Six HKBU students from four specialties formed a team called The Rising Power which recently won the Silver Project Award at the 2013 International Bio-molecular Design Competition (BIOMOD 2013). The HKBU team is the only winning team from Hong Kong among 26 competing teams from nine countries.
The team designed a self-assembled DNA origami biological marker which was conjugated with quantum dots. The whole complex was successfully aligned to self-assembled fibrils of beta-amyloid (one of the key proteins in the development of Alzheimer’s disease). The fibril pattern could then be clearly monitored under a fluorescent microscope and atomic force microscope. The design successfully applied self-assembled DNA origami in biomedical detection, showing results in a stable, fast, and accurate manner, which could assist in clinical diagnosis and contains significant research value in drug delivery and inhibiting the fibrillization of beta-amyloid.
The students are Zou Yukai (Applied Biology, Year 3), Liang Tianlun (Chemistry, Year 3), Sun Xizhen (Computer Science, Year 3), Leng Houfu (Chinese Medicine and Biomedical Science, Year 4), David Chan (Applied Biology, Year 3), Zhang Junqing (Chinese Medicine and Biomedical Science, Year 4).
Team leader, Zou Yukai said: “Self-assembled DNA origami is a novel concept and there are only a few specialists and limited resources to conduct related research in Hong Kong. Our team was pleased to gain the full support of many professors and researchers at HKBU as well as a good collaboration opportunity with researchers from City University of Hong Kong. We believed that this collaboration helps promote the development of inter-institutional scientific research.”
He recalled that after the team was formed, members read a lot of reference material and undertook trial-and-error experiments in laboratories throughout the summer. They overcame many obstacles to achieve the overall positive experimental results. They cooperated very well in the new semester in designing their project’s website, Youtube video, T-shirts, and eventually the project presentation delivered at Harvard University in the US. He added: “The process was a memorable experience for all of us, and it has been full of hard work, encouragement, learning and growth.”
The project’s video designer, Zhang Junqing said: “We made things possible with limited experience. The process also allowed me to fully demonstrate my ability in design and creativity.”
Team member Sun Xizhen said: “I was glad to contribute what I learnt from my specialty in Information Systems to biological engineering in this project. I believe that this cross-disciplinary experience would benefit my future career.”
Details on the HKBU team’s project can be found at: http://openwetware.org/wiki/Biomod/2013/HKBU
(from left) David Chan, Sun Xizhen, Leng Houfu, Liang Tianlun, Zhang Junqing and Zou Yukai appreciate the memorable experience of working on the project which was filled with learning, encouragement and growth
The team presents their project results to the competition organiser in the US