An introduction of Peking University School of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Peking University School of Pharmaceutical Sciences (SPS) is a national key pharmaceutical school, and one of the first public institutions for higher pharmaceutical education in China. It originated from Peking University Institute for Chinese Herbal Medicine established in 1941, and became the Department of Pharmaceutics of Peking University Medical School in 1943. It was renamed as the Department of Pharmaceutics of Beijing Medical College when the medical school was separated from Peking University in 1952. In 1985, the name was changed into School of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Beijing Medical University. In April of 2000, Beijing Medical University was incorporated into Peking University, and it got its present name as Peking University School of Pharmaceutical Sciences. SPS has provided programs of Chinese herbal medicine, pharmacy, pharmaceutics, drug testing, medicinal chemistry, pharmacognosy, applied chemistry (medicine), and pharmacology. Currently it provides pharmaceutical sciences (six-year) program. In 2007 and 2008, the pharmaceutical sciences program was approved as excellent university program at Beijing municipal and national level, respectively. In 2008, SPS was approved as a pharmaceutical program site of the National Training Base for Talents in Basic Scientific Research and Teaching (“scientific base” in short). SPS is committed to educating and training high-level talents in pharmaceutical research.
In the past more than a half century, SPS has made great achievements in discipline construction, faculty training, teaching, and scientific research. It has become a cradle of pharmaceutical scientists both at home and around the world, and it has nurtured a large number of famous scientists. Until now, four professors from SPS were elected as academicians, namely, Professors Wang Xu, Wang Kui and Zhang Lihe as members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Professor Lou Zhicen as member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
The chairs of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, in chronological order, were Professor Liu Sizhi (1945), Professor Chen Tongdu (1947), Professor Xue Yu (1958), Professor Wang Xu (1966) and Professor Wang Kui (1983). In 1985, the name was changed into School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Professor Wang Kui (1985), Professor Zhang Lihe (1988), Professor Peng Shiqi (1999), and Professor Liu Junyi (2005, acting vice dean since 2004) successively served as the dean.
SPS is composed of six academic departments (Chemical Biology, Medicinal Chemistry, Natural Medicine, Pharmaceutics, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, Pharmacy Administration and Clinical Pharmacy), one key laboratory (State Key Laboratory of Natural and Biomimetic Drugs), one institute (Institute of Applied Pharmaceutical Research), and one center (Pharmaceutical Teaching Laboratory Center). SPS owns four committees, namely, teaching committee, academic committee, drug research and development committee, and foreign exchange and cooperation committee.
Pharmaceutical Sciences of Peking University was identified as the national key discipline in 2007 and ranked the first in the evaluation of discipline by Ministry of Education in 2012. SPS owns a discipline group for modern pharmaceutical sciences and drug innovation, which is among the earliest listed in the 211 Project. It owns 3 National Key Disciplines, namely, Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmacognosy, and Pharmacology. Pharmaceutical Sciences has been approved as a national primary discipline, offering postdoctoral training program and Ph.D. programs. All the secondary disciplines could enroll Ph.D. students. Now SPS has 7 master/doctoral programs, including Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmacognosy, Pharmacology, Pharmaceutics, Pharmaceutical Analysis, Chemical Biology, and Clinical Pharmaceutics. It has an enrollment of 1515 students, including 186 doctoral students, 251 master students, 30 in-service training graduate students, 616 six-year (undergraduate-master) program students, and 454 adult learning program students.
SPS attaches importance to the improvement of faculty team. Now it has a team composed of knowledgeable and rigorous scholars, including 2 members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, 3 chief scientists of “973 project”, 3 Cheung Kong Scholars, 3 scholars supported by the National Thousand Young Talents Project, 1 scholar elected into Top-Notch Young Talents Program by the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee, 6 winners of National Outstanding Youth Grant, 4 Innovation Researcher Groups supported by the Ministry of Education, 12 scholars elected into Trans- or New Century Excellent Talents in University Training Program of the Ministry of Education, 4 winners of National Excellent Youth Grant, 4 winners of Beijing NOVA Program, 1 national excellent teacher, 3 Beijing municipal renowned teachers, and 8 Beijing municipal excellent teachers. SPS has a staff team of 179 people, including 44 professors, 49 associate professors, 44 doctoral program supervisors, and 54 master program supervisors. Among them, 110 teach-ers (or 79.1% of teaching faculties) own doctoral degree, and 25 teachers (or 18.0%) have master’s degree.
