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The 2nd PKU Graduate Student Forum on Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies held

MAY . 16 2018
Peking University, April 25, 2018: The 2nd Peking University Graduate Student Forum on Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies was held on April 20, 2018, at Yingjie Overseas Exchange Center.

Prior to the school’s 120th Anniversary celebrations, students of PKU’s Academy for Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies (AAIS) independently organized the forum on their own initiative. The theme of this forum was “communication, integration, knowledge and innovation,” with an emphasis on incorporating multiple academic fields. The forum received the support of more than 30 institutions from all over the country. The students also invited 12 renowned interdisciplinary experts from various fields including biology, medicine and nanotechnology to make presentations. More than 300 students from Peking University, Tsinghua University, the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China Agricultural University, Chinese Academy of Sciences and other institutes were in attendance.

The opening ceremony

Han Qide, the former vice chairman of the CPPCC National Committee, the former chairman of the 93 society, and the dean of the Academy for Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies of Peking University, offered a warm welcome to the participants and guests. Han shared his personal experience in medical research and explained that scientific development and major scientific and technological accomplishments are increasingly reliant on the integration and cohesion of different disciplines.

Han Qide delivering his speech

During the first half of the main forum, Professor Gehan Amaratunga from the University of Cambridge drew on his years of research to lecture on the topic "Natural Compound Medicines and Nanotechnology.” He discussed the possibility that the encapsulation of drug compounds can further enhance efficiency through extending the time of residence in cells. He pointed out that nanotechnology-based delivery systems can effectively improve the efficacy of natural medicines. 

Professor Danny Ziyi Chen from the University of Notre Dame elaborated on the opportunities and challenges of modern interdisciplinary research on artificial intelligence, big data and modern medical transformation. He pointed out that the use of deep learning technology is usually inadequate in solving of medical imaging problems. As such, it is of the utmost importance to develop new methods and algorithms.

Posters displayed during the tea break

The second half of the forum was hosted by Tang Chao, Executive Dean of PKU AAIS. First, Professor José Onuchic from Rice University gave a lecture on the subject of "Developing Models for Chromatin Folding."He introduced the human genome fold as a characteristic three-dimensional structure and later explained the extraction methods of chromatin types from ChIP-Seq information. With the molecular dynamics simulation method, he explained that the experimental results that stimulate the contact map were consistent with all GM12878 autosomes.
Professor Shu-Hong Yu from the University of Science and Technology of China discussed how to synthesize high-quality nanoscale blocks with specific shapes and sizes based with a lecture titled “Bio-inspired Macroscopic Nanoparticle Assemblies: An Emerging Material System.”He also explained how to assemble nanoscale blocks into biologically inspired components and how to integrate them with existing macrostructures to achieve functionality.

At the end of the main forum, Professor Michael Q. Zhang from Tsinghua University gave a detailed speech on the topic of “A Tale of DNA Loops in Globin Gene Cluster Locus.” He suggested that the epigenome and 3D chromatin structures are crucial in the regulation of gene expression. Furthermore, he used the Globin gene cluster site to demonstrate the new 3D chromatin interaction technology.

Group photo of the guests

The forum was divided into three parallel sub-forums in the afternoon, which were “Crossing  Biology and Medicine,” “Crossing Big Data and Artificial Intelligence,”, and “Crossing Nano-Science and Technology.”

During the three sub-forums, invited speakers from Peking University, Zhejiang University and other institutions focused on the three interdisciplinary fields respectively and elucidated the accomplishments made through integrating knowledge of different subjects.

 The 2nd Peking University Graduate Student Forum on Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies exposed participants to the current trends of interdisciplinary integration and promoted academic cooperation between the integrated fields. This forum also strengthened interactions between teachers and students, creating a platform for communication and further academic development. 

Written by: Kemerly Wang
Edited by: Zhou Yijing, Erin Dunne 
Source: PKU News (Chinese)