HKBU students win two awards at international competition for their innovative Chinese medicine research proposal
11 Nov 2016
A team of five HKBU students, named “HK-BUddy”, scored impressive successes in the 2016 International Bio-molecular Design Competition held in the US. The team won two awards: the Gold Project Award and 2nd Place in the Project Video competition for their innovative research proposal for Chinese medicines. They beat 30 teams comprising 200 students from more than 10 countries, and their success was the best result achieved by an HKBU team in this competition.
The HKBU team comprised Liu Shihan (Computer Science, Year 4) and four Year 5 students majoring in Chinese Medicine and Biomedical Science: Xu Xinzhou, Zhang Yilin, Yu Jucheng and Wong Lok-tong. Entitled “A smart anti-tumour, nucleolin aptamer-paclitaxel conjugate”, the award-winning proposal demonstrated that the synthesis of nucleolin aptamer-paclitaxel conjugate (NucA-PTX) can break down the limits imposed by paclitaxel alone by effectively enhancing its water-solubility and tumor-targeting capacity. Important features of NucA-PTX are its high stability, low antigenicity and high capacity for cell penetration. It is also easy to modify and synthesise. As a result, the synthesis of NucA-PTX will strikingly improve the tumour selectivity of paclitaxel as a widely-used and effective anti-cancer agent.
Under the supervision of Dr Zhang Ge, Director of the Technology Development Division, School of Chinese Medicine, and Dr Li Fangfei, Research Assistant Professor of the Institute of Integrated Bioinformedicine and Translational Science, the team devoted huge efforts over more than half a year to prepare for the competition. What particularly impressed the judges were the team’s innovative initiatives, confidence and optimistic spirit.
Xu Xinzhou said the team’s name, “HK-BUddy”, shows how proud they are to be HKBU students. For their presentation at the competition the team used a high-end movie production software, which they were not familiar with, to produce a project video. They were delighted that, thanks to their perseverance in their studies and by conducting repeated tests, they were finally able to complete the entire project.
Xinzhou said it was an honour for the team to work with Dr Zhang Ge and Dr Li Fangfei who taught them many skills and much valuable research knowledge. He would also like to express the team members’ sincere appreciation to the School of Chinese Medicine, the Knowledge Transfer Office, and the Office of Student Affairs for their generous support and assistance throughout the competition.
Details of the HKBU team’s project can be found at: http://www.hk-buddy.com/.