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December 14, 2023
HNU Holds a Lecture on Synthetic Biology

Zhang Xian’en, Dean of School of Synthetic Biology, Shenzhen Polytechnic University (to be established) and research fellow of Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, delivered a lecture titled “Synthetic Biology: build-to-learn and build-to-use” in Haidian campus on Wednesday (December 13th). The lecture is the 16th one of the distinguished scientist lecture series, a brand academic event of Hainan University. Fu Xuanguo, Secretary of CPC Hainan University, was present in the lecture. Luo Qingming, President of HNU and academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences, presided over the lecture.

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Zhang Xian’en presented the origin and early practice of synthetic biology by elaborating on the development of enabling technologies and theoretical innovations, genome and chromosome synthesis, and metabolic engineering and cell factories. He noted that synthetic biology, supported by bio-manufacturing and bio-technology, is now widely applied in such areas as microbial synthesis of plant natural products, medicine biosynthesis, and carbon dioxide utilization, etc.. However, it is also confronted with some challenges in DNA sequencing, synthesis and assembly, gene editing, protein design, and chassis cells, etc.

He added that synthetic biology has enabling technologies, genome synthesis and assembly of organisms and cell factories and the construction and application of new biological systems as its main content. Its core philosophy is “building-to-learn and building-to-use”. The former is to understand the biological functions and the underlying principles, while the latter is to promote the evolution of biotechnology, bio-economy and achieve sustainable development.

His informative lecture attracted more than 2,000 online and offline audience from HNU’s three campuses of Haidian, Danzhou and Mission Hills, and Chengxi Basic Teaching Department, and Yazhou Bay Science and Education Park. In the Q & A session, the participating faculty and students posed their questions related to the presentation, and got inspiring answers from Zhang.

The participants also include HNU leadership members, Deans of Schools and Chief of Departments.

(Editor: Wang Yiqin)

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