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TIBCAS Held the "International Symposium on Innovation of Natural Product Resources of Traditional Medicine in the Asia-Pacific Region"

Supported by the China-APEC Fund Project (hereinafter referred to as “Project”), the “International Symposium on Innovation of Natural Product Resources of Traditional Medicine in the Asia-Pacific Region”, organized by Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (TIBCAS) and the National Center of Technology Innovation for Synthetic Biology was successfully held from August 26 to 28th, 2023 in Tianjin.

The conference focused on the development and application of natural product and traditional medicine resources in the Asia-Pacific region. The topics include synthetic biotechnology and innovation of natural product resources, utilization and separation of natural product resources, physiological and pharmacological activities of natural products of traditional medicine, and the application of natural products of traditional medicine. Experts, scholars, and entrepreneurs from the Asia-Pacific region were invited to share the latest advancements, and discuss emerging trends in the future development of natural product resources. The conference attracted around 300 participants from over ten countries and regions on-site, as well as garnered tens of thousands of online viewers.

At the opening ceremony, Prof. MA Yanhe, the Director-General of TIBCAS, firstly extended his warm welcome to the participants, and conveyed his appreciation to the project management departments and co-organizers for their invaluable guidances and supports. He pointed out designing engineering cells to construct new pathway for natural products is an important strategic route to develop the traditional medicine industry. He introduced the R&D layout and the latest progress in biomanufacturing of natural products at TIBCAS, and expressed the willingness to strengthen the international cooperation and work together to promote the inheritance and innovation of traditional medicine.

Distinguished scholars including Prof. DENG Zixin from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, the Academician of CAS and TWAS & the Director of the State Key Laboratory of Microbial Metabolism, Prof. YIN Yulong from Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, CAS, the Academician of CAS, Prof. M. Iqbal Choudhary from International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences of University of Karachi, the Academician of the Academy of Sciences of Pakistan & Academician of TWAS, Prof. Kim Soo-Ki from Konkuk University, President of Korean Society of Antler Science, and Prof. CHEN Xin from University of Macau, dean of Institute of Chinese Medical Sciences & Director of State Key Laboratory of Quality Research of Traditional Chinese Medicine were invited to give keynote speeches. Prof. WANG Qinhong, Deputy Director-General of TIBCAS and Prof. LIU Tao, the chairman of the organizing committee moderated the keynote speeches.

Prof. DENG Zixin pointed out in his keynote speech entitled “SynBio-Driven Biosystems Design for Innovative Bio-Industrialization” that the interdisciplinary integration of synthetic biology with medical science, pharmaceutical science, and informatics could drive the design, optimization, and even construction of new-to-nature biosynthetic systems from scratch, thereby promoting the highly efficient synthesis of valuable pharmaceutical chemicals. He introduced the recent research progress of his team. Using synthetic biotechnology, they discovered a series of novel antibiotics and anticancer small molecules. Meanwhile, they generated an unprecedented hybrid aminoglycoside antibiotic, genkamicin, and a hybrid peptidyl nucleoside antibiotic originating from the combination of polyoxin and nikkomycin. In addition, he also introduced the high throughput genome mining of fungal terpenoid natural products and the microbial production of vitamin E and its transformation into industry. Eventually, he went through their development of the DNA sulfur modification system based new gene editing system and nucleic acid drugs. All the studies and technologies developed by Prof. Deng’s team have proved the power of synthetic biology for supporting the high-quality development of the biopharmaceutical industry.

Team member of Prof. YIN Yulong pointed out in the keynote speech, entitled “Applications of Natural Products-Inflammation Control is the Central to Healthy Farming” that scientific guidance is the main guarantee to achieve the effective supply and quality safety of livestock and poultry products and promote the healthy development of animal husbandry. He introduced the mechanism of the effect of traditional medicine extracts on improving animal stress and inflammatory reactions caused by environmental and pathogenic factors, as well as their significant roles and industrial applications in livestock and poultry breeding in recent years. Lastly, he emphasized the important role of natural products in the healthy breeding of livestock and poultry, and prospected the by synthetic biotechnology will enable pathogen prevention and control and innovative development of natural product resources to promote the leapfrog development of animal husbandry.

Prof. M. Iqbal Chaudhary pointed out in his keynote speech, entitled “Therapeutic Potential of Plant-derived Metabolites for the Management of Neglected and Prevalent Disorders” that the structural diversity of natural products made them widely used in the chemistry, biology and medicine industries. However, the shortage of the resources limited their widespread application. He introduced the mechanism of using traditional medicine extracts to systematically improve animal stress and inflammatory reactions caused by environmental and pathogenic factors in recent years, as well as the industrial application of natural products of traditional medicine in livestock and poultry breeding. Finally, he anticipated the disruptive role of synthetic biotechnology in developing of natural product resources.

Prof. Kim Soo-Ki delivered a keynote speech entitled “Characteristics of Fermented Chinese Chives (Allium Tuberosum) and Application of Feed Additives in Poultry Nutrition”. He highlighted that intensive animal reproduction significantly weakens immunity and heightens disease transmission rates. He emphasized the role of bioactive substances from natural products in mitigating the stress associated with intensive reproduction. He introduced the research achievements of his team in the production of fermented leeks using precision fermentation technology in recent years, as well as their application in livestock and poultry breeding. The work they have done provided guiding solutions for solving the problems of low economic efficiency caused by various factors in the healthy breeding process of livestock and poultry.

