Kobilka Cryo-Electron Microscopy Center for the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen (CUHK-SZ), was inaugurated yesterday, marking a new stage for the CUHK-SZ in the research of structural biology and medicine development.
Supported by the Shenzhen Municipal Government and Longgang District Government, the Kobilka Institute of Innovative Drug Discovery of the CUHK-SZ, established in 2017 and led by Nobel prize-winning professor Brian Kobilka, founded the center.
The center is said to be the first research and teaching platform for structural biology in Longgang.
Cryo-Electron Microscopy (Cryo-EM) has been widely applied in determining the structures of biological samples and polymer materials and has become an indispensible device for developing biological medicine and research protein structures and functions.
Simply speaking, Cryo-EM can freeze molecules in order to help see their structures clearly. The structural information can then be used to design new medicine, according to Ye Dequan, director with the life science college of the CUHK-SZ.
Kobilka said that the development cycle of a new medicine normally takes eight years on average from the launch of the research to being approved by supervision authorities.
“Many attempts of new medicine fail in the end. The establishment of the center will help to shorten the period and to increase the success rate by facilitating researches of the receptors’ structure of hormone and neurotransmitter with the help of Cryo-EM,” said Kobilka.
“Medical science has been a key item in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. The establishment of the center will not only help the development of relevant basic researchers but also play a role in transferring research results into industries,” Xu Yangsheng, president of CUHK-SZ, said at the ceremony.
In the future, the center will also be open for enterprises and institutions in relevant industries, according to Chen Wenguang, deputy head of Longgang District Government.