Shi-Zhen ZHONG

Professor, Senior Member of Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE). The Father of Chinese Digital Human.

Prof. Zhong’s main scientific and technological achievements can be illustrated according to different historical periods and his contributions:

(1) Earlier since the founding of the People’s Republic ofChina, he made certain contribution to the survey and research of Chinese people’s physiques. As mentioned inChina’s development of anatomy, the Chinese nation didn't have its own record of people’s physiques before the newChinawas established. At that time, relevant education and scientific researches, especially those involving the most basic statistical parameters about human structure, had to be based on records from foreign countries. But how could we, as a large nation, apply other nation’s data to represent our actual situations? Therefore, at that stage, the main task for the Chinese Society for Anatomical Sciences (CSAS) was to conduct researches on the physiques of Chinese people and strive to set up a physique database featuring our Chinese within a short period of time. Prof. Zhong participated in the related research work and published 29 theses on the health investigation and research and devoted to accumulating resources about Chinese people’s physiques. He also involved in the editing and publication of the game-changing report Chinese Physique Investigation. This work basically came to an end when the Cultural Revolution began.

(2) Prof. Zhong is the founding father of contemporary clinical anatomy inChina. Lasting for ten years, the Cultural Revolution keptChinaisolated from other countries in term of scientific development and all the activities held by the CSAS were halted. When the reform and opening up was implemented and people started to regard science and technology as a primary productive force, the CSAS was facing a problem of starting over again. In particular, anatomical scholars had to deal with the general direction of development forChina’s anatomy. During that period, Prof. Zhong pointed out that our research should work in concert with the need of clinical development, special fields related to morphology and the application of new technological methods. He also suggested that we should explore new frontiers in the new research areas of clinically applied anatomy. Prof. Zhong served as the founder and chief editor of the Chinese Journal of Clinical Anatomy, trained an army of academic teams and helped revitalize anatomy, an ancient, almost unpopular and outdated discipline. He is credited with many achievements, especially in the innovative development of clinical surgery. The research led by Prof. Zhong and the outcomes are widely recognized by the science and technology circle. Successively, he worked as the Committee of Human Anatomy and Anatomy Director, as well as the vice chair and honorary chair of CSAC.

(3) His cutting-edge achievements in the research of microsurgical anatomy are well-recognized home and abroad. At the beginning, microsurgical anatomy was seen as one of the several operative techniques in the field of surgery and also it was not an emerging sub-discipline, due to the lack of relatively systematic and complete fundamental theories. In this field, Among Prof. Zhong’s major contributions are his systemization of human physical formation related to the microsurgical operations, and his theorization of new operative techniques based on the anatomical evidences that they provide. To illustrate, although there are nearly a hundred new operative techniques for skin flap, muscle flap and bone flap, it is difficult to reach a consensus about their theoretical ground due to a sharp divergence of opinion. According to the structure of human body, Prof. Zhong’s research work on microsurgical anatomy can be summarized as blood supply types with regularity. These highly summarized principles and theories can be used as guidance for the naming, operation, application and innovation of all the new surgical methods. Prof. Zhong and his students have published more than 200 academic papers on microsurgery. The Microsurgical Anatomy in 1985 and Clinical Microsurgical Anatomy in 1991 are among the first international monographs in this field. His research provided the most significant principles for microsurgical technology to be developed into a new sub-discipline called Microsurgery and lay a foundation forChina’s microsurgery work to stand at the forefront in the world.

(4) Prof. Zhong has made eminent contribution to the scientific research of trauma care in Guangdong Province. Trauma is normally known as a common illness in developed countries. Guangdong is a region leading the progress of modernization and industrialization, as well as a soaring incidence rate of trauma. Because the trauma care capability fails to keep up with the development of industrialization, the rates of both mortality and disability caused by trauma in Guangdong are higher than those of advanced industrialized countries and regions, bringing immense burden to the nation, society and the families. Supported by the Guangdong Provincial Department of Science and Technology, Prof. Zhong established the Guangdong Trauma Research Center and worked as its director. This center gained access to many key laboratories in universities and colleges, combined the personnel from over 30 hospitals across Guangdong and the Guangzhou City Police Department, and formed an interdisciplinary scientific and technological team combining the basic knowledge and clinical application of trauma care. This research team carried out the National Program on Key Basic Research Project (973 Program), the National High-tech R&D Program ofChina(863 Program), and other programs assigned by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) or other provincial and municipal organizations. In addition, they have also invented over 20 trauma care devises, been rewarded several national, provincial and municipal prizes for progress, and edited as well as published a number of monographs and dissertations such as Currently, in view of myelencephalon trauma in accidents as the major cause for disability or even mortality, they are studying the quick and key treatment techniques for this trauma and try to develop a medical devise with proprietary intellectual property rights and a plan to standardize the quick treatment for trauma by traffic accidents before the patient is sent to the hospital. Last year, the team obtained supports from the major projects both at the provincial level and in Guangzhou city, and the welfare projects in the Ministry of Health, with a priority given to the research of first aid for traffic injuries and the development of machinery. Through this center and the programs, numerous accomplishments have been achieved, a group of talented people have been trained and eventually a high-level treatment network for traffic injuries has been set up. A series of researches help to decrease the rate of casualty and disability caused by traffic injuries, thus contributing to the building of a harmonious Guangdong.

