My Life as a Doctoral Student – Taking one step at a time
Chris Edwards | 09/20/2020

Our doctoral student community is a growing one. These excellent students are attracted to SUSTech by its attractive academic culture, research resources, and outstanding outdoor environment. Some students have provided a window into their lives and why they came all the way to SUSTech.

Doctoral candidate Xinyu YE (Medicine) has excelled under the mentorship of Professor Jian ZHANG. He is studying oncology and tumor metastasis after completing his undergraduate studies at Weifang Medical University and his master’s degree at Tsinghua University. He showed considerable excellence at both institutions and continued his academic excellence at SUSTech.

During his doctoral studies at SUSTech, Xinyu YE has gotten involved in several interdisciplinary competitions while showing his entrepreneurial skills at the same time. He has succeeded in competitions with colleagues at the 6th China College Students’ Internet Plus Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition and the 12th “Challenge Cup” Guangdong University Student Entrepreneurship Competition.

Xinyu YE found SUSTech during a two-month summer program at Tsinghua Shenzhen International Graduate School (TSIGS). As a neighbor to TSIGS, he noticed that SUSTech was a rapidly developing university that provided significant opportunities for him to continue his research. Following his graduation from Tsinghua, he came to SUSTech to complete his doctoral studies in 2019.

In reflecting on his scientific journey, Xinyu YE referred to the significant difference between research as an undergraduate student and a postgraduate student. He pointed out that undergraduate research focuses on developing fundamental skills, derived from textbooks and exams. Postgraduate studies are more autonomous, requiring students to understand why things are happening.

“When I first started, I thought that conducting experiments would provide the results I wanted every time. However, I have now learned that often the results do not reach my standards,” commented Xinyu YE. That was the most significant change of thinking that he underwent, which resulted in him taking a more practical approach to his scientific research. Taking his research one step at a time meant that any small achievement was a positive outcome

A blank piece of paper is how Xinyu YE described himself a few years ago. It was this period of his life that saw him rewrite his life and take an interdisciplinary approach to his studies. By solving problems with a different and unique skillset, Xinyu YE started to fill in the blank piece of paper with his new journey. It was the help of his master’s supervisor that inspired him to find this new path in his life and eventually to see the clarity in his direction.

Xinyu YE’s research is centered on immune materials, integrated with immunotherapy methodologies to deal with tumors. His field of research has exceptionally high requirements for its samples. The sampling requirements are needed for electron microscopes (EMs). “To save costs, you need to be very cautious, and it also brings an invisible pressure.” Despite his lack of knowledge in the area, he appreciated the support of his labmates. They made sure that the samples were appropriate for the EMs while adding to his knowledge of chemistry and physics.

In his free time to blow off steam, Xinye YE chooses to run. He finds it an excellent way to relieve stress and find a sense of accomplishment, mainly when experiments are not providing the results he expects.

Even with the honorary title of “Outstanding Graduate of Guangdong Province,” Xinyu YE still has some regrets when evaluating his graduate career thus far. “My biggest regret is that I missed a lot of opportunities because of my poor English.” He exclaimed. “I want to remind everyone to value language performance.”

Message for potential postgraduates at SUSTech:

After entering the laboratory, don’t blindly experiment. It would help if you first familiarized yourself with the field and lay a good foundation. It would be best if you also worked towards grander goals beyond your original aspirations in scientific research. Look towards your ultimate goal and take one step at a time towards it.

2020, 09-20
By Chris Edwards

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Translated and Adapted By SUSTech Newshub

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