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57 high profile research papers

The 21st century is the golden age of life sciences. Structural biology, as the cutting-edge and major topics of biology, is the most intuitive and basic approach for revealing living systems at the highest resolution. Structural biology has a long history, and the Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to eight discoveries or inventions in structural biology since 2000 (2002, 2003, 2006, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2017). All of these achievements represent breakthroughs in scientific principles and methods in the study of biological macromolecular structures. Thus, structural biology holds great importance in life sciences and even in the entire natural sciences.

The sprouting of remarkable achievements of structural biology in China has made China a leading country in the research of structural biology. The Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Structural Biology (ICSB) of Tsinghua University is the leader of structural biology in China and presents the latest development and the greatest achievements in this field. Tsinghua University has been working diligently in this field for more than 10 years since the introduction of Professor Yigong Shi, an international leader in structural biology, in 2007 and the establishment of the Center for Structural Biology directed by Professor Shi in 2008. Over the past decade, the Center has focused on the frontiers of structural biology and harnessed the collective wisdom. A group of outstanding young scientists in the traditional field of X-ray crystallography have been introduced to tackle biological problems. Moreover, a plan for cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) has been made in advance, and a cryo-EM platform with international influence has been constructed. With the support of Beijing Municipal Education Commission, the Center for Structural Biology at Tsinghua University was upgraded to ICSB in 2015 and has developed dramatically thereafter. ICSB has been bringing breakthroughs in the past few years, and the forward-looking plans have rooted, blossomed, and fruited.

To ensure China’s leading role in structural biology and especially in cryo-EM, Beijing has increased investments in research fund, policy resources, and personnel on the basis of ICSB to establish the Beijing Frontier Research Center for Biological Structure (FRCBS) that follows the principles of forward-looking, fundamental, interdisciplinary, and people-centered. FRCBS was organized and established by Beijing Municipal Science & Technology Commission, with world-renowned biologist Professor Yigong Shi as the director and Professor Hongwei Wang as the executive director. FRCBS has 17 independent laboratories, more than 40 postdoctoral fellows, and 200 doctoral students. Its research efforts address a wide range of structural biology frontiers, including important studies on the structures and functions of biological macromolecules, disease-associated membrane proteins, chromatin-modifying proteins, proteins involved in immune responses, viruses and viral proteins.