Recently, the results of the 2023 Major Academic Adavances of Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST), hosted by the Academic Committee of HUST, have been revealed. The event, launched in May 2023, follows the principles of openness, fairness, justice, and the pursuit of excellence, focusing on publicizing the University’s original and leading academic progress.
The evaluated achievements were recommended through two channels: the academic committees of various departments or the Academic Committee of the University. The process involves successive steps, including screening by the disciplinary committees of the Academic Committee, comprehensive evaluation by all members of the Academic Committee, nomination by the Director’s meeting, defense and review by the full meeting of the Academic Committee, and final approval by the President’s office meeting. Ten selected achievements emerged from this process.
The ten selected achievements in this round reflect the University’s commitment to guiding high-quality innovation through upholding principles and embracing innovation. This aligns with the University’s educational philosophy of “upholding integrity, striving for excellence,” embodying the spirit of scholars at the University who harbor patriotism, serve the people, transcend limitations, and aspire to be pioneers in the scientific community.
Appendix: Brief Introduction to Major Academic Progress at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in 2023.
1. Research on the Molecular Mechanism and Pharmacological Action of Antifungal Drug Targets Related to Cell Wall Synthesis
Primary Contributors: Yu Hongjun, Zhang Min, Hu Xinlin, Yang Ping, Yang Yizheng
Fungal cell wall synthesis is a crucial target for developing broad-spectrum, low-toxicity antifungal drugs. Professor Yu Hongjun’s research team conducted targeted studies that addressed several key issues in this field. They confirmed that FKS1 is a β-1,3-glucan synthase, developed a non-radioactive and convenient drug screening method targeting the drug target FKS1, systematically elucidated the synthesis mechanisms of core components of fungal cell walls such as β-1,3-glucan and chitin, discovered the resistance mechanism of the frontline drug echinocandin, and clarified the mode of action of the antifungal drug Nikkomycin Z. These significant achievements have been published in well-known journals such as Nature, providing important impetus for the development and optimization of antifungal drugs.
2. Synthetic Dimension Photon Control Technology and its Applications
Primary Contributors: Wang Bing, Wang Kai, Qin Chengzhi, Liu Weiwei, Lu Peixiang
Integrated photonics chips are the cornerstone of the next generation of information technology. However, they face challenges such as low photon modulation efficiency, significant signal transmission losses, and high processing accuracy requirements. Professor Wang Bing’s research team has experimentally validated the effectiveness and flexibility of synthetic dimension photon control by constructing a temporal synthetic dimension photonic lattice using a fiber dual-ring structure. Subsequently, they employed valley pseudo-spin as an information carrier to construct an on-chip integrated photonics chip. The use of pseudo-spin for synthesis dimensions effectively reduces energy losses during the information transmission process and achieves directional manipulation of valley photons. Building upon this, they constructed a synthetic dimension parameter space based on sub-wavelength grating waveguides. Through circling singular points, they achieved topologically protected chiral mode conversion. This approach has the advantage of avoiding the impact of fabrication defects on information transmission. The aforementioned achievements, utilizing synthetic dimension photon control technology, open up new avenues for overcoming technical bottlenecks in integrated photonics chips. They provide novel theoretical and technical support for large-scale photon integration.
3. Magnetic Field Modulation Type High Power Density Electric Motor System for Aircraft Engines
Primary Contributors: Qu Ronghai, Li Dawei, Kong Wubin, Fang Haiyang, Fan Xinggang, Liang Ziyi
The electrification of aircraft engines represents a significant transformation and a crucial development direction for engines. Aircraft engines impose strict limitations on the volume and weight of motors, and traditional electric motors cannot be directly utilized due to poor heat dissipation conditions. The research team has proposed a novel approach, the multi-working harmonic magnetic field modulation motor, breaking through key technologies such as high power density motor topology, precise control through multi-point coordination, and integrated high-temperature-resistant motor drive. They developed the world’s first magnetic center-return electromagnetic servo valve, which has been applied in domestically manufactured aircraft engines, demonstrating 1000 hours of fault-free operation. Additionally, they successfully developed the first set of electric fuel pump motors in China, significantly enhancing the maneuverability and survivability of special-purpose aircraft and contributing to the advancement of aircraft engine technology in China.
4. Research on the Persistence Mechanism of High-Performance and Secure Memory Systems
Primary Contributors: Hua Yu, Li Pengfei, Chen Zhangyu, Huang Jianming, Zhang Ming, Zhu Bolun
Currently, large memory systems are becoming essential infrastructure for new applications such as cloud computing, big data, and artificial intelligence. They require a high-performance and secure service guarantee based on a complete software and hardware ecosystem. The fundamental principle underlying these systems is solving scientific problems. The research team has proposed persistence as the first principle for large memory systems, resulting in the creation of a high-performance, secure and persistent memory system. This breakthrough overcomes the performance bottlenecks of the memory wall and earned the team the first Best Paper Award in China from the international conference FAST in the field of computer storage systems. This achievement has driven the development of computer memory systems and architectures.
5. Theoretical System of Macroscopic Energy and Mass Transport Based on the Synergy and Dissipation
Primary Contributors: Liu Wei, Liu Zhichun, Long Rui
In the macroscopic transport of energy and mass, fluid particles (denoted as P) serve as carriers for the transfer of energy and matter. The migration and diffusion of heat, mass, work, and kinetic energy occur within the flow field, necessitating the consideration of collaborative relationships based on temperature (T), concentration (C), pressure (P), and velocity (u), as well as dissipative relationships related to heat flow, mass flow, work flow, and kinetic energy flow. These considerations aim to unveil the physical mechanisms of multi-field collaboration and energy-mass dissipation during the transport process. This project is based on the collaborative and dissipative characteristics of energy-mass transport, aiming to construct a unified system of equations and a corresponding theoretical framework for macroscopic energy-mass transport. The objective is to describe phenomena related to energy-mass transport in engineering applications and provide a theoretical basis for the design and development of energy-mass transport equipment.