(5) Prof. Zhong has explored a new research area for clinical anatomical biomechanics featuring a combination of science, engineering and medical science. Prof. Zhong founded the Key Laboratory of Medical Biomechanics for both the Army and Guangdong province, which has provided a well-quipped and relatively advanced technical research platform for war trauma treatment, clinical orthopedics, aerospace medicine and other departments. This platform provided experimental parameters for the design of the Shenzhou VI’s astronaut cabin and by simulating abnormal landing and conducting such falling experiments as dummy and dead body, it helped to obtain precise parameters of different parts or organs that are likely to get hurt. These parameters have been listed by the Aeromedicine Institute as the relevant reference for improving the buffer unit in Shenzhou VI’s astronaut cabin. At present, it's still used for studying the impact of a certain amount of cosmic rays when the Shenzhou VII astronauts were walking in the space. Apart from those, in the field of clinical orthopedics, this technical platform also served to research for the influence of stress-strain on human body tissues and organs, develop internal and external fixation apparatus for specific targets and carry out lots of biomechanical tests and analysis, so as to upgrade the automatic walking devise used by paraplegia patients. In term of Guangdong’s current major industrial projects, to keep up with the rapid development of auto-manufacturing, it's suggested that Guangdong should establish a large-scale research base for bump tests and promote the design of driver’s seat with proprietary IPR and the manufacturing of safety equipment for drivers and passengers as well.

(6) Prof. Zhong participated in leading the establishment of a human specimen museum with international influence, which is an achievement highly bonding science and art and also like a French window displaying the exchanges between our national scientific community and its foreign counterparts. Inside the Life Science Building in Southern Medical University, there are thousands of spectacular vascular cast specimens, as colorful as corals, as exquisite and dazzling as crystals, turning trash into treasure and making people astounded with its delicate structure of human bodies. This museum not only showcases the sparkling scientific and technological outcomes, but also has been listed among the scientific education bases for youngsters in Guangdong province and Guangzhou city.

(7) He advocated the exploration into new research areas of digital human and digital medical science. New opportunities emerge in the intersections where contemporary advanced information science and life science converge. The sophisticated computer and network technologies make it possible for the flourishing of the study of the complex human structure and the enhancement of medical treatment efficiency. It is proposed by Prof. Zhong and other experts. In the 174th Xiangshan Science Conference in 2001, Prof. Zhong held the post of its executive chair and discussed for the first time inChinathe scientific and technological problems of digital virtual human inChina, a prelude toChina’s research of digital human. In 2003, after making preliminary progress in digital human research, he convened the 208th Xiangshan Science Conference as the executive chief again, focused on the development and application of digital virtual human inChinaand promoted theChinahuman body database into use once it had been primarily set up. In 2007, Prof. Zhong hosted the first China Digital Medical Science Seminar, closely integrated digital technology with other clinical areas and made substantial innovation in medical treatment. Before any formal academic organizations were built in this area, in 2003 and2007, Prof. Zhong was elected as the liaison group leader for digital human and digital medical science research inChina, to ensure the significant role of exchanges, communication, solidarity and coordination among different disciplines and scholars. He published Digital Human and Digital Anatomy—China’s first monograph in this field and is organizing the writing of Introduction to Digital Medical Science. Through his advocating and practice,Chinahas made rapid progress in digital human and digital medical science, not only bridging the gap with the international development, but utilizing clinical application to create a number of digital components with Chinese characteristics and clear display of vessels as well. In September, 2008, Prof. Zhong will be the host for the Digital Medical Science Frontier by CAE and the Symposium of Academic Annual Meeting on Digital Medical Science by CAST.

