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March 31, 2012

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Neurosurgeon, geneticist take top prizes in science

A brain surgeon and a scientist doing basic research on genes were honored with the city's top award for science innovation yesterday.

The prizes went to Zhou Liangfu, 70, a neurosurgeon at Huashan Hospital, and He Lin, 58, a geneticist at Jiao Tong University, who detected many genes related to diseases.

Each will receive 500,000 yuan (US$79,365).

Projects and research involving life science, pharmaceutical development and food safety covered 42 percent of the awards this year.

The two foreign experts who received this year's international scientific and technological cooperation award were also in the medical field. Michael Phillips, a Canadian mental health expert, and Issei Komuro, a Japanese cardiovascular expert, were honored for their efforts to boost China's health development and improve China's position on the international stage.

"Different from previous year's science and technology awards focusing mainly on scientific innovation, this year's awards focused more on the introduction of scientific research into practice and industrialization and its economic result," said Yin Bangqi of the Shanghai Science and Technology Commission. "This encourages scientists to focus on civil needs and translate their research into practical use and create more profits."

Zhou Liangfu said he will put all of his 500,000 yuan prize into his research, which leads neurosurgery development in China. At age 70, he has a full schedule - doing surgery two days a week, serving at an outpatient clinic on Wednesdays and checking his patients on the remaining two days.

"I have been working in clinical practice for almost 50 years and have done over 10,000 surgeries, witnessing the growth of China's neurosurgery from blankness to the current status," said Zhou, who created surgical methods to treat tumors at the bottom of the brain.

He Lin completed the accurate localization, cloning and mutation detection of a gene, IHH, which causes the disease brachydactyly type A-1, which results in babies born with shortened toes or fingers. It is a common but not serious prenatal disease, with a global incidence of about 2 percent.

He also set up the world's largest psychosis sample library and made important progress in studies of psychosis nutrigenomics and pharmacogenomics - the effects of nutrition and drugs on genes. He also confirmed that prenatal nutritional deficiencies seriously increase the risk of schizophrenia.


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