The 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded for research that showed ‘how cells sense and adapt to changing oxygen availability’. One of the three prize recipients, Gregg L. Semenza was the first, in 1995, to have identified the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF), a protein complex responsible for oxygen homoeostasis and an important biomarker for stroke. This has been a long-time research interest of Xunming Ji, the dean of Beijing Institute for Brain Disorders (BIBD).
While leading basic research into HIF’s neuroprotective functions, Ji and his research team in BIBD are looking to accelerate translational discoveries and treatments targeting the Chinese population since BIBD’s launch in 2012. Ischemic strokes in Chinese patients are more frequently caused by pathological changes in the intracranial artery than in stroke incidences in the West.
“What differentiates us from traditional institutes is that we use a solution-based approach. We consider each urgent medical need as a single team — neuroscientists, clinical and basic researchers, as well as engineers, can all sit in during diagnosis and operation,” explains Ji, in his role as the vice president of the Xuanwu Hospital, one of Capital Medical University’s affiliated hospitals.
Another of Ji’s research priorities is Alzheimer’s disease (AD), from early detection strategies such as molecular imaging probes, to developing therapeutics and drugs. Ji is hoping his work will help “enable timely advice on lifestyle changes at least 10 years before full AD onset”.
Ji found that many successful basic studies suffer delays during the translational stage, and so miss out on fulfilling their potential. Across its network of 130 professors, eight subsidiary institutes and related technical platforms, as well as four affiliated hospitals in Beijing, resource synergy at BIBD streamlines the process from locating targets to implementing clinical studies.
“We also want to make sure all our researchers will have 100% of the income made from their patented designs, and BIBD is here to provide them with all the support they need, such as sufficient start-up funds and internationally competitive salary packages,” says Ji. As the lead unit of the International Alliance for Translational Neuroscience, BIBD also shares resources with Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, and other world-class institutions.
Applicants with overseas doctorate or postdoctoral experience are invited to apply for openings including young researchers, clinical researchers, and senior researchers with the equivalent of a tenured associate professor position.
More details are available here: http://bibd.ac.cn/index.html