AWARDEE OF LIFE SCIENCES PRIZE
Prof. Yang Fuyu, a biochemist, was born in Shanghai in October, 1927. He graduated from the Department of Chemistry, Zhejiang University in 1950,and joined the Institute of Experimental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). In 1956 he went to Moscow University and graduated there with a Ph. D. degree from faculty of Biological Sciences in 1960. After returned to China he has served the Institute of Biophysics CAS as senior scientist, research professor and deputy director. Now he is chairman of the Academic Council of the State key laboratory of Blomacromolecules, Institute of Biophysics CAS and concurrently professor of the Graduate School, University of Chinese Science and technology, and of the Faculty of Life Sciences, Wuhan University. Prof. Yang had been elected secretary general (1993-1997) and vice president (1982-1984,1993-1997) of the Chinese Biochemical Society. He has been enthusiastically promoting biomembrane research in China and organized six National Blomembrane Symposiums since 1979. Prof. Yang is an editor-in-chief of Acta Biophysica Sinica and editor of Bioscience Reports, Magnesium Research, Biochemical Education, Journal of Biochemistry Molecular Biology and Biophysics, Cell Research, Journal of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (in Chinese), Biologiae Experimentalls Sinica and Bulletin of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He was elected as a member of CAS in 1991.
Academically, he has long been involved in the studies of structure and function of mitochondria and blomembranes. He found that Mg2+ plays a crucial role in the reconstitution of mitochondrial H+-ATPase into liposomes and postulated with a model that Mg2+ modulates the conformation and activity of H+-ATPase through altering the lipid fluidity. Now he and his colleagues are interested in the role of transmembrane Ca2+ gradient in the modulation of conformation and function of membrane proteins, Generally, the physiological role of trace element Se is interpreted in terms of Se-containing enzyme-glutathione peroxidase. But prof. Yang discovered that Se could also stabilize human erythrocyte membrane skeleton by reacting with SH group of spectrin. Based on the systematic studies of structure and function of heart mitochondria from patients with Kashan disease he suggested that it mlght be classified as a “mitochondrial cardlomyopathy” endemic in China.
He and his colleagues and students have already published about 170 scientific research papers so far. He has received many times the National and the Academy Awards for Sciences.