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Celebrity Interview

We learn wisdom not only from study, but also inheritance. We interviewed with several celebrities who have been leader figures in different walks of life, listening to their stories about sweats and tears on the road to success. They also shared with us their opinions about Synthetic Biology and iGEM, showing great interests and supports. We believe such activities will attract more and more students to delve into the world of Synthetic Biology.

Interview with Mr. Frank Yih

One of the important prospects of BioCraft is to alleviate social problems through the power of science. We believe in that there seems scarcely any limit to what could be done in the way of producing a good world, if only men would use science wisely, just as Russell said.

We are eager to know how to use science wisely and clearly keeping ourselves in the lab and working behind closed door helps nothing. So we decided to seek for answers by going out, obtaining advice from the sagacious predecessors and doing some social work first to understand what is in need and what can be done by us.

About HuaQiao Foundation

Fig.1 :The Logo of HuaQiao Foundation

HuaQiao is a Hong Kong registered non-profit organization which helped the poor with offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai and others parts of world. It is founded by a group of committed, hands-on, and project-oriented professionals, many of whom are Rotarians living in China and the U.S..

The term HuaQiao is the English transliteration of two Chinese words meaning "China Bridge." It is also a homonym for "Overseas Chinese." HuaQiao believes strongly in the application of good business ethics and full accountability and transparency to charitable projects. HuaQiao has no paid executives. 100% of the donations will go directly into programs.

About Mr. Frank Yih, the Chairman of HQF

Fig.2 :Mr Yih relaxes on the balcony of O’Malley’s, which occupies the building where he lived 60 years ago

Mr. Frank Yih was born in Shanghai and received advanced education in the UK and the USA.

He pioneered the semiconductor industry in Southeast Asia after making first integrated circuits in Silicon Valley in 1962.

In 1992, he started to build Asionics Hi-Tech Center in Shanghai and founded Rotary Club of Shanghai in 1995.

In 2004, he founded HuaQiao Foundation, and devoted himself to charitable work helping the poor.

Frank is the winner of Rotary International “Service Above Self” Award in China.

Interview Process

On Sep 21st, we had the honor to pay a visit to the Shanghai office site of HuaQiao Foundation and interviewed the chairman of HQF, Mr. Frank Yih.

HQF Shanghai site is located on the 9th floor of Asionics Techonology Building which Frank built twenty years ago. Although the place is kind of age-old, the whole space is very tidy and bright with a bunch of young people busy doing office stuff. Then we learnt that among the staff some are volunteers in their part time.

We finally met Frank in his commodious but simply decorated office and had an interview of about 30 minutes. He shared with us his charitable concept and rich experience in social service. His valuable suggestions for future development of BioCraft and appreciation for our ideolofical concept encouraged us to stick to our belief and put it into practice. (The Interview transcript can be downloaded here. Media:12SJTU_Intervier_with_Frank_Yih.pdf‎)

After the interview, Mr. Yih introduced us to Ms Veronique Qin who’s in charge of Medical&Health projects of HQF and two other student volunteers from Shanghai International Studies University. We discussed the future cooperation plan and agreed on making joint efforts to realize our ideal.

Fig.3 : Mr. Frank Yih is having a discussion session in his office with the founder of BioCraft Rui Xi(Sherry Xi) together with two stuff in HQF and other student volunteers

Interview with Dr. Oliver Smithies

Nothing seems more sublime in the eyes of scientific researchers than Nobel Prize because the winners are always those who have done the greatest contributions to mankind and represent the highest level in their own field. On Oct 16th, members of BioCraft were very honored to have a valuable opportunity to be invited to the Round Table discussion with Dr. Oliver Smithies, the Nobel Prize winner in Medicine or Physiology in 2007 hold by Astrazeneca Nobel Medicine Initiative. The conversation was very enlightening and we got really important advice from such a great master in Molecular Biology.

About Dr. Oliver Smithies

Fig.4 :Dr. Oliver Smithies

Oliver Smithies (born June 23, 1925) is a British-born American geneticist and Nobel laureate, credited with the invention of gel electrophoresis in 1955, and the simultaneous discovery, with Mario Capecchi and Martin Evans, of the technique of homologous recombination of transgenic DNA with genomic DNA, a much more reliable method of altering animal genomes than previously used, and the technique behind gene targeting and knockout mice.

On October 8, 2007, Smithies was announced as co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Mario Capecchi of the University of Utah and Martin Evans of Cardiff University "for their discoveries of principles for introducing specific gene modifications in mice by the use of embryonic stem cells." Smithies is the first full professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill to receive a Nobel Prize.

Roundtable Discussion

The whole session was attended by several members from BioCraft Club and basically under a relaxing and easygoing atmosphere. Dr. Smithies was really nice and open to any questions that we were interested in.

The questions were varying from professional research to scientific ideology and from hobbies to values, and he answered each question with patience. He shared with us his story in college life and how his love of science came from an early fascination with radios and telescopes and said the passion for exploration for the unknown kept him energetic and young.

When we asked about his opinion in Synthetic Biology from the standing of traditional molecular biology, he showed great interest and optimism about the future development of this discipline. And he was very impressed by the project our iGEM team has done this year. Our discussion also included certain issues concerning biosafety and bioethics which are controversial these days.

Near the end of the session, he encouraged us to pursue what we were enthusiastic about and wished us to obtain a bigger result in the future.

Fig.5 :Dr. Oliver Smithies taking pictures with the members of BioCraft