Tan Kah Kee Award in Life Sciences
Shen Shanjiong

Shen Shanjiong (Shen San Chiun) (1917- ) is a native of Wujiang, Jiangsu Province. He is a molecular genetic scientist. He graduated from the National Southwest Associated University in Kunming in 1942. From 1947 to 1950, he had his graduate education, majoring in biochemical genetics at California Institute of Technology and received his Ph.D. in 1951. After returning to China, he served as associate professor of biochemistry at the Medical School, Zhejiang University. From 1952 he has been research fellow and vice president of microbiology and genetics at the Shanghai Institute of Plant Physiology, Chinese academy of Sciences, and Deputy Director-General of China Genetic Society. In 1980, he was elected academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

Shen upon his return to China pursued antibiotic research. He obtained remarkable achievements in biosynthesis of Aureomycin and metabolism of microorganisms. In 1974, he went back to his primary interest, Molecular Genetics. He led a group of young scientists who organized a laboratory of molecular biology of nitrogen fixation genes. His achievement is not limited to the research on the genetics of biological nitrogen fixation, but also the acceleration of the progress of molecular genetics in China. As the pioneers in the initiation of plant molecular biology study in this country, he and his young colleagues started to study the storage protein genes of soybean plants early in 1980s. Shen always stressed on the importance of cooperation between the research institute and universities. He thus has helped the Shanghai Jiaotong University to build a laboratory of molecular genetics which led to the department of biological sciences and technology. His laboratory has become one of the world famous laboratories on free-living nitrogen heredity. Shen received CAS Natural Sciences Award, First Class in 1956 and again in 1981, Achievement Award of the Chinese Engineers and Scientists Association of Southern California in 1981 and National Natural Sciences Award, Second Class in 1988. He was honored the Distinguished Alumni Award from California Institute of Technology in 1996. He won Ho Leung Ho Lee Award for Science and Technology Advancement in life sciences in 1999.