On 19 March, Prof. Jianzhong Du, a recipient of The National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars, delivered an invited talk. This talk is dedicated to the people of Wuhan, who suffered a lot during these very difficult times. The COVID-19 pandemic greatly influenced peoples’ study, life and work arrangements since the outbreak at the start of the new year. It is important that the university enables our graduate students, faculty members, and researchers to work efficiently to minimize the spread of the virus. Preliminary attempts, such as the online lecture from Prof. Jianzhong Du was enthusiastically received by more than 300 people from different countries.
Prof. Jianzhong Du, is the head of department of polymeric materials at the Tongji University in Shanghai. He was invited by Prof. Guang Yang (Huazhong University of Science and Technology) to deliver an international 2–hour English academic report. The presentation, with the title "Self-assembly of polymers into designer vesicles for biomedical applications", was attended by teachers and students from Huazhong University of Science and Technology and other universities in Wuhan. This academic report was online broadcasted using the Tencent Conference APP software and attracting an audience of 300 international students, scholars and experts from 8 different time zones around the world. Unfortunately, the number of viewers reached quickly the upper limit of the software’s capacity; first come serve first, late comers saw closed doors.
Prof. Du presented the latest published results of his research group during this international report in English. Despite the complexity of the science, he managed to explained it in a clear and simple way; allowing students into the world of chemical self-assembly. First, supramolecular chemistry was discussed, followed by transitioned to supramolecular self-assembly and macromolecular self-assembly. The second part of the talk was dedicated to the self-assembly of block copolymers with systematically introduction of mechanism and experimental methods. Thirdly, the self-assembly of homopolymers was introduced. In the fourth part, polymerization-induced self-assembly (PISA) was discussed. More specifically, Prof. Du shared his latest research results on his newly developed NCA-PISA method. His excellent presentation finished with the fifth part of this well-delivered talk where he discussed his latest JACS paper on fusion-induced particle assembly (FIPA). This work describes the birth of a Tetrapod Polymersomes from a vesicle-vesicle fusion process. He compared his new insight in the world of chemistry with Taoist philosophical ideas of "compromise rigidity with flexibility" and the golden mean of the Confucianism. This creative approach made us feel the power of the beautiful combination of Chinese culture and science. The session was closed with a review of the potential future application prospects of polymer vesicles in the field of biomedicine. For example, the mechanism of blood glucose regulation of “sugar sponge” vesicles, the anticancer principle of ultrasound-responsive vesicles, and the process of dual corona vesicles inhibiting periodontitis were described in detail.
The entire report was informative and presented in an enjoyable way so that everyone was still longing for more at the end of the 2–hour session. Fortunately, there was still time for few questions. Many home- and international-students took this opportunity to ask their questions, and expressed their views. Prof. Du answered them one by one and explained his research in a detailed and patient way. Students participating in the conference expressed that the obtained information would benefit them a lot in their future careers, and expressed their gratitude to Prof Du .
This online academic conference has encouraged the "academic anti-epidemic" mentality of scientists, and supported the innovative academic communication model. A professor from Wuhan wrote that "I don't think it would be possible to hold an academic conference in the next six months. Thank you for your report today, which inspired my enthusiasm for work." This conference also encouraged college students to participate in similar academic conferences and to spend their time at home reading more literature and thinking about scientific research to make contributions to the future development of our motherland!
Contributor：Xi yuejing, Erik J. Cornel