic objectives are to become one of the best ranked world-class disciplines, and to develop Biomedical Photonics as a top program in the world.

Specialties and Expertise

    The BME discipline focuses on the studies of the brain, cancer and cerebro-cardiovascular diseases to develop innovative technologies and state-of-art equipment with photo-electronics, photon informatics and nanotechnology.

    The discipline is the pioneer in establishing the Biomedical Photonics in China and has been the frontier in the microscopic imaging and optical molecular labeling technologies. The high-resolution optical imaging technique of craniocervical junctions has enabled the revolutional leap from tissues and organs to the cellular level for morphology and functional mechanism studies. This technology received both the 2nd Class of the National Science Award and the 2nd Class of the National Invention Award and has been successfully commmercialized. The three-dimensional directional gamma ray is the first whole body treatment system and have been used in more than 60 hospitals. Professor Qingguo Xie has commercialized the first full digital PET instrument for small animals in the world and the clinical trial machine is currently under validation, which will be the world’s first full digital clinical PET. The proton threapy system (proton knife) has been supported by a $30 million grant from the Chinese government 13th five years plan on “R & D of Digitalized Diagnostic and Therapeutic Instruments”.

    The BME discipline has founded the National Engineering Research Center for Nanomedicine, which specializes in the research and development of nanotechnology in medicine, production development and industrial transformation. The Center has become the platform for nanotechnology to entrepreneurship and is supported by Chinese National Major Drug Development Funding as Wuhan Technology Platform for New Drug Discovery and Development".

    State-of-Art Teaching and Research Centers and Facilities. The BME discipline has the International College of Biomedical Engineering, the National Training Base for Life Science and Technology as a part of Engineer Training Program for Excellence by the Ministry of Education and the National Imitative and Virtual Experimental Teaching Center as well as the National Engineering Practice Education Center. For research, the discipline has the Functional Laboratory of Biomedical Photonics (part of Wuhan National Laboratory for Optoelectronics), the National Engineering Center for Nanomedicine, the Key Laboratory of Biomedical Photonics of the Ministry of Education of China, the Key Laboratory of Image Processing and Intelligent Control of the Ministry of Education of China, and the Key Laboratory of Bio-informatics and Molecular Imaging of Hubei Province.

    First-Class Faculty. The discipline has 61 full-time faculty members (8% Foreign faculties, 25% with PhD degree from world top universities, 85% with overseas experiences and 74% below 45 years old). The faculty includes 1 Member of CAE, 1 National Thousands of People Plan, 8 Yangtze River Distinguished Scholars and National Distinguished Junior Scientists, 22 National Distinguished Young Scientists and three Chief Scientists of the National Key Scientific Research Program. In addition, there are research teams which have been recognized nationally as the Innovative Leading Teams by the National Science Foundation of China and the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, respectively.

     High-Impact Research. Since 2012, the BME discipline has been awarded with multiple major projects at the tens of millions funding level, including National Major Research Projects and National Key Scientific Instrument Development Projects. It has over 105 research projects sponsored by the National Science Foundation of China such as NSFC National Key Instrument Development Projects, NSFC Major Research Project Key Supports and Distinguished Junior Scientist Awards. The overall research funding has reached a budget of 480 million RMB. It received the 2nd Class of the National Invention Award and two 1st Class of the Provincial and Ministerial Awards. A number of high-impact research papers have been published in highly reputable journals including Nature Materials (1), Nature Methods (1), Nature Neuroscience (1) and Nature Communication (5).

Educational Goals

    The BME discipline emphasizes the competitive talents with international and cross-disciplinary visions, solid understanding of scientific and engineering fundamentals, clear grasp of biomedical knowledge, independent research skills and leadership in biomedical engineering.

Disciplinary Directions

    1)  Biomedical Photonics. Focus on the principles and methods in biomedical photonics, especially the research on the neuro-photonics and immune-photonics.

    2)  Nanomedicine and Biomaterials. Focus on the development of nanotechnology of drug formulation, medical biomaterials, clinical diagnosis, detection and instruments.

    3)  Biomedical Information Technology.  Focus on the construction of multi-functional analysis platforms and databases for the acquisition and data mining of bio-information to achieve integration, simulation and visualization of biological information.

    4)  Biomedical Instruments. Focus on the development of microscopic optical sectioning tomography, digitalized PET imaging, dual mode imaging, ultrasound imaging, laser-Raman imaging and other advanced equipment to meet the key instrumental needs in life science research and medical diagnosis and treatment.

Impact of the Discipline

    Currently, the discipline has 400 undergraduate students, 160 MS and 212 PhD students and 60 international graduate students. It has joint educational programs with multiple universities abroad, such as Yale World Biomedical Fellow Program, Sino-France Yuanpei Cai Program, Sino-France 11 Universities Joint Education Program. The undergraduate students have won multiple gold medals in the International iGEM and BIOMOD contests and other important events. The graduate students have been awarded with one National Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award and three Nomination Awards. The graduates have been welcomed by many well-known companies, such as Mindray (more than 100 graduates) and United Imaging (10 graduates) and many of them are already in the upper management.