For the aim of building a world-class university, SPS has been improving its education and teaching philosophy, updating the concept of “teaching and learning”, and attaching importance to the quality of education. To adapt to the development of higher education reform and to meet the social needs for high-level pharmaceutical talents, SPS was approved by the Ministry of Education in 2001 to take the lead nationwide in enrolling six-year undergraduate-master program students under the primary discipline of pharmaceutical sciences. This program is aimed to explore novel modes to train pharmaceutical research talents. SPS proposed and practised this six-year personnel training program, which combines undergraduate and master level educations. This program changes the old mode of education, and features reforms and innovations in curriculum system, syllabus of the courses, teaching organization, practice section, and students’ moral education, and has made notable achievements in teaching and education. In recent years, SPS has won one second-class national teaching achievements award, two first-class Beijing municipal teaching achievements awards, two second-class Beijing municipal teaching achievements award, one second-class award for “national excellent textbook for normal universities” (Ministry of Education), and one second-class award for “national excellent medical textbook for normal universities”. In addition, seven published textbooks have been approved as “Beijing municipal classical textbook for higher education”, one course has been approved as “national classical sharing course”, and the Pharmaceutical Teaching Laboratory Center has been approved as “Beijing municipal model center for laboratory teaching in universities”. In 2012, the center was named as “National Experimental Teaching Demonstration Center” during the twelfth five-year period. SPS undertakes one program of New-Century higher education and teaching reform project from the Ministry of Education, one medical program of higher education and teaching reform project from the Ministry of Education (supported by World Bank credit), five sub-projects of the nation’s tenth five-year plan key research projects, four joint projects of Beijing, five planning projects of education science research during the nation’s eleventh five-year plan period from Chinese Higher Education Society, eight projects from the pharmaceutical education board, medical education committee of Chinese Higher Education Society, three innovative experimental programs of Beijing municipality, and four innovative experimental programs of the Ministry of Education. In 2008 and 2012, SPS was accredited funds for capability improvement program from the National Fundamental Scientific Talents Training Foundation.
The scientific research of SPS is mainly focused on three classes of diseases (cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, tumor, and senile diseases), and fundamental research on four classes of endogenous substances (nucleic acids, oligosaccharides, polypeptides, and trace elements) as well as natural medicines. With the State Key Laboratory of Natural and Biomimetic Drugs as the core, and with the support from National Key Disciplines (Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmacognosy, and Pharmacology), SPS has built up a solid foundation in nucleic acid chemistry, peptide chemistry, carbohydrate chemistry, and bio-inorganic chemistry. Some disciplines and research achievements have reached international top level.
Currently, SPS undertakes a number of key research programs, including key projects from National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), “973” and “863” projects, National Key Technologies R&D Programs of China, as well as provincial and ministerial research projects. SPS also participates in the “211” and “985” project. In recent years, SPS has won 4 National Natural Science Award (class two), together with 6 class one awards, 23 class two awards and 8 class three awards at provincial and ministerial levels, and more than 20 other awards. In the past five years, SPS has obtained 85 issued patents, and has published 1422 research papers (950 cited by SCI). One class I anti-tumor innovative drug (IND) has been approved for phase II clinical trail by SFDA, one class I anti-tumor new drug and one class I anti-epilepsy new drug have been approved for clinical trial. In 2009, SPS undertookPrimary Drug Innovation programand “Peking University Comprehensive Center for Drug Discovery and Development” (CCDDD)with a positive attitude toward the national major needs, which is joined by drug research related institutions and enterprises of Peking University. By integrating the advantageous resources in Peking University, CCDDD is established on its solid foundation and advantages in pharmaceutical sciences, basic medical sciences, life sciences, chemistry, and computer sciences. With the construction of CCDDD, SPS will build up an integrated research and technology system for the discovery and development of innovative drugs, covering the whole technology chain from early discovery to later development of chemical drugs, Chinese medicine and natural medicine drugs, and biotechnological drugs. SPS intends to improve its innovation capability in new drug research, and to help China to change from “big” to “strong” in pharmaceutical industry.
SPS has established a number of technical platforms for pharmaceutical research, including drug screening center, NMR center, MS center, bioassay platform, and regular chemical analysis platform. SPS is equipped with state-of-the-art instruments for pharmaceutical research, including 600 MHz, 500 MHz, 400 MHz and 300 MHz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrophotometers (NMR), liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry instruments (LC/MS), EPS-300 electron spin resonance spectrometer, surface plasma resonance sensor, computer-assisted drug design workstation, capillary electrophoresis, spectral scanning multimode reader, and small animal imaging system. These instruments do not only provide technical support for research and teaching activities of the University, but also provide sample test service and technical training to the society.
The School of Pharmaceutical Sciences has extensive cooperation and communication with universities, research institutes, and pharmaceutical enterprises from US, UK, France, Germany, Japan, Netherland, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and so on. It has employed 4 foreign honorary professors and 12 guest professors. Widespread communication at home and abroad has been remarkably improving the School’s overall academic strength.
In the next few years, Peking University School of Pharmaceutical Sciences aims to develop into a comprehensive and international top-level pharmaceutical school.