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Soochow University: Thinking big to make a difference

Founded in 1900, Soochow University was one of the first modern universities in China, integrating the essence of Chinese and western cultures. Driven by the school motto ‘Unto a Full-Grown Man’, it is committed to promoting freedom, openness and inclusiveness, pursuing academic excellence, and nurturing responsible citizens with strong capabilities. Here are some highlights of its multidisciplinary programmes, demonstrating its strengths in nanoscience, haematology, radiology, textile engineering, and humanities and social sciences.

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Articles

2020 marks the 120th anniversary of the founding of Soochow University (SU) in Suzhou, People’s Republic of China. An interview with its president, Sidong Xiong, a biologist, outlines the university’s legacy, development strategy, vision and blueprint for future success.

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Integrating research, education, and industrial application, Soochow University's nanoscience programme is forging a new model for exploiting potential.

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A new national key laboratory at Soochow University, focusing on the biological effects and mechanisms of radiation and protection, is becoming a new driving force for the advancement of radiation medicine and protection.

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Soochow University’s textile and clothing engineering programme has expanded its curriculum and research scope to reinvent textile technologies, fashion trends, and clothing standards.

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Soochow University’s haematology programme has integrated basic and translational research with clinical care and talent training, advancing its progress as a world-class centre in the field.

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Soochow University’s social sciences and humanities programmes have contributed to urban planning, culture, and aesthetics, to support unprecedented economic growth in the region.

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Research articles

In recent years, various effects of collective behaviour have been reported in 'active matter'—systems that contain large numbers of self-propelled particles. Such studies offer clues to understanding organization in biological systems at various scales and to strategies for designing smart materials. Yilin Wu and colleagues studied dense suspensions of Escherichia coli bacteria and observed a striking effect of collective oscillatory motion. Individual bacteria move in an erratic manner, but when they are averaged over tens or hundreds of micrometres, steady, synchronized oscillations become apparent. The authors present a model of noisy self-propelled particles with strictly local interactions that can account for the observations. Such oscillatory behaviour could point to a new direction for studying self-organization in active matter.

Letter | | Nature

Normalization of the tumour vasculature can improve immune effector cell infiltration, leading to immunotherapy potentiation. In this Opinion article, Huanget al. propose that reciprocal regulation between tumour vascular normalization and immune reprogramming forms a positive feedback loop that can induce durable antitumour immunity within the tumour microenvironment.

Opinion | | Nature Reviews Immunology

Intracellular detection of viral invasion triggers activation of the transcription factor IRF3 and antiviral interferon production. Fangfang Zhou and colleagues report that the transcription regulator YAP in the host restrains this process by preventing inadvertent spontaneous dimerization of IRF3 and its translocation to the nucleus.

Article | | Nature Immunology

The electroreduction of carbon dioxide to liquid products provides an appealing method to convert atmospheric carbon into valuable fuels. Here, the authors perform a topotactic transformation of bismuth oxyiodide to bismuth nanosheets that act as highly selective CO2-to-formate electrocatalysts.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Selective para-functionalization of substituted arenes is a formidable challenge in homogeneous catalysis. Here, the authors achieved the para-selective C-H difluoromethylation of anilides, indolines and tetrahydroquinolines with a ruthenium catalyst in good yields and apply it to the synthesis of bioactive compounds.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

While CO2 removal will play a crucial role in limiting climate change, it is challenging to understand the factors that control materials’ selectivity to convert CO2 to valuable products. Here, authors show copper and tin oxide interfaces to impact activities for CO2 reduction products.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Noble metal nanoparticles are potential antibacterial agents, perhaps owing to their enzyme-like activities. Here, the authors find that the exposed facets of palladium nanocrystals demonstrate their specific antibacterial behavior against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Direct removal of 99TcO4− from highly radioactive and acidic nuclear waste solutions is beneficial for uranium and plutonium recovery and radioactive pollution control but this represents a huge challenge. Here the authors show a cationic polymeric network with high 99TcO4 sorption capability and stability.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications