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Introduction to the Discipline of Biology
1.Missions and Orientations

The academic position of the first-class biology discipline of Northeast Forestry University is based on the abundant biological resources in the forests of Northeast China (including various subjects such as forest medicine, forest fungi, fruit, forest birds), conducting innovative interdisciplinary research targeting biological subjects such as plants, microorganisms, animals etc. at the levels of molecular genetics, cellular biochemistry, physiological ecology, as well as adopting and promoting the achievements. Aiming for wildlife and forest plant germplasm resources conservation, the discipline especially focuses on promoting forest vegetation and increasing resource protection; conducting directed cultivation of wildlife resources in order to relieve the contradiction between wildlife conservation and increasing market demand; developing a high efficiency of the utilization of forest animal and plant resources on the basis of valid protection as well as directional cultivation. Significant scientific achievement has been collected and further applied successfully in forest medical resources breeding, cultivation, and comprehensive utilization, which provides effectively theoretical support and technical guidance for the development of bio-industry economics and ecological protection in Northeast China.

2. Superiorities and Features

By constantly working to promote the cross-integration between different disciplines, our discipline has achieved better resource sharing along with a public technological platform service between the various second-level disciplines, resulting in the overall coordination and development of the first-class disciplines, generating an overall pattern with distinct subject characteristics and outstanding advantages. Of all the unique features, the primary is the efficient use of forest-origin active substance. With the platform of the “Ecological use of Biological Resources Local Joint National Engineering Laboratory,” research focuses on filtering the active ingredients of forest plants, the biotransformation and cultivation of forest plant compounds,  the biological semi – synthesis induction of forest plant compounds as well as detaching technology with high efficiency of the active ingredients of forest plant in both laboratory test and pilot operations. The second feature aims at the recovery and reconstruction of the function of the ecological systems in the northeastern forests and grasslands. Research is carried out mainly in the following aspects: the basic theory of comparative functional genomics of special saline-alkali tolerant plants in highly mineralized areas; the metabolic and utilizing pathways of high value-added plants that adapt to highly mineralized area; the theory and technology of constructing artificial vegetation cover in highly mineralized areas; anthocyanin biosynthesis and light signal transduction; and plant stress germplasm and utilization, with the platform of “Key Laboratory of Plant Ecology” and “Key Laboratory of Saline Vegetation Restoration and Reconstruction Northeast oilfield”. The third feature is focused on wildlife conservation and sustainable utilization. With the support of the State Forestry Administration Wildlife Conservation Biology Laboratory and the National Wildlife testing center etc., studies in conservation of endangered bird species as well as animal habitat are planned and conducted, which provide theoretical guidance and technical support for wildlife and wildlife products management and utilization, market access, supervision, appraisal, etc. in the international environment. Last but not least, practical studies about the featured forest microorganism resources are conducted in the light of establishing forest macro-fungi preservation database and the research for environmental microbiology. So far, nearly 3000 strains of large fungi, filamentous fungi and bacteria resources have been identified and categorized, the medical functions of which, such as anti-tumor, anti-viral, anti-plant pathogen effects are being further investigated, leading in the current relevant studies in the field of environmental microbiology.

3. Cultivation goals

The discipline is committed to improving the quality of talent, the level of scientific research, and social service capabilities, attempting to meet the requirements of the national, regional, and forestry development. The established discipline concepts include an emphasis on interdisciplinary integration, professional-regional services, and practical application. According to these concepts, we strive to achieve a breakthrough in the protection and utilization of forest animals, plants, and microbial resources in this field of research specialties. In the future, we will attempt to establish the biological disciplines in a talent culture base, becoming advanced domestically and having an internationally renowned reputation. The advances will provide scientific and technological support for the Chinese forestry industry, biotechnology and sustainable development of the forest economy.

4. Discipline direction

Based on the discipline superiorities and developmental requirements, the established discipline directions include: 1) The protection of animal and plant resources of the forest policy and the establishment of seed banks; 2) Forest plant secondary metabolic regulation mechanisms; 3) The interaction mechanisms of Forest plant - Microbe - Soil and their responses to global climate change; 4) The artificial breeding and ecological regulation of forest resources; 5) Identification and separation of active small molecules in forest plant resources; 6) Excavation and analysis of functional genes in the resilience plants of the Songneng Plain; 7) Wetland habitat of aquatic biological resources and water environmental protection. In the above research, through the establishment of genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, phenotypes genomics and other emerging technology platforms, we focus on the metabolic processes and molecular mechanisms during the interaction of living materials and their environments. Lastly, we look to propose to solve theoretical issues in the interdisciplinary fields and the dilemma existing in the forestry, resources and other fields of application practice.

5. Domestic and International influence

Our discipline currently involves 8 second level disciplines authorized to offer doctoral degrees, 3 centers for post-doctoral studies, 1 state and local joint engineering laboratory, 2 prior laboratories of the Ministry of Education; 12, 000 m2 of building area for research and ancillary equipment worth 90 million RMB, the number and level of which were ranked at the top among first-class biology disciplines of agricultural and forestry universities throughout China. There are currently 3 academicians (external) and 28 doctoral tutors in our discipline. Among them, 1 was awarded the Science and Technology progress of “Ho Leung Ho Lee”; 2 are titled as distinguished professors of “Cheung Kong Scholars Program”; 6 are chosen as Ministry of Education (cross) Century Excellent Talents.

Our discipline is a first-class discipline of Heilongjiang Province in biology, and was chosen to be the first-class biology discipline of the State Forestry Administration in 2015. This discipline has formed the development mode of focusing on both basic and applied research while targeting industry-orientation as well as regional practice. As a result of the continuous growth of the influence and the ability of innovation of our discipline, the core competitiveness of the discipline composite score ranked 10th throughout all the biological first-level disciplines in Chinese universities according to the result of the first-level discipline assessment in 2012 announced by the Ministry of Education, ahead of all other forestry universities. Botany, out of all the second-level disciplines involved, was approved as one of the first national leading disciplines in 1989.

In regards to international research communication, our discipline has establish long-term stable academic cooperative relationships with more than 20 universities and academic institutions in more than 40 countries or regions, including Donald Danforth Plant Science Center of the USA, Genetics Institute’s University of Florida of the USA, Cancer Research Center of German, Heidelberg University Institute of Ecology molecule, Rothamsted Institute of Plant Sciences, Asian Biological Resources Environmental Research Center University of Tokyo. Our academic influence has been significantly improved both domestically and internationally over the past several years.