6. Research on Core Functional Layer Materials and Key Surface Interfaces of High-Performance Perovskite Solar Cells
Primary Contributors: Li Xiong, Rong Yaoguang, You Shuai, Luo Long, Zeng Haipeng, Li Lin, Zheng Xin, Guo Rui
Addressing the industrial bottlenecks such as short lifespan and difficulty in scaling up in third-generation perovskite photovoltaic technology, Professor Li Xiong’s research team at the Wuhan National Laboratory for Optoelectronics of HUST, systematically investigated the physicochemical properties and degradation mechanisms of the photoactive layer, hole-transporting layer, and critical device interfaces in perovskite solar cells. Employing a multifunctional molecular engineering strategy effectively enhanced the electrical performance and stability of large-area semiconductor films and interfaces. This significant improvement resulted in a substantial increase in the photovoltaic conversion efficiency and operational lifespan of large-area perovskite cells, offering important scientific value for advancing the industrialization of perovskite photovoltaic technology. Their achievements have been sequentially published in the first quarter of 2023 in journals such as Science and Nature Energy. The work was selected for the 2023 Hubei Province Postdoctoral Talent Tracking and Cultivation Program and received the gold award in the inaugural Hubei Postdoctoral Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition.
7. Rational Design of Artificial Photoenzymes and Fundamental Research on Photobiocatalysis
Primary Contributors: Wu Yuzhou, Zhong Fangrui, Wu Guojiao, Liao Rongzhen
In the context of the “dual carbon goal” national strategy, the traditional chemical industry urgently requires transformation and upgrading. The development of key technologies for green biomanufacturing is imperative to replace high-pollution and energy-intensive chemical synthesis processes. Addressing the challenge of natural enzymes being unsuitable for the synthesis of non-natural functional chemicals, the team led by Wu Yuzhou and Zhong Fangrui from the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering has established a technological platform for constructing artificial enzymes, which integrates theories and techniques from interdisciplinary fields such as chemistry, genetic engineering, protein engineering, and structural biology. The team has created the world’s first artificial photoenzyme with an energy transfer catalytic mechanism, introducing the novel concept of a “triplet-state photoenzyme,” achieving a breakthrough in the key technology of green synthesis for photobiocatalysis. The team achieved artificial photoenzyme catalysis in asymmetric [2+2] photocycloaddition, photocatalytic cross-coupling in biotransformation, and enzyme-catalyzed photodehalogenation through directed evolution. This breakthrough surpassed the structural and functional limitations defined by natural enzyme evolution, providing a transformative green bioproduction method for the synthesis of deuterated drugs, high-molecular-weight polycyclic indolines, and other crucial functional molecules.
8. Broadband Real-Time Data Acquisition Technology Based on Ultrafast Broad-Field Spectroscopy
Primary Contributors: Zhang Xinliang, Zhang Chi, Chen Liao
Broadband real-time data acquisition is a key and core technology in the field of optoelectronic information. The research team, using frequency-domain techniques, has overcome the bandwidth limitations of traditional time-domain measurements. By combining time-domain-focused spectral measurements with frequency-domain chirp coherent detection, the research team achieved ultrafast broad-field spectroscopy, and Fourier inverse transformation was employed to obtain the time-domain signal waveform. This approach enables real-time data acquisition with a bandwidth of 3.4 THz and a time resolution of 280 fs, allowing synchronous and real-time measurement of four channels of 160 Gb/s QPSK signals using wavelength division multiplexing. This breakthrough provides new technical capabilities for monitoring high-speed, high-capacity optical channels, supporting the further development of China’s optoelectronic information industry.
9. Establishment and Translational Application of a Precision Diagnosis and Treatment System for Ovarian Cancer
Primary Contributors: Gao Qinglei, Guo Anyuan, Li Fei, Gao Yue, Liu Chunjie, Ji Teng, Zeng Shaoqing, Wang Ya, Li Huayi, Pan Wen
Ovarian cancer is the most lethal malignancy among female cancers, with China having the highest incidence globally, imposing a substantial healthcare burden. The research team focused on three internationally recognized challenges in ovarian cancer: difficulty in early diagnosis, drug resistance, and the lack of standardized treatment. The research team has persistently worked on precision diagnosis and clinical translation for ovarian cancer, starting from establishing a precision early diagnosis model, advancing precision treatment through gene therapy, and achieving clinical translation of innovative products. The team further developed a data platform, formulated industry standards, and contributed a series of original works serving national strategies. With these collective efforts, the research team has produced a set of new strategies for early diagnosis, precision diagnosis, early treatment and standardized, targeted treatment of ovarian cancer.
10. Research on Efficiency Enhancement of Cesium Lead Bromide Light-Emitting Diodes and their Integrated Display
Primary Contributors: Tang Jiang, Luo Jiajun, Song Boxiang, Li Jinghui
Active matrix light-emitting diodes (AMLEDs) are crucial components in advanced display technologies widely applied in areas such as commercial electronics, medical imaging, and educational research, facilitating human-machine interaction. Currently, AMLED display technologies face challenges such as low color purity, integration difficulties, high costs, and monopolies on core technologies, hindering their application in autonomous advanced displays. In response to these challenges, the research team has developed the world’s first low-temperature integrated active matrix display panel using cesium lead bromide. This innovative display panel demonstrates outstanding advantages, including high color purity (half-width <20 nm), low material costs, and high integration, providing technical support for the advancement of consumer-grade display technologies.
Edited by: Chang Wen, Peng Yumeng