     The discipline has multiple technology transfers with broad impacts. It has hatched 100 pilot projects and promoted 60 small businesses and 6 High-tech Companies. Professor Qian Liu founded the Wuhan Institute of Photoelectric Industrial Technology as Executive Deputy, which has promoted the transfer of 34 intellectual properties with more than 28 million Yuan. The technology "Microscopic optical sectioning tomography" achieved a ten of millions yuan milestone for the industrial transformation, which became a successful example of commercialization of high-technology transfer from the universities in China. The high resolution data set of the rat full brain generated by this technology was also collected by "EU brain plans" and released on its platform. The digital small-animal PET at sub-millimeter resolution was commercialized in 2013 and has received many orders in China and from overseas. The visible digital man and digital small animal projects have been exhibited in Wuhan Science Museum and Guangdong Science and Technology Center with broad social impacts.

    The National Engineering Research Center for Nanomedicine have 3 new drug licenses, 5 clinical trial certificates and more than 10 manufacturing licenses. The product hydroxyethyl starch plasma substitute occupies at 80% Chinese market. The phloroglucinol injection powder is the first domestic-produced product with nearly 1.5 billion yuan of sales income in last 3 years.

    The discipline initiated the establishment of the Biomedical Photonics Division of the Chinese Society of Biomedical Engineering, and the Biomedical Photonics Division of Chinese Optics Society, participated in the establishment of the Nanomedicine and Engineering Division of Chinese Society of Bio-medical Engineering and other important organizations. The discipline has hosted the International Conference on Photonics and Imaging in Biology and Medicine (PIBM), which has become one of the most important platforms for academic exchanges in the fields of Photonics and Biological imaging. The discipline has established the partnership with over 10 well-known universities including Stanford University, Cold Spring Harbor National laboratory, and University of Toronto. BME faculty members were elected as Associate Director of the Discipline Advisory Board of the Ministry of Education of China, Associate Director of Board Members in Biology and Medicine Division of the Ministry of Education of China, Board Member of International Cooperation Branch, fellows of OSA, AIMBE, SPIE, IET and FBSE (one each). The discipline founded one International Journal, "Journal of Innovative Optical Healthy Science". Professor Qingming Luo served twice as the Executive Chairman of "Biomedical Photonics" in the Xiangshan Forum (Chinese National Strategic Meeting for Science).

II. Biology Discipline Introduction

    Our biology discipline has been selected as the key development program for the National “211” Project and National “985” Project in China. Among the discipline, the biophysics program has been ranked as the national key discipline and biotechnology has been ranked as the national priority program. The biology discipline has been consistently elected as the key discipline in Hubei Province. Our faculty members have published 11 papers in top-notch journals including Nature, Science, Cell, Nat Genet, Nat Methods, Nat Struct Mol Biol, Nat Chem Biol and Nat Comm.

Mission and Objective

    The mission for the  b iology discipline is to perform cutting-edge science at the international forefront by focusing on both basic and applied sciences, including the molecular genetics and precision medicine of cardiovascular and neurological diseases, structural and functional studies of key disease-related or physiologically important proteins, molecular breeding of grain and oil crops, bioenergy, and biomanufacture, to be a training center for world class undergraduates and graduates, to address national strategic demands and/priorities in medicine and health, food safety and energy supply, and to promote national and local social and economic growth and development. We will develop the biology discipline into a world class program with distinction and competitive advantages.

Strengths and Specialties

    1. Continuously made breakthrough findings in science and key technologies: Our human genetic research has made world-leading discoveries by identifying more than 10 new human disease genes for major diseases such as coronary heart disease, atrial fibrillation, stroke, basal ganglia calcification and others, which establish an important basis for precision diagnosis and treatment of these diseases. Our biophysics research has led to development of the first patch clamp system in China, identified novel signaling mechanisms for G-protein coupled receptors, and made several major breakthrough findings in neurotransmitter release and neural circuits. Our applied microbiology program is unique and has made highly prominent achievements by developing bioenergy and biomanufacture technologies, leading to commercialization and industrialization. We also successfully developed novel technologies for enzyme-catalyzed biodiesel production coupled with high-valued products, and bio-degumming for clean production of high-quality ramie, which have resulted in huge economic profits and social impact. Our biochemistry and molecular biology program has focused on molecular breeding for wheat varieties with enhanced bread and nutritional quality and other important economic crops, which has generated >20 germplasms with important breeding potentials.

    Since 2012, we have secured numerous national grants, including 25 “973” and “863” program project grants from the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), one Outstanding Young Investigator award from the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), 3 key projects, one excellent young investigator award and 71 regular grants from NSFC. The total research funds reached 178 million RMB. We have also won 2 national and ministry/province level awards and published over 300 peer-reviewed papers in SCI-indexed journals, including Nature, Science, Cell, Nat Genet, Nat Struct Mol Biol, Nat Chem Biol, Nat Methods, Nat Comm, PNAS, Am J Hum Genet etc. Thirty of our numerous patents have been commercialized, generating a profit of >2 billion RMB.

