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Workshop of US-China Collaborative Research on Microbe-Mineral Interaction Held in Beijing

On March 23-25, 2015, the Workshop of US-China Collaborative Research on Microbe-Mineral Interaction: Microbial Extracellular Electron Transfer with Minerals as Electron Sources and Sinks co-funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China(NSFC) and National Science Foundation(NSF) was held in Yingjie Exchange Center, Peking University. Mr. Liu Congqiang, NSFC Vice President and Member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Ms. Nancy Sung, Director of Beijing Office, NSF, and Mr. Gao Song, Vice Principal of Peking University and Member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences attended the workshop. The workshop attracted 19 famous American professors and scholars working on mineral-microbe research and 40 Chinese experts from 18 Chinese universities and research institutes. In addition, a number of young scholars and graduate students took an active part in the activity.

The opening ceremony was hosted by Professor Lu Anhuai, chair of Chinese organizing committee of the workshop, from the School of Earth and Space Sciences, Peking University. Prof. Lu is the discoverer of the utilization of solar energy by microorganisms through minerals. He reviewed his visit to NSF last year when he worked with NSF officers on planning this bilateral academic workshop. Mr. Gao Song emphasized the importance of international cooperation and multidisciplinary research. And he hoped that through this workshop Peking University could speed up its research in international geosciences and play a leading role in the new research area— microbial extracellular electron transfer with minerals as electron sources and sinks. Mr. Liu Congqiang briefed on NSFC’s support for the research and development of this field in recent years. And he stressed that research into such a basic science question is of great importance to the profound understanding of the element cycling in the critical zone and environmental evolution. Mr. Liu hoped that with the support of NSFC and NSF, scientists from both China and America will conduct adequate academic exchanges and share shining ideas over cutting-age scientific issues. Prof. Dong Hailiang, expert under the National Thousand Talents Scheme, reviewed Sino-US collaboration in mineral-microbe interaction research since 2008, and analyzed the scientific problems and challenges in geobiological sciences. Prof. Liang Shi, chair of American organizing committee of the workshop and chief scientist of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, elaborated on the research goal and expected outcomes of this workshop. During the workshop, participants engaged in different forms of exchanges on the topic issue, and paid visits to Institutes of Geology and Geophysics, and Microbiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, as well as Mineral-Microbiology laboratory of the School of Earth and Space Sciences of Peking University and other laboratories.

The workshop was highly acclaimed by the participants. Reports, visits, discussions and other activities in different forms further enhanced the mutual understanding between Chinese and American scholars, which laid a solid foundation for long-term cooperation between China and the US in said field. It’s agreed that this workshop built a high-level international exchange platform for mineral-microbe interaction research, and provided an opportunity for new international collaborative researches. It will not only promote the interdisciplinary study of geosciences and life sciences, but also strengthen the cooperation and exchange between Chinese and American universities and research institutes.

Copyright 2007 Bureau of International Cooperation, NSFC