Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) is a public university founded in the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone of China.
SUSTech offers an unparalleled learning and research experience at the scientific and technological frontiers.
SUSTech offers unprecedented opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to work alongside the faculty to explore and tackle both fundamental and practical problems.
The Global Engagement Office (GEO) is responsible for forming and implementing a coherent strategy to promote the University’s international development and global profile.
The undergraduate admission of SUSTech adopts comprehensive evaluation enrollment mode based on national college entrance examination.The graduate admission of SUSTech currently adopts joint training mode.
The main duties of SUSTCEF is to accept the donations from the domestic and foreign associations, enterprises, trading companies and individuals, and establish the funding projects depending on the demands of the university and the wishes of the donors.
Last week, Vice Head of Chemistry Tan Bin, who mainly studied asymmetric catalytic synthesis guided by core skeleton structure, became a recommended recipient of the National Natural Science Foundation of China’s (NSFC’s) Research Fund for National Young Scientists. This nomination added to his long list of other honors, such as being recognized by the Shenzhen Talent Peacock Plan.
Since Tan Bin joined SUSTech in September 2012, he has led three projects funded by NSFC and four projects funded by the Shenzhen Science and Technology Innovation Commission. He has published over 30 academic articles on a variety of journals, including Science (one article), Nat. Chem. (one article), J. Am. Chem. Soc. (four articles), Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. (eight articles), Nat. Commun. (three articles), and Acc. Chem. Res. (one article). His academic papers have been cited for over 1,100 times. Many of his papers are the subject of highlighted review in leading journals such as Synfacts, Chemistry Views, Organic Chemistry Portal, and Journal of Organic Chemistry.
Recently, the Office of Communications and Public Relations interviewed Tan Bin and asked him about his early days at SUSTech, his impressive research achievements in the past six years, and his outstanding students.
SUSTechers Always Give Their All
After graduating from the Scripps Research Institute, Tan Bin was hired as a tenure-track professor by SUSTech in 2012 – the year SUSTech was officially founded.
“I am fortunate to have witnessed the growth of SUSTech from scratch. During SUSTech’s rapid growth, I can see every SUSTecher give their all under any and all circumstances. It doesn’t matter whether it is the students, faculty members or administrative staff. Besides, the advanced management and creative policies have freed SUSTech from historical constraints that plague many other universities. This is why I joined SUSTech in the first place.”
At SUSTech, a person will always see researchers working in laboratories, students debating research findings in the library’s discussion rooms, and administrative staff meeting in conference rooms. Such a hardworking spirit moved Tan Bin, who believes SUSTech is a brand-new, unique university where infinite possibilities can happen.
Don’t Rely on Others or Keep Waiting for Help
Upon graduation, Tan Bin received many job offers. As mentioned above, he eventually chose SUSTech due to its advanced vision and open platform. Looking back on the past six years at SUSTech, he said it was an “extraordinary and defining experience for me.”
When Tan first started working at SUSTech, he did not have a laboratory of his own. Having researched on axonal chiral compounds at his alma mater, he decided to continue his research. Although it was a research field with little literature review or prior global experience, Tan was encouraged to explore the unknown.
“At SUSTech, I don’t need to do research in popular fields – I had many opportunities to explore new research fields. I’m really glad I’m here now, where my creativity is at its peak. If I was to come here later, my creativity might dwindle with age. But that’s just my opinion.”
Tan continued: “I also want to use this opportunity to thank everyone who offered support to our research team over the years. However, we are also aware that we should not rely on others or keep waiting for help. We were actively seeking resources to reach our goal. For instance, we didn’t have our own laboratory back in 2012, so we asked our neighbor, Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School, to lend us research equipment – even just for an hour. Despite the lack of equipment on campus, our team managed to achieve many breakthroughs.”
Professor Tan’s biggest research breakthrough is the production of chiral catalysts using synthetic chemistry. Catalysts can be applied to all aspects of our life, and they are closely related to biomedicine and materials. The application of chiral catalysts, in particular, can greatly improve the current pharmaceutical technologies, laying a solid foundation for the synthesis and manufacture of environmental-friendly medicines.
Chiral chemistry consists of central chirality and axonal chirality. While there are about 1,000 research groups studying central chirality, few researchers have engaged in the study of axonal chirality. Recently, more and more researchers have paid attention to the latter, thanks to Professor Tan’s breakthrough in axonal chirality.
Professor Tan is proud to declare that his team is the leading force in axonal chiral chemistry, and they are planning more in-depth research in this field.
Nurturing Numerous Outstanding Talents
Apart from being a dedicated researcher, Tan Bin is also a responsible professor who both teaches knowledge and life philosophy. “I wasn’t a gifted or excellent student in the first place, but I benefitted from the strict requirements from my advisors which broadened my horizons as a result. After much trial and error, I succeeded for the first confidence-boosting time. When you have that first experience of success, your research future will be brighter and brighter.
Tan continued on his view on teaching: “Following in my academic advisor’s footsteps, I am also strict towards my own student. However, I will encourage them at times, and let them understand the importance of striving for their own initial success. I truly believe such a path of discovery will boost their confidence, broaden their horizons, and motivates them to move forward.”
This year, three of his undergraduates have received offers from Brown University, Texas A&M University and the University of Hong Kong. Due to SUSTech’s unique dual-advisor policy, Professor Tan is also a life advisor to many SUSTechers. He has had many in-depth conversations with his students and is proud of how his students have matured mentally over the years.
For instance, one of his students participated in Tsinghua University’s summer camp after finishing their junior year and received an offer from their graduate school due to his outstanding performance. However, unlike most people, he didn’t jump at the chance. He called Professor Tan and said: “I know this is a great opportunity, but I need to think twice about how the graduate program fits my future career plans. Currently, I’m also thinking about other opportunities. I no longer worry about getting a low score in one course or not being able to enter a prestigious school. I want to find a platform that truly suits myself, where I can engage in the academic field that I love.” After hearing from this student, Professor Tan smiled with comfort.
Original Interview and Article: Xia Yingying
Translation: Fan Yining
Proofreading: Chris Edwards
Photo: Wang Kaiqiang
Homepage Banner Design: Qiu Yan