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Si Longlong: The Chinese College Student of the Year

MAY . 10 2017

Peking University, May 5th, 2017: According to the Chinese College Student of Year announcement recently, Si Longlong, a 12’ doctoral student from the Peking University’s School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, was successfully voted as the Twelfth Chinese College Student of the Year. Until the 10th of March 2017, the 12th Chinese College Student of the Year has received around 1686 numbers of application materials that were sent from 31 different provinces of the whole country and 1028 colleges in China. There were 171 applications from the Colleges affiliated to the Ministry of Education, 10 applications from Colleges affiliated to other ministries and 1505 applications from provincial colleges. The coverage among the colleges in China and the competition between the candidates this year is the biggest and most intense since the event’s establishment 20 years ago.

Si Longlong

The Achievements of Si Longlong

Si Longlong is a doctoral student at Peking University who always aspire to contribute to the progress of human health. His great achievements included the publication of 20 scientific researches in international authoritative journals, and obtainment of approximately 10 international invention patents. On the 2nd of December 2016, with the advice from his lecturer, Professor Zhou Demin, Si Longlong, as the first author, successfully published his thesis in the world’s most prestigious academics journal, Science, and applied for international patent. His research, which focused on the invention of new techniques that could control the virus replication and convert the virus into vaccines, had created a sensation throughout the academic field and media since it was published.

The Personalities of Si Longlong

The first impression that Si Longlong always gives to people like his teachers and classmates is clean, quiet, shy and hardworking. Spending 7 days per week, and around 10 hours per day doing scientific research is a norm in his life. He started his research career after joining the undergraduate innovation project while he was in his sophomore year, he always took everything seriously. Si believes that we gain results from simple and basic things. Therefore, he thinks that following the order patiently during the whole working process is crucial for us to accumulate experiences.

Besides that, Si is a very optimistic person. In spite of the boredom of engaging in long periods of scientific research work, he is willing to take up challenges. He is not afraid of failures, and he is always patient and determined to continue. Recalling back to the moment in November 2014, when his first thesis, with himself as the first author, was published, he said: “I struggled a lot before I published my thesis. I was so nervous and excited. I only had a few days off during my summer holidays.”

As the saying goes, a great man is always willing to be little. Si is also a very humble student. He is always keen to learn something good from others. Si used to study and work in pure science fields such as Biology, Physics and Chemistry. Whenever he has some free time, he will gather with his friends who come from different academic backgrounds and professions to discuss about their new and innovative ideas. His classmates used to give comments about him that he is a kind, polite and passionate person. Si said he is always willing to communicate and work together with his friends and classmates, and help to improve each other.

His Innovation: Leading to a New Breakthrough

Using the gene codon as the supporting evidence and the further introduction of the influenza virus, Si invented a new technique that could manipulate the replication of virus and convert the virus into beneficial vaccines. This easily-applied and prepared technique not only reduced the dependence on viral biology but also applicable to almost all the viruses in theory, which completely subverted the general research methods of viral vaccines. It caused a new revolution in the medical field and helped to start a new beginning for the invention of future vaccines and medicines. According to Si, during this breakthrough, there were many problems and obstacles for them to overcome. For instance, the mutation of the virus means immediate actions need to be taken to control the mutation. Also, the efficiency of packing, low production, experiments’ methods, etc. are all difficult problems. He also stated that they should be very careful while doing the virus research experiments as the possibilities for the experiments’ crew to be infected was quite high. In order to make new inventions, they were required to be very strict and specific to each single step while carrying out the whole process. Mistakes and errors were not allowed to be happen as a result to ensure the precision and accuracy of the experiments’ results.

On the 1st December of 2016 (U.S Eastern Time), the biggest science and technology news workstation in the world, SciPak, highlighted Si’s invention as a tremendous breakthrough in the medical and science field. And, the Xinhua News Agency, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, South China Morning Post and other medias also reported about Si Longlong’s new invention subsequently. Although attracting massive attention and increasing popularity overnight sounds excited to anyone, Si still attempted to stay calm and cool, which was quite different from what people expected. Si only posted a short sentence on his WeChat’s moments, which reflected the serene and peaceful spirits that he had after his invention was proved to be a success. “It was quite a peaceful process to me. I am glad that my hard work paid off. As just like what my seniors said, be brave to come out with your own hypothesis, and try to prove it with details carefully. Always being rigorous and careful while carrying out research helps me to reach my target.” said Si Longlong while he was interviewed by the reporters.

To Si Longlong, the success of his invention does not only belongs to him, but also belongs to the whole research group members, who had started to do this research ten years ago. The main concern for him and his research group members now is to develop the next new ideas, targets and missions.

His Words to the Younger Generation

No matter how tough or how difficult the process is, stay calm and wise; take every step orderly and carefully. Turn your words into actions; Create new techniques to save lives; Use innovative ideas to return your country. Si also encourages us with his motto “Don’t forget what brings you here; Be brave to take up the challenges; Be willing to contribute.”

Written by: Tan Yen
Edited by: Xu Liangdi
Source: PKU News (in Chinese), adapted from this and this article.