AWARDEE OF LIFE SCIENCES PRIZE
Shen Shanjiong ( Shen San Chiun ) , molecular genetist, born in Wujiang, Jiangsu Province, China on April 13, 1917. He graduated from the National Southwest Associated University in Kunming in 1942. From 1947 to 1950, he had his graduate education, majoring in biochemical genetics at California Institute of Technology and received his Ph.D. degree in 1951. After returning to China, he was associate professor of biochemistry at the Medical School, Zhejiang University. From 1952 he has been successively the associated research professor and research professor of microbiology and genetics at the Shanghai Institute of Plant Physiology, Chinese academy of Sciences. In 1980, he was elected Member of Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Prof. Shen upon his return to China pursued antibiotic research. He obtained remarkable achievements in biosynthesis of aureomycin and metabolism of microorganisms. In 1974, he went back to his primary interest, Molecular Genetics. He led a group of young scientists who organized a laboratory of molecular biology of nitrogen fixation genes.
His achievement is not limited to the research on the genetics of biological nitrogen fixation, but also the acceleration of the progress of molecular genetics in China. As the pioneers in the initiation of plant molecular biology study in this country, he and his young colleagues started to study the storage protein genes of soybean plants early in 1980. Shen always stresses the importance of cooperation between the research institute and universities. He thus has helped the Shanghai Jiaotong University to build a laboratory of molecular genetics which led to the department of biological sciences and technology.
Shen Shanjiong has twice received the first-class award of Natural Science Prize from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 1956 and again in 1981; the Achievement Award of the Chinese Engineers and Scientists Association of Southern California in 1981 and the second class award of National Natural Science Prize in 1988. He was honored the Distinguished Alumni Award from California Institute of Technology in 1996. He won awardee of Tan Kan Kee Prize in life sciences in 1997.