Nanshan Zhong, MD

Academician, Chinese Academy of Engineering. Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Disease, Guangzhou

Dr Prof Nanshan Zhong, MD (Edin), FRCS (Edin), FRCP (London), FRCP (Ireland), is a Medical Professor of Guangzhou Medical College, and a supervisor of respiratory medicine doctoral candidates. He was former President of Chinese Medical Association (2005-2009). He was named as ‘leader of clinical research in China’ by the Lancet.

He graduated from Beijing Medical College, majoring in medical sciences. From 1979 to 1981, Dr Zhong worked as a research associated at the Department of Respiratory Medicine, Royal Infirmary, University of Edinburgh and St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, University of London. He was the President of Chinese Thoracic Society (2000-2007), Former President of Chinese Medical Association (2005-2009). At present, he is the Director of Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Diseases, and Director-general of China State Key Laboratory of Respiratory Diseases. In addition, he is an Academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering since 1996, which is the highest academic position in the field of Medicine in China.

Over the past decades, Prof Zhong has been a leader scientist in promoting China’s respiratory medicine towards the forefront of international advances. Prof Zhong was a Member of Executive Committee of GINA (Global Initiative of Asthma) during 1993-1995, Member of the Executive Committee of Asia-Pacific Society of Respiratory (1999-2005), International Reagent of American College of Chest Physicians in China (1999-2009), and now a Member of Executive Committee of the Global Alliance of Respiratory Diseases (GARD, since 2006).

He first developed and refined the definition of asymptomatic asthma, later cited by WHO, through his originally designed “simple bronchial provocation test" and epidemiological surveys. In a systemic review of etiology of chronic cough in China, he elucidated the neuroinflammatory mechanisms to gastroesophageal reflux induced cough. His methods for in-exercise diaphragmatic function assessment for the first time revealed the presence of protein-energy malnutrition in even 60% of patients with early to middle stage COPD, which generated a correction equation of basic energy intake in this cohort. A national epidemiological study steered by him showed the unprecedented prevalence of COPD in China. His famous research found that hydrosulfuryl-containing expectorants (carbocysteine) can be effective in preventing or reducing acute exacerbation of COPD. He has organized and participated in the development of a number of Chinese guidelines for diagnosis and management of bronchial asthma, COPD, chronic cough, SARS, and high-pathogenic avian flu. He was the first person describing SARS coronovirus as the main pathogen in 2003 SARS pandemic in Guangdong. As a leader in the management of 2002/2003 SARS outbreak in China, he successfully led his team in rescue, achieving lowest mortality of SARS infection (3.8% in Guangdong) among the world by rationale use of corticosteroid and non-invasive ventilation. He successfully developed a new vaccine using small molecule interference RNA technique in the prevention and treatment of SARS in Rhesus macaque. He led in writing a handbook which was later used by the WHO as a blueprint in developing a global response to this disease.

Professor Zhong is also a leader and principal investigator to more than 10 major scientific projects, including the State-973, State-863, Tenth State Five-year Plan, National Nature Science Grants, and WHO/GOLD global network. He has published a great number of papers in worldwide reputed SCI journals, including those in Nature Medicine, Lancet, BMJ, Am J Respir Crit Care Med, and more than 200 papers in State-level journals. His publications have received 438 citations. In 2008, one of his papers published in the Lancet was elected as “paper of the year”. Besides, he has published 16 books including Respiratory Medicine (National College Textbooks for Medical Postgraduates), Internal Medicine (National textbooks), Asthma: from Basic to Clinical, and has gained 9 technical patents.

Due to his great achievements in medical practices and scientific education, Prof Zhong was also a recipient to Second and Third Prizes for National Natural Sciences, Outstanding Contribution Award, First Prize of Guangdong Science and Technology Awards, and Bethune Medal (2004). He became National May Day Labor Medalist (2003), National Moral Models (2007), European Respiratory Society Lifetime Honorary Fellow (2008), People Who Moved China 2009, Advanced Individual of National Medical Health Care System (2009),Fifth Higher School Teaching Masters Award (2009) and National Award for Achievements in Teaching (2009).