On May 30, 2018, the ceremony of Tan Kah Kee Science Awards and Tan Kah Kee Young Scientist Awards 2018 was held at the 19th Meeting of the Academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and 14th Meeting of the Academicians of the Chinese Academy of Engineering in Beijing.
Professor and Principle Investigator WU Beili, from the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica (SIMM) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), won the Tan Kah Kee Young Scientist Award in Life Sciences for her innovative work on structural studies and drug discovery of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs).
GPCRs play an essential role in many diseases and are one of the most fruitful targeting drugs in the market. Studies on GPCR structures shed light on molecular mechanisms of ligands recognition, activation, allosteric modulation, dimerization, signaling bias and can be translated into more druggable GPCR ligands and templates for modeling unsolved GPCR-ligand complexes.
SIMM is one of the most active centers of GPCR studies in China and the world. Structure identification of GPCR is difficult due to low expression level and multiple conformational states of the protein. Based on the research infrastructure of SIMM, Prof. WU built the platform of structure identification and gained lots of important data.
Today Prof. WU’s group has solved many GPCR structures including CCR5, P2Y12 ,GCGR, P2Y1 and Y Y1, which were published on Science and Nature. Prof. WU‘s work facilitates research on membrane protein in China, paving the way for rational drug design based on GPCR structure.
Tan Kah Kee Young Scientist Award was set up in 2010, aiming to reward the outstanding young scientists (under 40 years old） in China. It was founded by the Tan Kah Kee Science Award Foundation. Tan Kah Kee Science Awards cover 6 fields of scientific research and award the elected awardees every two years. Prof. WU is the first scientist who won the award in SIMM history.