    2. Possess an elite group of outstanding faculty members with strong international background: We have 58 professors and associate professors, including one Academician of CAS (Prof. Huanming Yang), two National 1000 Talent Plan scholars, four Yangtze scholars, two NSFC outstanding young investigators, five 1000 Junior Talent Plan scholars, one 10000 Plan scholar, one Innovative Leader from MOST, seven New/Cross Century Excellent Talent scholars of the Ministry of Education (MOE), one outstanding teacher of Hubei Province, 3 full-time European/American professors, and one Innovative Team of MOE. 81% of faculty members have received training abroad. We also have >20 adjunct faculty members, including internationally renowned scientists such as Daoxian Yuan (Academician of CAS), J. Bockaert (member of French Academy of Science), W. Boron (member of the US National Academy of Medicine), Xi He (1000 Plan scholar and Yangtze scholar), Huijun Zhou (1000 Plan scholar), Xianzhong Xu (Yangtze scholar), and Tao Xu (10000 Plan scholar and Yangtze scholar).

    3. Established many high level platforms for education and research: We have establish a number of high-level platforms for research, such as the Wuhan National High Magnetic Field Center, National Engineering Research Center for Nanomedicine, Key Laboratory of Molecular Biophysics of MOE, International Science and Technology Cooperation Center of MOST (Gene Engineering), “111” Plan Center, Key Laboratory of Hubei Province for Bioinformatics and Molecular Imaging, Hubei Research Center for Microbial Oil Engineering, and Center for Hubei Silkworm Processing Engineering. We have also established high-level platforms for education, including the National Training Center for Basic Science, the National Training Center for Life Science and Technology, National Virtual Simulation Center for Laboratory Teaching, Yale World Scholar Program, and Joint Training Centers for “Sino-France Cai Yuanpei Plan” and with UCSD, UC Berkeley, Case Western Reserve University, University of Michigan, University of Paris-Sud, École Normale Supérieure, CNRS and many others.

Educational Goal

    To train outstanding talents with confidence, solid-knowledge, innovative mind, world vision and background of highly integrated, cross discipline expertise in basic and applied science, engineering and medicine by staying at the forefront of science and addressing major national demands of important social and economic growth.

Discipline Majors

Biophysics: mainly focuses on structural and functional analyses of important membrane proteins, including but not limited to G-protein coupled receptors and ion channels, protein-protein interactions, signaling and regulatory mechanisms of neurotransmitter secretion and vesicle trafficking.

Genetics: mainly focuses on translational and precision medicine of major diseases, such as cardiovascular and  neurological  diseases;  Perform  B2B  translational  research  (Disease-Gene-Protein-Cell-Organism-Therapy).

Microbiology: mainly focuses on microbial resources, bioenergy, biomanufacturing technologies,enzymatic engineering, environmental biology and biogeology, and biodegradation and transformation of biomass.

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: mainly focuses on plant molecular biology and protein biochemistry, identify genes and proteins controlling the quality of wheat crop and stress resistance, and find molecular mechanisms for high-oil content of rapeseed, bioactive peptides, and cancer signaling.

National and International Impact

    Our educational program has won international recognition: We have established the National Training Center for Basic Science, the National Training Center for Life Science and Technology, National Virtual Simulation Center for Laboratory Teaching, and possesses one National Teaching Team, one National Excellence Course, and one National Level Bilingual Course. Since 2012, our students have won one National Outstanding PhD Thesis Award and three Nomination Awards, and five Outstanding PhD Thesis Awards of Hubei Province. Furthermore, we have established many collaborative training programs with top universities around the world and won a National Teaching Achievement Award (second-grade). Our students have won dozens of gold prizes in major national and international competitions, including iGEM and BIOMOD.

    Faculty members have gained international reputation. Prof. Q. Wang initiated the Chinese Rare Disease Research Consortium, and serves on the Executive Board of the International Rare Disease Research Consortium. Prof. Wang and Prof. X. He were elected as members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Prof. J. Liu serves as a reviewer for F1000. Over 30 faculty members are elected executive members and council chairs/vice chairs of Chinese Academic Societies, and serves as editors or members of the editorial boards at numerous international and domestic journals. Eight faculties were appointed as government consultants.

    International exchange has promoted collaborations on education, research and innovation. Numerous international collaborations have been greatly facilitated by the national "111 Plan". Since 2012, we have hosted >10 high-quality international and domestic academic meeting/conferences, including the annual" International Symposium on Frontiers in Cardiovascular Disease"and annual "Sino-France Meeting on Oncology". More than 30 faculty members were invited as keynote speakers and chairs at numerous international conferences. Our Sino-France collaboration has led to relocation of several French Biotech companies into Wuhan Biolakes.

    Strong commercialization of faculty research: Our patent commercialization has generated a 10,000 ton-grade industry line and a 1000 ton-grade oil-based polyol/polyamide products pilot line. Biodegumming and clean production of degummed ramie with a 10,000 ton-grade industry line have renovated the industry of ramie. Translational research of major diseases have made several major breakthroughs and led to screening of 140,000 new-borns for deafness genes, resulting in important social and economic impact.