Dr. Yin Ye, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of BGI Group
We are in “the Century of Life Sciences”, says Dr. Yin Ye, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of BGI Group.
With twenty-five years of expertise in life sciences, he is both a witness and participant in the ongoing evolution of mankind’s understanding of life and the remarkable achievements that have been made in unraveling its mysteries.
To mark the milestones of BGI Group's 24th anniversary, and the 20th anniversary of the culmination of the Human Genome Project, and the 80th anniversary of Erwin Schrödinger's "What is Life?" lectures, we talked with Dr. Yin, who underscored the enduring allure of unanswered questions in the realm of life, and revealed the spirit of scientific curiosity and the transformative potential that lies ahead for BGI.
Question: How do you view the question of "What is life?"
Yin Ye: If we include my undergraduate years, I have been involved in life sciences for 25 years. Yet I still feel that I am on a journey to truly understand life.
What makes Erwin Schrödinger remarkable is that he explained the enigmatic concept of life, which people at the time found mysterious, in terms of chemistry, physics, and even mathematics. Eighty years ago, his lectures inspired many successors to better understand and respect life itself.
The more you know, the more you realize how much you don't know. Respecting life is essential for eventually achieving harmony with the ecological environment.
Question: What stage do you think we are at in terms of exploring the question "What is life?"
Yin Ye: This is a very interesting question. When you observe life itself, you realize that science is far more magical than science fiction.
I think because we can't provide a very precise definition, it makes life sciences more fascinating. Life is always a challenge, and there are always exceptions.
Question: How do you envision BGI 24 years from now?
Yin Ye: BGI must continue to contribute to original scientific discoveries.
These major scientific discoveries highly depend on tools. New tools, new technologies, and then new methods can emerge, and new science can be born. I believe this century will bring about fundamental changes, shifting from the century of physics to the century of life.
Question: Can you say a few words to young people who want to pursue a career in life science?
Yin Ye: The 21st century is undoubtedly the century of life science, and you are in the right place at the right time.
Whether it's genomics, synthetic biology, regenerative medicine, this combination of all these disciplines brings a whole new, immensely grand space for development.
I hope everyone can understand the grandeur of nature, which will lead to reverence for the natural world, and understand the marvels of creation, which will lead to empathy for all living beings.
I hope that working in the field of life sciences can bring awareness, a sense of compassion for humanity, and a transcendent view of life and death. This is my true experience of studying life and I am enjoying it.
I hope that together, we can all have a wonderful awareness of life.