College of Engineering students won thirteen prizes, including two top prizes, at the 20th Peking University Challenge Cup Scientific Competition in June.
Department of Biomedical Engineering Professor Jianzhong Xi and Department of Energy and Resources Engineering Professor Jianchun Mi were honored as “Excellent Supervisors.” COE won second place as an affiliated participant in the competition.
The annual PKU Challenge Cup is the most influential and highest-level scientific competition organized by the university to boost students’ innovative capabilities. Students from all disciplines are encouraged to submit innovative and creative works, such as scientific papers, inventions and designs. Awards are given to works that show great innovation and practical value. This year, 300 works were submitted for consideration.
COE provided all participating students with faculty supervision and overall guidance. Thirty-five works, including 26 scientific papers and nine inventions were submitted. Students won ten prizes in the main session and three prizes in the cross-disciplinary session.
The top prize winners, graduate student Hanshuo Zhang and his team, produced a research paper on the role of miRNA in cancer migration regulation.
To find out how many miRNAs functionally participate in cancer development, particularly metastasis, the team developed a novel self-assembled cell microarray. This microarray can be integrated with high-throughput liquid handling and imaging system. By use of this microarray, they show that over 20 percent of miRNAs have migratory regulation activity in diverse cells, indicating a general involvement of miRNAs in migratory regulation. They also discovered that miR-23b, which down-regulates in human colon cancer samples, potently mediates the multiple steps of metastasis, including tumor growth, migration, invasion as well as anoikis.
The team said they believe that these findings provide new insight into the physiologic and potentially therapeutic importance of miRNAs as a new class of functional modulators.
Zhang said that he appreciated COE for providing his team with an opportunity to participate in the Challenge Cup.
“By participating in this competition, I have learned how to display the professional work to the ordinary audience,” Zhang noted, adding a personal thank you to Professor Xi for designing and setting up the project.