China rec­og­nizes Rus­sian chemist’s con­tri­bu­tion

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - China - By LI HONGYANG li­[email protected] chi­

Rus­sian chemist Kon­stantin Chin­gin’s con­tri­bu­tion to Sino-Rus­sian aca­demic co­op­er­a­tion in his cho­sen re­search field, mass spec­trom­e­try, was rec­og­nized on Sept 29 when he re­ceived the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment’s Friend­ship Award.

Chin­gin, 34, works at the mass spec­trom­e­try lab­o­ra­tory at East China Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy in Nan­chang, Jiangxi prov­ince, which he said is the only one in the coun­try spe­cial­iz­ing in such re­search.

“Ba­si­cally, our work aims to pro­vide molec­u­lar in­for­ma­tion of sam­ples we an­a­lyze,” he said, adding that it can be used in the field of cancer treat­ment, such as lung cancer and breast cancer.

For ex­am­ple, he said, when doc­tors op­er­ate in surgery, they want to cut the tu­mor out pre­cisely and com­pletely, not just de­pend on their own ex­pe­ri­ence.

“We can help them de­ter­mine the tu­mor mar­gins dur­ing the surgery so that they can know whether to con­tinue cut­ting or not,” he said. “Our ba­sic goal is to trans­fer tis­sue sam­ples of ev­ery spot where they are cut­ting to mass spec­tra dur­ing the surgery. Time is valu­able, so the re­sult would come out within a minute.”

The re­search has not been put into sur­gi­cal use yet, but both coun­tries view it as promis­ing.

A Rus­sian branch of the mass spec­trom­e­try re­search cen­ter was set up in Moscow in May last year by East China Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy and the Rus­sian Health Min­istry’s Ma­ter­nal and Peri­na­tal Re­search Cen­ter.

In Au­gust last year, the project was listed in China’s Pro­gram of In­tro­duc­ing Tal­ents of Dis­ci­pline to Uni­ver­si­ties, also known as Plan 111.

The plan, launched by the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion and the State Ad­min­is­tra­tion of For­eign Ex­perts Af­fairs, aims to bring for­eign tal­ent to China to up­grade the coun­try’s re­search and in­no­va­tion ca­pa­bil­i­ties. Projects are funded for five years at a time and re­ceive grants of at least 1.8 mil­lion yuan ($260,000) a year, ac­cord­ing to the ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Chin­gin, an am­a­teur player of Gomoku, a board game that orig­i­nated in China, first vis­ited the coun­try in 2012 to at­tend a con­test in Bei­jing. The next year, he de­cided to work in China at the in­vi­ta­tion of Chen Huan­wen, the team leader of the mass spec­trom­e­try lab, whom he stud­ied with at Swiss Fed­eral In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy Zurich.

“I’d been study­ing in Euro­pean coun­tries for so many years, and this time I wanted to ex­pe­ri­ence a dif­fer­ent en­vi­ron­ment in Asia,” Chin­gin said.

For ex­am­ple, he said, he can ap­pre­ci­ate bam­boos unique to China.

The re­search en­vi­ron­ment here is also “very friendly”, he said.

“In China, the po­lit­i­cal sys­tem is more cen­tral­ized and re­search sup­port can be ac­ces­si­ble to every­body, while in Eu­rope it’s more a kind of pri­vate thing. They don’t have that large scale, while in China, the en­deav­ors are big. The gov­ern­ment will try its best to ful­fill re­search de­mands,” he said.

“In China, mass spec­trom­e­try sci­ence is at a nascent stage, and there are no com­pany lead­ers in this field. So bring­ing in the tech­nol­ogy is not enough, we also need to train peo­ple and at­tract more for­eign ex­perts.”

In the fu­ture, Chin­gin plans to get in­volved in a tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine re­search pro­gram us­ing mass spec­trom­e­try tech­nol­ogy.

“Though TCM is pow­er­ful, it doesn’t have much solid sci­en­tific ba­sis,” he said. “We need to prove it and make peo­ple be­lieve in it. We can an­a­lyze the chem­i­cal el­e­ments in it and help bet­ter un­der­stand the func­tion on a molec­u­lar level.

“We’ve al­ready had a TCM cen­ter es­tab­lished in Jiangxi and, next step, we plan to pro­duce more fruit­ful re­sults in the field.”


Kon­stantin Chin­gin shakes hands with Vice-Premier Liu He at the Chi­nese Gov­ern­ment Friend­ship Award cer­e­mony in Bei­jing on Sept 29.

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