Do Your Best and Leave the Rest to God's Will -- Lu Kunping, Soochow University Alumnus, Harvard Tenure Professor

Cancer, in other words, malignant tumors, involves rapidly continuous cell growth and division and will undermine the body function of human beings and eventually lead to death once they invade or spread to other body parts. Imagine there is a day; cancer can be cured with a high recovery rate just as having a cold. Maybe then the dreadful thought of cancer would become only a piece of memory of an era. Lu Kunping, a tenure professor in Harvard University, is on his way to realize this vision for the human race.

Lu Kunping, alumnus of Soochow University, tenure professor of Harvard Medical School, chief of Division of Translational Therapeutics of both Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Cancer Research Center, Expert Talent among National One-Thousand-Talent Scheme, Changjiang Scholar, has first discovered a new series of gene family and named them Pin1-to-Pin 3 and PinX1-to-PinX4, whose structures and functions have been recognized worldwide.

 Under great support of the Alumni Association of Soochow University and the invitation of Jiangsu Provincial government, Lu attended the first Jiangsu Development Summit on 20th May 2017 as a renowned alumnus of Soochow University.

 

"It's an Honor to Be Able to Contribute Jiangsu Province"

"Jiangsu Development Summit is a brilliant idea. Its scheme suits perfectly my own career plan because I came back to see whether I have the opportunity to start my career in my hometown and contribute my new research results to my people." Lu noted that he was quite honored to participate in the Summit.

During the communication after the Summit, Lu realized many of the overseas Chinese talents shared the same belief to come back to Jiangsu and make contributions. Before this summit, many of them could not find such an occasion to bring everyone together and create such a great opportunity for everyone.

According to Lu Kunping, as one of the major development strategies, bringing talents together is one worthy promotion. During his interview, he commented that this strategy was also revealed in history. During the World War II, the United States and Europe were well-matched in their strength. However, after the war, they took opposite actions towards Jewish people where the U.S. chose to bring in and settle them while Europe exiled them. 20 years later, the gap between America and Europe has grown bigger and bigger, with the former becoming the strongest country in the world. Undoubtedly, talents play a significant role here. "Now China has developed to be strong and resourceful enough to attract talents and many of oversea Chinese also hope to come back to build our country."

On 21st May, participants of the Jiangsu Province Development Summit conducted a tour and an exchange of ideas. Having visited the outstanding enterprises and their project results, Lu suggested that he never expected that there should by such extensive number of bioengineering and pharmaceutical companies and the well-established industry chain here. "I think this is an optimistic environment for medical research and development. Working by oneself is not going to work in this industry." Lu initiated the original conversation with investment promotors of Suzhou Bionano Science Park and attempted to industrialize a type of micro molecule drugs against tumors.

 

 

"My Teacher is My Most Unforgettable Memory"

During his stay in Jiangsu, Lu revisited Soochow University where he spent his postgraduate years. Talking and sharing ideas with his fellow schoolmates made him very happy.

Born in a common family in Zhangzhou City, Fujian Province, he spent most of his time in his hometown till college. Back then he did not dream to go to Harvard to continue his research until 1984 when he encountered a turning point in his life.

In that year, Lu came to study in the field of tumors and Alzheimer disease in Medical School of Soochow University under Professor Wang Daosheng.

It was his first official trip away from home. Even now, in his 50s, Lu still cannot forget his deepest impression at that time. "The world is really big!" When he first started his study here, he discovered that his classmates were from all the different places in China such as Xin Jiang and Inner Mongolia through their self-introductions. He had an epiphany that the places he used to read in books are actually not that far from him. Now he is still grateful to have had the opportunity to study here for it enlightened him that he could and should go out, study and explore more.

Graduated as a distinguished student from Soochow University, Lu made a bold move to cast his sight on oversea study and encouraged himself to step out and seek further study abroad.

"My research supervisor showed me the way. I miss Suzhou very much because my research career started here." For 30 years, Suzhou has been recognized by him as the start of his career and the experience in medical science study in Soochow University laid solid groundwork for his future study in pharmacology and biology.

Lu's most memorable person in Suzhou is his mentor who is over 90 years old. With the help of the powerful alumni network of the university, Lu was able to pay a visit to his mentor.

 

 

"Do Your Best and Leave the Rest to God's Will"

Having obtained his doctorate degree in Cytobiology in Duke University in the U.S., Lu didn't stop his research in biomedicine. In recent years, he was not only invited by Salk Institute – one of the top ten life science institutes in America, but also became a tenured professor in Harvard University because of the discovery of Pin gene family which helps protect against Alzheimer's disease and cancer.

Having recalled his history, Lu was calm when describing his pursuit of science as if everything has been very smooth. But the fact is, during these decades, it was widely believed that Pin gene family was just a subjective thinking with no research value. This was a huge obstacle for researchers and during this period of time, Lu's lab was basically supported by the staff on their own.

With little recognition and limited funds, Lu still kept his faith and continued his work till the day Pin genes were proven to have positive effects on the treatment of cancer, and hence he is well recognized.

Now many of Lu's research results have been applied and proved to be helpful in clinic treatment of cancer and Alzheimer's disease. Yet he has to keep the bitterness within himself. A shirt, casual shoes, a briefcase and his slighted curved back are all signatures of Lu. He travels light and healthy, and communicates in a calm and polite manner. However, when he discusses about academic research, his vigorous and serious eyes will always leave an impression.

Looking back his life, Lu shared his belief with his fellow schoolmates, "the path of your life is traveled one step at a time. On the way, there will be obstacles but you need to believe yourself and fight for your own dream. Do your best and leave the rest to God's will." Lu hopes both Soochow University and its students will have no hesitation in moving forward in order to make great achievements.