Prof. CHEN Xin pointed out in his keynote speech entitled “Chinese Herb-Derived Naturally Occurring Compounds Act on Tnfr2 and its Therapeutic Implications” that the mechanism of traditional medicine in regulating human immune function was an important cutting-edge scientific issue in the academic community. He emphasized that further research on the immune regulatory mechanism of traditional medicine can not only explain the mechanism of its clinical role, but also provide reliable scientific basis for fully utilizing traditional medicine resources to prevent and combat health-threatening diseases. He offered a comprehensive exposition on how natural compounds from traditional medicine specifically target Infr2, effectively modulating immune responses, suppressing inflammation and fostering tissue repair, which enriched participants’ understanding of traditional medicine’s influence on immune regulation.

Subsequently, in the sub-forums moderated by Prof. WU Xin, the Project Leader, Prof. DAI Zongjie and Prof. DAI Zhubo, Vice Chairmen of the conference, distinguished scholars including Prof. YE Yang, Deputy Director-General of Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, CAS, Prof. LIU Tao from TIBCAS, Prof. CHEN Baojiang, Dean of College of Animal Science and Technology, Hebei Agricultural University, Dr. SU Ping, the Associate Professor from National Resource Center for Chinese Materia Medica, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Dr. LIN Dongmei, Deputy director of China National Engineering Research Center of JUNCAO Technology, Prof. GAN Renyou from Singapore Institute of Food and Biotechnology Innovation (SIFBI)Agency for Science, Technology and Research(A*STAR), Prof. WASSIE Teketay from School of Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon USA, Prof. MAHFUZ Shad Uddin from Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, Sylhet Agricultural University, Prof. MA Nyuk Ling from Science and Marine Environment, University Malaysia Terengganu, Malaysia, Dr. SHOU Jia Wen, Scientific officer at the Li Dak Sum Yip Yio Chin R&D Centre for Chinese Medicine at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, as well as representatives from multiple listed companies such as Ruipu Biotechnology Co., Ltd., and Anyou Biotechnology Co., Ltd., presented engaging academic presentations about the prevention and treatment effects of natural products on many diseases (neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, fatty liver, colon cancer, etc.,) and their mechanisms, the biomanufacturing of many natural products such as terpenes, phenylpropanoids, alkaloids, etc., the development of digital innovation platform for traditional medicine research, and the industrial application of proto catechins, polysaccharides, microbial proteins, and compound essential oils in regulating animal physiological metabolism and healthy breeding of livestock and poultry. Collectively, these speeches provided a comprehensive and multidimensional illustration of the expedited advancement and integration of innovative natural product achievements facilitated by synthetic biotechnology. These achievements they have introduced spanned the domains of traditional medicine and animal husbandry, which will be used in mass industrial production in the future.

At the roundtable meeting, representatives from all walks also conducted in-depth discussions on the topic of “Natural product resource innovation and application”. They analyzed the differences and commonalities between the active ingredients of traditional medicine and the natural product resources created by synthetic biotechnology, discussed the physiological and pharmacological activities of natural products from different sources and their industrial application value in medicine or animal husbandry, and proposed relevant opinions and suggestions for the high quality development of the traditional medicine industry. 

During the conference, the innovative work of nearly 20 outstanding young scholars from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Nepal, Nigeria were showcased in the form of posters. By setting up exhibition booths, the conference also showcased the latest natural product products developed by several national high-tech enterprises such as Qingdao Haida Biological Group Co., Ltd., as well as national-level technology-based small and medium-sized enterprises such as Shan Chuan Biotechnology (Wuhan) Co., Ltd.

To better understand the scientific and technological contributions of synthetic biotechnology to the innovation of natural product resources, a visit to TIBCAS was arranged for the representatives. During the visit, the achievements in microbial production of nearly 100 kinds of active ingredients of traditional medicine, such as ginsenoside and gastrodin were introduced to the participants.

The symposium also gained robust support from the Alliance of International Science Organizations (ANSO). During the conference, an ANSO project promotion meeting entitled “Study on precision fermentation and application of Chinese herbal medicine based on synthetic biology” was also held. The participants conducted further exchanges and discussions on the supporting role of synthetic biotechnology in precise fermentation of herbal medicine to support animal disease prevention and control, and the development of green industrialization of healthy aquaculture along the “Belt and Road” countries.

Natural product and traditional medicine have played a crucial role in the disease prevention and control. At present, technological innovation in traditional medicine resources has attracted high attention globally. Use synthetic biotechnology to achieve the biosynthesis of important components of traditional medicines provides new technological support for the exploration of traditional medicine resources and the sustainable development of the traditional medicine industry. The successful convening of this conference has provided an important platform for the exchange and cultivation of talents in the fields of synthetic biotechnology and traditional medicine, as well as the cohesion of scientific and technological forces. It has played a positive role in promoting the innovation of traditional medicine natural product resources and high-quality development of the industry in the Asia-Pacific region.


The Conference Site ( Image by TIBCAS)


 Opening Speech by Prof. MA Yanhe ( Image by TIBCAS) 


Keynote speech by Prof. DENG Zixin ( Image by TIBCAS)


Keynote speech by the Prof. YIN Yulong’ team ( Image by TIBCAS)


Keynote speech by Prof. M. Iqbal Choudhary ( Image by TIBCAS)


Keynote speech by Prof. KIM Soo Ki ( Image by TIBCAS)


Keynote speech by Prof. CHEN Xin ( Image by TIBCAS)


Natural Product Resource and Application Innovation Roundtable Meeting ( Image by TIBCAS)


Poster display ( Image by TIBCAS)



Exhibition booth showcases the latest related products of natural product from enterprises ( Image by TIBCAS)


A visit to the technology exhibition hall of TIBCAS ( Image by TIBCAS)


Project promotion meeting of the ANSO joint research cooperation special project  ( Image by TIBCAS)

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