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Chengdu Special: 'Biotech Olympics' comes to China for first time

By Xu Xiao in Chengdu | China Daily | Updated: 2012-06-02 07:55

Chengdu Special: 'Biotech Olympics' comes to China for first time

Chengdu Mayor Ge Honglin (right) and renowned scientist Zhang Xingdong at the opening ceremony. Wang Jing / China Daily

As the first Chinese city to host of the ninth World Biomaterials Congress, Chengdu hopes to attract international partnerships and investments in its biotechnology industry, officials said at the opening ceremony of the event on June 1.

"It is a significant milestone in Chengdu's plan to build a national biomaterials industry hub and develop other related emerging industries," said Ge Honglin, mayor of Chengdu, in his keynote speech.

Biomaterial is a field of medical science involving the replacement or augmentation of tissues, bones and organs by devices such as joint replacements and artificial heart valves.

He added that the event also provides rich opportunities for international investors, research institutions and professionals to commercialize the latest research on a global scale.

Held every four years, it is considered to be the "Olympics" of the industry.

It is among the most influential international conferences that have been held in Chengdu in recent years.

The strength in biomaterials science and engineering of a city or even a country is the primary criteria by which the organizers of the congress choose a host venue.

"Chengdu was selected as the host city because it is already one of the biomaterials R&D hubs in China and even the world," said Xiang Shiyong, deputy secretary-general of Chengdu city government.

Before this year, the congress had never been held in a developing country, he said.

The hosts of the last eight sessions were: Washington, DC; Vienna; Kyoto; Berlin; Toronto; Hawaii; Sydney, and Amsterdam.

At the opening ceremony, China's top biomaterials scientist Shi Changxu, Chengdu Mayor Ge Honglin and Sichuan University President Xie Heping were named honorary presidents of the congress.

Based on the judgment of a panel of experts from the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan and China, awards were granted to outstanding scientists during the opening ceremony. Additional prizes were given to young scientists for their excellent studies in the biomaterial field.

Chengdu's strength

The field of biomaterials is undergoing significant changes. Research on human tissue and organ regeneration has become a new frontier of biomaterials science and engineering, Xiang said.

As a leader in this area, Chengdu has been designated by the Ministry of Science and Technology as China's nanobiotechnology research and development center.

It is also one of the country's important bases for international cooperation in this field.

Since the 1970s, Chengdu has begun research on biochemical materials. After decades of developments, the city has become one of the country's centers for the research and development of biochemical materials.

Chengdu's many universities and research institutions also offer strong technological and human resources support for further growth in the field.

Renowned Sichuan University has long been backing Chengdu's biomaterials industry.

The National Engineering Research Center for Biomaterials in the university is the first of its kind in the country.

Other institutions, such as the Southwest Jiaotong University, the Chengdu Organic Chemicals Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Sichuan People's Hospital also have R&D centers in the field.

"When the world is looking at China, the third-largest biomaterials market, they will inevitably focus on Chengdu," said Zhang Xingdong, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and professor at Sichuan University. He is also president of the ninth World Biomaterials Congress.

The congress, with the theme of "Innovative Biomaterials and Crossing Frontiers in Biomaterials and Regenerative Medicine", will highlight discussions on the hottest biomaterials topics, including medical implants, artificial organs and tissue engineering.

It will be a rare opportunity for the world's best minds in the field to get together and brainstorm, organizers of the congress said.

Over the course of the five-day congress, more than 3,000 experts, scholars and scientists, doctors, entrepreneurs and managers from 57 countries and regions will take part in various meetings, plenary sessions, discussions and forums at the event.

Among the guests to be present, there are big names, including Nicolas Peppas, chairman of International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Sciences and Engineering.

Qian Xu, considered one of China's most world-renowned scientists in this field, will give a special report on June 4.

Chengdu Special: 'Biotech Olympics' comes to China for first time

The ninth World Biomaterials Congress is one of the most influential international events that has been held in Chengdu in recent years. Wang Jing / China Daily

(China Daily 06/02/2012 page9)

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