• Tu Youyou grew up in Ningbo but left for Beijing to study in a university in the 1950s.

Tu Youyou grew up in Ningbo but left for Beijing to study in a university in the 1950s. (Photo : Reuters)

The childhood home of Tu Youyou in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, has been listed as a historical site, as reported by China Daily.

Regarded now as a Nobel laureate for discovering a treatment for malaria, Tu, 85, lived in the house before she left for university in Beijing in the 1950s.

The house forms part of a complex of 37 traditional buildings that cover 2,200 square meters. The complex was transformed into a high-end art and commercial area in 2011.

Like Us on Facebook

The Ningbo government designated more than 400 sites as having historical significance on Tuesday, including Tu's childhood home, which is owned by Ningbo Real Estate Inc. Co., the contractor of the transformation project.

The childhood home was built roughly 100 years ago by Yao Yongbai, Tu's maternal grandfather who was a member of the Ningbo General Chamber of Commerce. He was also a professor at Fudan University in Shanghai.

Tu won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in October for leading her team to discover artemisinin, a traditional Chinese medicine that can be used to treat malaria.

Immediately after Tu's award was announced, tourists came to the Ningbo house to visit, especially during the National Day holiday and the Golden Week. Several parents brought their children to the house in the hopes that it would inspire them to study hard.

The city's mayor, Lu Ziyue, said during the meeting, where the decisions on Ningbo's historical sites were announced, that the city is attempting to retain its character because the "buildings everywhere are looking similar."

According to experts, commercialization is a good way to help solve a shortage of funding that will be required to preserve historical sites.