(8) Prof. Zhong is meticulous in learning, leading by examples in teaching, and generous and moderate in deposition. For more than 50 years since he started teaching medical science, he has successfully taught a number of excellent students, some of which have even been recognized as national young experts with outstanding contributions, or rewarded as exemplary experts in the PLA General Logistics Department and become nominees for academicians. Some even have been rewarded with the Science and Technology Award for Chinese Youth, the Ding Ying Award of Guangdong Province for science and technology and the Guangzhou Outstanding Youth Award, or granted as the South Guangdong Outstanding graduates. Around ten of his students are taking charge of the Department of Orthopedics, Emergency Department, Department of Rehabilitation, Department of Neurosurgery and other departments in several general hospitals of military command and provincial or municipal Class A tertiary hospitals. A few of them started their own medical enterprises and have become chairmen in the listed companies. Equally successful are the ones who are committed to neurobiology abroad. All of this is impossible without Prof. Zhong’s open-mindedness and diligence in research. Prof. Zhong always sets himself as an example for his students, a majority of whom later become accomplished. He is easy-going, humorous, tolerant and prudent. For instance, when being widely publicized for his tremendous contribution for digital human, he took painful steps to ask the reporters not to address him as the Father of Virtual Human inChinaand explained again and again that virtual human is the brainchild shared by many other experts. Besides, when some reporters intentionally dramatized the achievements ofChina’s digital human research, he reiterated their exaggeration and maintained that it’s still a long journey. When people congratulated him for his 2nd Prize of the National S&T Progress Awards in 6 areas, he gave them a witty response that this highlight reflected his life being a supporting actor. Because he was a lead author for just one area, and acted as a leading role merely for 16.6% of the work, which means he was striving to be a responsible supporting actor for the remaining work all his life. Zhong is meticulous in knowledge and resolute in his view of academic work, as evidenced by the following example. Someone misused his name to publish essays and claimed that Prof. Zhong unveiled the time-honored mystery of meridian points by using advanced digital technologies. He insisted to declare and clarify in public that the essay was signed without his consent, thus he should not be held responsible for such statements. He also added that digital technology fails to reveal the meridian points until morphological basis is found.

2. Prof. Zhong’s major discovery, inventions or innovation:

(1)Provided needed materials for the research of Chinese’s physiques in the areas of the vascularity in intracranial and abdominal vessels, branching types of pulmonary bronchus, and the nerve supply in the lumbosacral portion and the lower extremities.

(2) Offered anatomical evidences for the theoretical foundation of innovation in microsurgical operation, which include lymphaticovenous shunt, repairing urethra with appendix, small organ transplants, esophageal resection for intestine, nerve graft, the localization of nerve tract, partial hepatectomy and biliary enteric anastomosis, the 2th blood supply system for toe transplantation and so on.

(3) Supplied evidential materials in anatomical biomechanics for the innovation in orthopedics and trauma surgical methods, including high risk atlantoaxial anterior decompression, microsurgical removal of lumbar disc protrusion, mechanism of infraspinatus muscle atrophy inside volleyball players, internal blood supply system for flexor tendons, the classification of spinal canal contents, the replacement of semilunar bone by lenticular bone, the transplantation of the 2nd and 3rd metatarsophalangeal joints, the biomechanics for Achilles tendon autograft and the collision injury of cranium, the influence of mechanics on the growth and remodeling of bones, the effect of neck, chest, lumbar and other decompressions on spinal stability, mechanism of compression fracture of vertebral body, safety range of TCM rotary reduction, effect of the classified dissevering of anterior longitudinal ligament on spinal stability, the choosing of pedicle screw, FTA on collision injury, test parameters for fatigue mechanics of internal and external fixation apparatus, prevention and protection for limb fracture during high-speed parachuting and safeguard of astronauts during Shenzhou VI’s abnormal landing.

(4) Advocated and took concrete actions in studying digital human and medical science. As the chief executive and host, Prof. Zhong is among the first to suggest the research in this area. He convened three groundbreaking domestic academic symposiums—“the scientific and technological problems of digital virtual human in China “of the 174th Xiangshan Science Conference in 2001, “the development and application of digital virtual human in China” of the 208th Xiangshan Science Conference in 2003 and the 1st China Digital Medical Science Seminar in 2007. He participated in the construction of China’s human body database and was the first to accomplish the work of VCH-F1, and authored the Digital Human and Digital Anatomy. He also coached graduates in their innovative research on digital medical science, such as the creation of digital bone spur removal with force feedback, the research on scaphoid bone fracture through digital reduction, the construction of hepatic duct and simulation of partial or irregular hepatectomy, the simulation of 3D reconstruction and the surgical method of supplying blood to anterolateral thigh flap and other simulations, digital comments before and after facial plastic surgeries, digital pre-surgery design for pelvis joint immobilization, the compiling of software enabling the contact between patients and doctors and so forth.


