2015 - All Press Releases

Nature recognises distinguished Chinese scientists

Shanghai, 8 December 2015

Five prominent Chinese scientists today receive the 2015 Nature Award for Mentoring in Science at the 2015 International Forum: From Research to Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Nature hosts these annual awards to champion the importance of mentoring and inspiring a generation of young scientists.

Xuetao Cao, President of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Xing-Wang Deng, Dean of the School of Advanced Agricultural Sciences at Peking University, were jointly presented with the lifetime achievement award in Northern China and 25,000 RMB each. Hong-Yuan Chen, Director of the Institute of Analytical Science and the Institute of Chemical Biology at Nanjing University were presented with the lifetime achievement award in Southern China and 50,00RMB. Yigong Shi, Dean of the School of Life Sciences at Tsinghua University receives the mid-career award in Northern China and 50,000RMB prize. Hong-Bing Shu, Dean of Life Sciences and Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies at Wuhan University received the mid-career award in Southern China and 50,000RMB prize.

Editor-in-Chief of Nature, Philip Campbell, said: "In an era when laboratories are under great pressure to be competitive, it is essential that they maintain the technical robustness and ethical integrity of their science, while also empowering creativity. Thus the mentoring of young researchers has never been more important. And good mentoring by laboratory heads is not a skill that can be taken for granted."

Lifetime achievement award recipient professor Cao is a leading immunologist in the area of innate signalling in infection and inflammation, immune regulation and tumour immunotherapy. Former student Weilin Chen, who is a professor in the School of Medicine at Zhejiang University, said: “Undoubtedly the greatest attribute of Professor Cao's mentorship style is his accessibility. Professor Cao treats his colleagues, regardless of whether she/he is doing a PhD or if she/he is a visiting scholar, with the same high regard. I cannot remember him ever cancelling an appointment with me to discuss the research despite the tremendous demands on his time.

Lifetime achievement award recipient professor Deng’s achievements have been in molecular and biochemical mechanism responsible for light control of plant development and the genome wide DNA element and chromatin organization in rice. “Professor Deng has not only been a fantastic supervisor during my stay in his laboratory, always patient and soft-spoken and at the same time dedicated and focused, but he has also been an excellent example for a scientist that continuously reshaped his career, even in moments when he seemed to have reached the peak, “said Claus Schwechheimer, Professor at Technische Universität München, Germany.

Lifetime achievement award recipient professor Chen’s research interests include electrochemical biosensing, bioelectrochemistry, ultramicroelectrodes, biomolecular-electronic devices and the micro-total analysis system. His research group was one of the earliest groups of nanoanalytical science in China. Xuemei Wang, Professor at Southeast University, Nanjing, said:” Professor Chen paid much attention to culture and literary accomplishment. He told us that natural science and humanities are not the opposite but improve each other. He encouraged us to read philosophy and literatures books, and think from different aspects when we tried to do something or met problems. He also encouraged students to go abroad after graduation and experience the beauty of the science as well as other cultures. It helps people opening their minds and be more creative.”

Mid-career award recipient professor Shi’s achievements have been in structure and mechanism of disease related membrane proteins and large protein machinery. His group uses structural biological tools to elucidate the functional mechanisms of several key classes of proteins that control apoptosis, a form of cell death that plays essential roles in the development of multi-cellular organisms and in preventing diseases such as cancer and autoimmune disorders. Liang Feng, Assistant Professor at Stanford University said:” When I started my own lab in 2012, I often ask myself what Professor Shi would do if he were in my shoes. I kept all email communications Professor Shi sent to me or to the lab and often went back to read them. Those 800 emails in four years often reminded me how the lab was organized, how a problem was solved and how Professor Shi went out his way to promote my career development. It's a "how to" guide to deal with many situations.”

Mid-career award recipient professor Shu made major contributions to elucidation of the molecular mechanisms of inflammation and innate antiviral immune responses.  His group focus on the tumour necrosis factor (TNF) and interleukin 1 (IL-1)-triggered signaling, apoptosis and inflammatory responses and pattern-recognition and innate antiviral immune responses. Liangguo Xu, Professor, Jiangxi Normal University said “Professor Shu provided me the structural support when I first started independently and was searching for my own funding in China.  Although he is very busy and I have my own lab, he is still always approachable.  As I run into difficulties in my own career, I can still count on him to be there. “

Launched in 2005, the annual Nature Awards for Mentoring in Science recognize outstanding scientific mentorship and focus on a specific country or countries each year. Nature is the leading weekly, international scientific journal. 

More information about the Nature Awards for Mentoring in Science is available at www.nature.com/nature/awards/mentorship/


Piao Li
Nature Publishing Group
T: +86(21)24225042

About Springer Nature
Springer Nature is a leading global research, educational and professional publisher, home to an array of respected and trusted brands providing quality content through a range of innovative products and services. Springer Nature is the world's largest academic book publisher, publisher of the world’s highest impact journals and a pioneer in the field of open research. The company numbers almost 13,000 staff in over 50 countries and has a turnover of approximately €1.5 billion. Springer Nature was formed in 2015 through the merger of Nature Publishing Group, Palgrave Macmillan, Macmillan Education and Springer Science+Business Media. Find out more: www.springernature.com and follow @SpringerNature.