Chinese structural biologist Yan Ning to return to China to establish medical academy
Published: Nov 02, 2022 12:09 AM
Yan Ning Photo: VCG

The photo taken on November 1, 2022 shows Yan Ning at Shenzhen Global Innovation Talent Forum. Photo: VCG

Chinese structural biologist Yan Ning announced on Tuesday that she will resign from Princeton University in the US and join in the establishment of Shenzhen Medical Academy of Research and Translation (SMART) in the near future. The move comes amid efforts by the country to attract more top talent to return to China for opportunities and development.

"In the near future, I will return to China full-time to assist in establishing a new research and development institution in Shenzhen, which is named SMART, integrating several functions including scientific research, transformation, student cultivation and financial support," 45-year-old Yan said at the Shenzhen Global Innovation Talent Forum on Tuesday.

Yan received her degree from the Department of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology at Tsinghua University in China in 2000. She was the regional winner of the Young Scientist Award (North America) co-sponsored by Science/AAAS and GE Healthcare in 2005 for her thesis on the structural and mechanistic study of programmed cell death, according to her biography on the Princeton University website.

Yan earned her PhD at Princeton in 2004, and returned in 2018 as the first Shirley M. Tilghman Professor of Molecular Biology. She was elected as National Academy of Sciences Foreign Associate in 2019 for outstanding contributions to research.

The establishment of the new medical academy in Shenzhen is one of the main projects in building a pilot demonstration area of socialism with Chinese characteristics in Shenzhen, according to the medical academy.

The academy is being set up by the Shenzhen local government and the head of the academy is the legal representative of SMART.

"Shenzhen is the city of dreams, and I want to realize my next dream here," Yan said during the forum.

Yan said she wanted to support more outstanding scholars and to tackle various health threats facing mankind, according to The Paper on Tuesday. Shenzhen offered the right opportunity and the city can build its place in the global biomedicine field, Yang said.

The topic "Yan announced to leave the US and return to China" has got more than 300 million clicks on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo as of press time, with many netizens welcoming Yan's decision to return to the motherland.