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The Seventh Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University Establishes Strategic Partnership with the Francis Crick Institute

On September 26, Yulong He, President of the Seventh Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Vice President Limin Zhou, Changhua Zhang, Yihang Pan, and Honglu Xu, Director of Nursing Department, visited the Francis Crick Institute on invitation. Correspondingly, the delegation conducted thorough investigative research on several top scientific and technological platforms, reviewed and evaluated the results from previous cooperation between the two sides and based on given valuable information to establish a strategic partnership for further development in future. Building rapport and seeking further partnerships is the top priority of the delegation's visit to Britain, organized by Dr. Ningning Li, a high-level talent of the Seventh Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University.

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In the morning of that day, Dr. Steve Gamblin, Deputy Director of Francis Crick Institute and Academician of the Royal Society, and Sir John Skehel, Vice-President of the Royal Society and Academician of Medical Sciences, received our delegation at Keith Peters Room. The two sides introduced their advantages respectively and discussed around cooperation at an early stage. Gamblin said that the project of Yihang Pan/Ningning Li’s Research Group in summer on the structure and function of G protein-coupled receptors had achieved phased results, laying a solid foundation for all-around personnel exchanges and scientific research cooperation in the future. President Yulong He showed great gratitude toward Academician Gamblin for his efforts in training scientific research reserve leaders. He also noted that the Seventh Affiliated Hospital would make the most effort to promote cooperation thereby guarantee long-term cooperation by laying out a blueprint with countering strategies and reachable goals. Furthermore, both two sides discussed the advanced management mode and quality scientific research output of the Francis Crick Institute.

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In that afternoon, our delegation was so honoured to meet with Tomas Lindahl, the Nobel Prize winner in 2015, and with Axel Behrens, a senior member of the European Academy of Sciences and the Crick Institute. Vince-President Pan first introduced the general situation, research platform and the second phase of construction plan of the Hospital, emphasising the necessity and feasibility of constructing Tomas Lindahlo Prize Laboratory with ‘DNA Damage and Tumorogenesis’ as its main research guideline. Academician Behrens and Professor Chengming Zhu subsequently presented the research results in this field and the plan of the ‘Nobel Prize Laboratory’. President Yulong He and Academician Tomas Lindahl fully agree with our capability of establishing the ‘Nobel Prize Laboratory’ and express their full support for the core scientific research echelon of young and middle-aged people composed of Axel Behrens, Yihang Pan, Ningning Li and Chengming Zhu. Later on, President Yulong He awarded honorary professors of the Seventh Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University to Tomas Lindahl and Axel Behrens. Both parties achieved an agreement that resulted in establishing the Nobel Prize laboratory in Seventh Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University in March next year.

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Subsequently, Behrens Laboratory introduced the cultivation of clinical oncology organs and the management of biological sample libraries for the delegation from the Hospital. Axel Behrens is a long-term partner of associate researcher Ningning Li. He recently participated in the opening ceremony and frontier forum of our hospital and was funded by the project of ‘High-end Foreign Experts’. President Yulong He and Vice-President Changhua Zhang mentioned that the establishment of tumour organ libraries is a sustainable extension of our hospital's human genetic resources platform, which has great significance for clinical individualised diagnosis and treatment and scientific research.

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On the same day, the delegation observed the three-dimension structure of hemagglutinin-binding antibodies on the surface of the influenza virus and the structural biology platform, including the UK's most powerful nuclear magnetic resonance equipment, the world's most advanced cryoelectronics, the best indoor X-ray diffraction equipment, the world's leading ultra-large-scale automated animal center, the platform of histopathology, small animal imaging analysis (MRI, CT, ultrasound) and other scientific and technological platforms.

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Through this visit, investigation and in-depth exchange, The Seventh Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University and the Francis Crick Research Institute have established a strategic partnership. Also, it opened up a new perspective for the layout of the top-tier scientific research platform of the second phase of the project and laid a good foundation for the Hospital to be aligning with world-famous scientific research institutes.

The Francis Crick Institute is named after Francis Crick, the discoverer of DNA double helix structure, Nobel Prize winner and founder of modern molecular biology. The Francis Crick Institute for these reasons is one of the most critical national-level medical research centres in Britain and Europe. The Crick Institute is composed of four most influential medical research institutes in the world, which are the Medical Research Council, the British Cancer Research Centre, the Wellcome Trust and the University of London. It is installed with the most advanced equipment in the world which has been serving top scientists for years. Therefore, the Francis Crick Institute by no doubt dedicates to its national image as one of the ‘National Business Cards of Britain’.