SHI Yigong

Yigong Shi is Founding President of Westlake University. He is also the Dean of the Institute of Biomedicine of Tsinghua University. He received his Bachelor’s Degree with highest honor from Tsinghua University in 1989 and Ph.D. in Biophysics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1995. Following a two-year postdoctoral research period at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, he joined Princeton University as an Assistant Professor in 1998 and was promoted to Full Professor in 2003. He was named Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis Professor of Molecular Biology in 2007. Dr. Shi resigned from Princeton University, declined an offer from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and returned to Tsinghua University in 2008.


Dr. Yigong Shi’s research has provided important insights into programmed cell death and regulated intramembrane proteolysis. His pioneering research on caspase activation, inhibition, and derepression markedly advanced mechanistic understanding of programmed cell death. He is a world leader in the structural biology of cell signaling and macromolecular assemblies. He has made fantastic breakthrough in the area of “genetic central dogma” by reporting the first three-dimensional structure of an intact yeast spliceosome at 3.6 Å resolution, of which the structure enhances the mechanistic understanding of pre-mRNA splicing. He was a Searle Scholar and a Rita Allen Scholar. For his research contributions, Dr. Shi received a number of recognitions, including the 2003 Irving Sigal Young Investigator Award from the Protein Society, the 2010 Sackler Prize in Biophysics, and the 2014 Gregori Aminoff Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He has been awarded the 2015 Nature Award for Mentoring in Science. Held annually, each Nature-hosted awards ceremony focuses on a specific country or countries and seeks to champion the importance of mentoring and inspiring young scientists.


Dr. Shi is a vice chairman of China Association of Science and Technology. He is an Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an Honorary Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences, and a Foreign Associate of the European Molecular Biology Organization.