Core On 28th October, “OsteoTarget”, a team from Hong Kong Baptist University, scored impressive successes in the 2018 international Bio-molecular Design Competition (BIOMOD) held in the US. They won two awards, the Gold Project Award and the Best project video (2ndplace) for their innovative research proposal for the novel osteoporosis treatment.
BIOMOD is an international competition on biomolecular nanotechnology open to students and their faculty and postdoctoral mentors around the world. BIOMOD was originally created at Harvard University in 2011. Since then over 1400 students and mentors have participated from all over the world. This year, the competition was hosted at the University of California, San Fransico (UCSF), and over 180 students on 25 teams from 10 different countries had participated in.
The team members comprised nine HKBU students from different majors, they are:
Chinese medicine and Biomedical Science – year 5: Jieli Chen, Jingyuan Luo, Xiaohan Mo, Haocheng Yang and Sichang Yang; Pharmacy – year 4: Shuyan Teng; Film - year 4: Liu Yang; Mingsheng Xu; Animation and media arts – year 3: Lanbing Lyu.
And their supervisor is Professor Zhang Ge, their mentors are Dr. Liu Jin; Dr. Lu Jun; Dr. Guan Daogang; Mr. Wu Xiaohao
The award winning project is entitled as “A Novel Treatment for Osteoporosis”.
As osteoporosis becomes one of the most prevalent bone diseases in postmenopausal women worldwide without a proper treatment that can limit the side effects for long-term used, the new anti-resorpitve drugs are urgently needed. The project is basically focus on the usage of a new promising targeting moiety, which is the eight repeated sequences of aspartate (D-Asp8). What they have done is to find out how to combine it properly with Odanacatib, the drug reached Phase III Randomized Controlled Trials and suspended by Merck for its increased risk of cardio/cerebrovascular events, with the minimal impairment of it function and maximum specific-bind feature to reach the osteoclasts. In order to find the best site to combine, they have also done some subsequent experiments to prove the effectiveness and specificity of our new conjugate (D-Asp8)-ODN. They believe that through our work, a new CatK inhibitor candidate may come out for the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis.
Under the supervision of Prof. Zhang Ge, Director of the Technology Development Division, School of Chinese Medicine, and Dr. LIU Jin and Dr. LU Jun, Research Assistant Professor of the Institute of Integrated Bioinformedicine and Translational Science, the team devoted huge efforts over a year to prepare for the competition. LUO Jingyuan, who participated in the team, said the team name “OsteoTarget” is named by their project. “Osteo” means bone and “Target” is their goal. All team members exerted their advantages. Their innovative research proposal and wonderful animation, website and presentation impressed judges of BIOMOD.
Jingyuan said, he learned a lot through this competition. He would like to express all team members’ appreciation to their supervisor and mentors, without their help, they could not accomplish this project and got the Gold prize.
Please visit HKBU team’s project at: