Big cities and big science in Asia

Hi, my name’s Paul Goulding and I’m Nonlinear’s Business Development Manager for Asia, Africa and Australasia. I’ve been involved with sales to Asia and the Asia-Pacific region for many years now and have travelled to countries such as Japan, China, India, South Korea and Australia many times. This has given me the privilege of visiting (and photographing) some of the most iconic sites in the world whilst introducing the ‘omics researchers of the region to our Progenesis data analysis solutions.

Through repeated visits to the same cities over more than a decade, I’ve been able to see some pretty incredible changes and architectural developments. I have to confess here to a fascination with modern cityscapes which perhaps comes from having grown up in a typical medium-sized English town where the most impressive buildings tend to be medieval or Victorian. I therefore find the ultra-modern skylines of Hong Kong, Shanghai and Sydney to be just as fascinating as the Victorian, medieval and ancient wonders of London, Florence and Rome.

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In this post, I’d just like to share some observations of ‘omics research in three of the most exciting countries I’ve visited recently and invite you to tell me about what excites you most. I’ve also shared a few of my photographs of the iconic sights I’ve been lucky enough to visit.


First on this brief tour of Asia is Japan, a country that’s relentlessly modern, but at the same time, not necessarily new – even the bullet trains on Japan’s amazing high-speed railway are more than 40 years old now.

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While Japan has many highly-regarded research groups studying proteomics, metabolomics or both – and using Progenesis software to do it – I’ve noticed a trend towards focussed metabolomics analysis. Its prevalence in Japan is somewhat in contrast to Europe and North America and it’s great to be able to demonstrate Progenesis QI to research groups moving in this direction; maybe yours is one of those groups that could benefit from it?


Epitomised by the incredible skylines of Shanghai which have sprouted from the old city almost entirely within the past 20 years, China is a country I have probably seen change the most as I have visited over the years. Here, building projects which in any European city (including London) would be landmark, once in a decade projects, are implemented routinely, often several at a time. To illustrate this scale of development, in the picture below the 2nd tallest building in the world (towards the right) is nearing completion and at just over 2,000ft, will literally tower over the two adjacent super-tall sky-scrapers, the third tallest of which is more than 200ft taller than the Shard, the tallest building in the European Union.

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For some years, there has been a particular focus in China on developing the country’s proteomics capability with government-led, multi-institute projects. More recently, however, there’s been rapid growth in metabolomics/lipidomics research, including food and traditional Chinese medicine research.

The vast investment in scientific research happening in China, coupled with its enormous talent pool, makes it a truly exciting country in which to demonstrate the advantages of Progenesis and one to watch for major scientific developments in the years and decades to come.

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While India is, of course, famous for its many beautiful and historic sites, it’s also another country with huge investments changing both the physical and scientific landscapes. ‘Omics research in India is currently dominated by proteomics, with an established Proteomics Society hosting annual conferences with increasingly eminent international attendance.

In terms of techniques, the research in India is refreshingly open-minded, applying suitable tools for the job, meaning that everything from 2D gels to MALDI and, of course, mass spectrometry is used. It’s not all proteomics, however, and the thriving pharmaceutical industry in India is driving the growth of multi-omics research, expanding from production of generics into more of a focus on the development of biosimilars and novel pharmaceuticals.

What excites you?

So, I’ve told you some of the things that make my job so interesting, but I’d love to hear about the global trends and research that excite you. Maybe you’re involved in a project that you think is worthy of a mention here? Share it with us in this post’s comments. 🙂