1. The 2nd Prize of the National S&T Progress Awards in 5 areas:

1) Study on microsurgical anatomy (1985) with Liu Muzhi, Sun Bo, Xu Dachuan, Tao Yongsong

2) Study on severe atlantoaxial dislocation and consolidation and tetraplegia (1990) with Liu Jingfa, Su bin, Sun Bo

3) Study and Application of surgical pipe cast specimen making (2000) with Li Zhonghua, Wang Xinghai, Shi Jin, Hong Huiwen, Hu Yaomin, Liu Dayong, Yuan Lin, Ouyang Jun

4) Study on application of new repair technology for severe and special limb injury (2002) with Fei Guoxian, Hou Shuxun, Zhao Dongsheng, Li Kunde, Wu Kejian, Gu Liqiang, Li Zhonghua

5) Development of SVNF (2003) with Gao Jianhua, Situ Pu, Chen Bohua, Jiang Ping, Xiao Nengkan, Xiong Minggen, Xiao Tianyou, Xu Dachuan, Hu Zhiqi

2. Two Social Fund Awards:

1) The Prize for Scientific and Technological Progress of Ho Leung Ho Lee Foundation in 1996

2) Ke Lin Medical Award in 1998

3. The 1st Prize for Scientific and Technological Progress of State Education Commission in 1993 for the Physique Investigation of Chinese people, the Physique Investigation Committee of CSAS(Prof. Zhong as editorial board member)

4. In 2000 with Fei Guoxian, Wu Kejian, Hou Shuxun, Gu Liqiang, Zhao Dongsheng, Li Kunde, Wang Qian, Li Zhonghua

5. The 1st award for the Military Medical Achievement in two areas:

1) Study on application of new repair technology for severe lower extremity injury(2000) with Fei Guoxian, Wu Kejian, Hou Shuxun, Gu Liqiang, Zhao Dongsheng, Li Kunde, Wang Qian, Li Zhonghua

2) A series of studies on the basis and clinical repair of severe urethra defect (2002) with Yu Lixin, Chen Linfeng, Su Zexuan, He Huixu, Xu Dachuan

6. The Second Prize for the National Outstanding books in 1992 for the Clinical Anatomy series (Prof. Zhong as he chief editor)

7. The 2nd Award for Military Scientific and Technological Progress

16 academic monographs:

1. Liu Zhengjin, Zhong Shizhen. Anatomy Technology. The Third Military Medical University 1979

2. Zhong Shizhen. Microsurgical Anatomy. Beijing: People’s Medical Publishing House 1985 (printed for the second time in 1987)

3. Zhong Shizhen, Han Yongjian, Yan Wenjun. Microsurgical Anatomy. Lancaster/Boston: MTP Press Limited 1985

4. Zhang Nianjia, Zhong Shizhen. Abdominal Vascular Anatomy. Beijing: Science Press 1987

5. Zhong Shizhen as chief editor, Zhang Weilong, Zhong Shizhen as volume editors. Clinical Anatomy-Head & Neck Volume. Beijing: People’s Medical Publishing House 1988

6. Zhong Shizhen as chief editor, Liu Zhenjin, Chen Eryu as volume editors. Clinical Anatomy-Thorax Volume. Beijing: People’s Medical Publishing House 1989

7. Zhong Shizhen as chief editor, Wang Qihua, Sun Bo as volume editors. Clinical Anatomy-Extremities Volume. Beijing: People’s Medical Publishing House 1991

8. Zhong Shizhen, Kong Jiming, Sun Bo. Clinical Microsurgical Anatomy. Hong Kong: Med Info Publishing Company 1991

9. Zhong Shizhen as chief editor, Han Yongjian, Liu Muzhi as volume editors. Clinical Anatomy-Abdomen & Pelvis Volume. Beijing: People’s Medical Publishing House 1992

10. Zhong Shizhen as chief editor, Xu Dachuan as deputy editor. Basis of Microsurgical Anatomy. Beijing: Science Press 1995

11. Zhong Shizhen as chief editor, Xu Dachuan as deputy editor. Clinically Oriented Anatomy. Beijing: People’s Military Medical Press 1998

12. Zhong Shizhen, Zhang Nianjia. Aesthetically Oriented Anatomy. JUACP 1999

13. Fei Guoxian, Wang Penghuan, Zhong Shizhen. Micro Hand Surgery. Shandong Science& Technology Press 1999

14. Wu Jiepin as honorary chief editor, Zhong Shizhen as chief editor. Modern Clinical Anatomy Series (8 Volumes). Shandong Science& Technology Press

15. Zhong Shizhen as chief editor, Zhang Zhenhong as deputy editor. To Know Ourselves. Beijing Education Publishing House 2002.

16. Zhong Shizhen as chief editor, Xu Dachuan as deputy editor. Systematic Anatomy. Higher Education Press 2003

17. Zhong Shizhen, Chen Yizhang, Wang Zhenguo, Fan Daiming. Medical Students Review Guide Books. People’s Military Medical Press 2004

18. Zhong Shizhen as honorary editor. Anatomic Atlas of Microsurgery-Limb Tissue Flap Volume. People’s Medical Publishing House 2004

19. Zhong Shizhen as editor in chief. Clinical Anatomic Atlas. Shandong Science & Technology Press 2005


Sourthern Medical University

Hunan University of Chinese Medicine

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