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  • WMU won two first-prize titles of Zhejiang Provincial Natural Science Award
  • On the “Zhejiang Provincial Science and Technology Award” Awarding Conference held on May 14th in Hangzhou, Wenzhou Medical University (WMU) took away two first-prize awards for the achievements of the research project “Retinitis Pigmentation Molecular Mechanism and Stem Cell Research” by a research team led by Professor Jinzibing at WMU’s School of Ophthalmology and Optometry and the research project “The Mechanism of Regulating Chronic Inflammation for the Prevention and Treatment of Metabolic Diseases and Intervention Strategy” by a research team led by Professor Liang Guang at WMU’s School of Pharmaceutical Sciences (WMU and Zhejiang University shared the 7 first-prize awards) in addition to three second-prize and six third-prize awards. While making history for WMU for winning the most provincial science and technology awards as the leading institution of research, it is the first time for WMU to win two first-prize titles of the provincial natural science award in a single year, indicating the school’s constantly improving capacity for independent innovation, its strengths in frontier fundamental research, in particular.

    In recent years, being oriented by China’ major strategic needs, targeting the frontiers of the world’s science and technology development, WMU has made a series of major innovations that promoted breakthrough development in related disciplines and technology fields, making contributions in accelerating the pace of the “Double-First-Class” plan construction, promoting innovation-driven growth in Zhejiang Province and the building of a world-leading research and innovation center for life and health science and technology .

    Like a camera’s “film” , retina is vital to human vision in the visual system. The main cause of Retinitis pigmentosa (RP), also known as “night blindness”, is the abnormality of retinal pigment epithelial cells (RPE) that ultimately affects the formation of visual signals. Currently without any effective treatment, the disease places a heavy burden on patients’ families and society.

    Focusing on China’s RP patients’ characteristics and diagnostic pathways, Professor Jin Zibing’s research team have applied the next-generation sequencing technology in exploring the mutation spectrum of China’s RP population, and have successfully established a clinical screening and diagnostic technology system. By using retinal pigment epithelial cell transplantation from iPS cell differentiation sources as a treatment, the research team have made significant contributions to retinitis pigmentosa molecular mechanism and stem cell research. On such a basis, they developed and established the largest genetic retinal degeneration gene database “RetinoGenetics” in China. In addition, the research team successfully differentiated induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from patients as seed cells into RPE and prepared them into transplants for preclinical trials to obtain a number of related invention patents, laying a key scientific foundation for clinical applications. Related findings were published in international first-category journals including Nature Communications (IF=12.124) and Nucleic Acids Research (IF=10.162), suggesting the research achievements have reached the world leading level.

    The 10 representative papers of the research project include 4 papers published in first-category SCI-indexed journals and 4 papers published in second-category SCI-indexed journals have a cumulative impact factor of 62.425, a cumulative 228 citations on Google Scholars and five papers with at least 12 citations each on Web of Science, suggesting a strong academic influence at both home and abroad. It has promoted the genetic diagnosis and stem cell treatment research of major hereditary eye diseases in Chinese population, laying a key scientific foundation for clinical application and treatment.

    Inflammation is an anti-infection defense mechanism of human body. However, excessive or uncontrolled inflammatory responses (over-activation of the innate immune system and over-expression of inflammatory cytokines) can lead to tissue damage that mediates the development of many diseases. Chronic inflammation is an important pathological process of many metabolic diseases and plays an important role in the progression of metabolic diseases.

    Under the guidance of Professor Li Xiaokun, a Yangtze River Scholar, the research team led by Professor Liang Guang aimed at chronic inflammation and targeted metabolic disease prevention to carry out multidisciplinary collaborative innovation from the perspective of translational medicine. Being committed to discovering and  elucidating inflammatory and regulatory mechanisms of chronic metabolic diseases and suggesting that MD2, EGFR, FGFs, etc. may become new targets for the prevention and treatment of related metabolic diseases, the research team have successfully screened from nearly a thousand small molecular compounds 27 new anti-inflammatory compound for target confirmation by designing and looking for new anti-inflammatory small molecules and elucidating their anti-inflammatory mechanisms and targets. The research team clarified the direct anti-inflammatory molecular target for is MD2, elucidated the pharmacological mechanism and effects of anti-inflammatory molecules against metabolic diseases and developed new interventions strategy and candidate new drugs including Compound C66, which has entered the pre-clinical development stage as a candidate for new drug under Class 1.1 for the treatment of diabetic nephropathy .

    The 10 representative papers of the research project were published in the international authoritative journals including Circulation (IF=19.309), Cell Metabolism (IF=18.164), Nature Communications (IF=12.124), and the pharmaceutical chemistry Top (first category) journal of J Med Chem (IF= 6.2, 4 papers) and the pharmacology Top (first category) journal of Br J Pharmacol (IF = 6.8, 3 papers). The 10 representative papers were cited for a cumulative 770 times with the highest  per article citation reaching 226 times. Moreover, research findings were evaluated by special coverage in Nat Review, Diabete and other journals while selected as one of the ten major developments in the past ten years by the journal of Cell Metab. At the same time, the achievements were awarded with 10 national invention patents and the approval a candidate for new drug under Class 1.1.

    Reportedly, a total of 299 scientific and technological achievements were honored with the 2018 Zhejiang Science and Technology Award including 28 projects winning the first-prize, 95 the second-prize, and 176 the third-prize titles, respectively.