Research Student Impressions
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View the impressions of some of our students enrolled in the PhD program:
Dr Liangshuo Hu, a PhD candidate from Xi’an Jiaotong Univeristy, undertook a 22 month research placement at the Stoor Liver Unit, Westmead Millennium Institution, The University of Sydney in 20102012
Research Topic: The role of adiponectin in hemodynamic changes of portal hypertension and pathogenesis of liver cirrhosis
It was like a dream for the last 22 months. Working here, in the Stoor Liver Unit, Westmead Millennium Institution, The University of Sydney, is a really great experience for me. I told myself that this was my best decision in the last 10 years to come here.
I can easily recall the first day I arrived. I was one clinical doctor with no brain of science at that time. With kindly help from all the fellows in the unit and systematic training, I could quickly turn into character and start enjoying the lab work. People in Stoor Liver Unit are amazing, they are funny, hard-working and most importantly they are full of ideas. Talking with them is the best way of doing research I have to say, it was like sparkles coming from conversation.
At the same time, I enjoyed my holidays with my wife in Australia. It is really a beautiful country with different culture and wonderful views.
For those who plan to come in the future I just want to say, enjoy the time and this experience may change all your life just like it changed mine.
Zhixia Dong, a PhD student from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, undertook a 2 year research replacement at Storr Liver Unit, Westmead Millenium Institute, The University of Sydney in 201011
Research Topic: The role of adiponectin in the pathogenesis of liver fiborsisis
How lucky I was to have received support from Shanghai Jiaotong Univerisity and the Storr Liver unit - I was able to study here without any financial pressure.
I spent a meaningful and colorful two years. It was amazing and fantastic. I really enjoyed it!
Also, I learned a lot in my lab, the Storr Liver Unit. Nice and friendly colleagues, advanced technologies, well-organized management and attitute to science, all of these gave me a great impression. I would like to thank all the staff and students who used to work with me together in unforgettable two years. Without your help and encourage, I can not finish my project sucessfully and spend my life colorfully.
I would like to give some suggestion to the coming students. If you have the chance to come and study in Australia, give it your best shot, then you will discover a totally different world.
Dai Lan, a PhD candidate from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, undertook a 12-month research placement at the Centenary Institute, University of Sydney in 201112
Research topic: Cross talk between insulin and SphK signaling pathways in breast cancer cell proliferation
Shanghai Jiaotong University and Sydney University provided me a great research opportunity during my PhD study period which I am very thankful for.
I studied in the Signal Transduction Lab of the Centenary Institute with Professor Xia about the role of SphK signaling in breast cancer proliferation.
I was really impressed with the cohesive collaborative nature of my research lab. The members of the lab usually have interest in learning about the intricacies of each others’ project and are willing to help with each other. Moreover, in the weekly lab meeting, Professor Xia fosters a collaborative environment where everyone can practice presentation skills, brainstorm new ideas and gain help troubleshooting research problems. Additionally, I have found his door is always open to all the students, regardless of his very busy schedule.
I enjoyed the research life in the University of Sydney, which gave me a deeper understanding of my project and allowed me to appreciate science on a whole new level.
For the coming students, I’d like to suggest: Work hard and never give up.
Research topic: The Role of Tumor Suppressor NDRG1 in Inhibiting ROCK1/pMLC Pathway Mediated Stress Fiber Formation, Cell Migration, and Metastasis in Prostate and Colorectal Cancer Cells
It is really a great opportunity and memorable experience for me in the past 12 months in the University of Sydney.
I came here as a PhD candidate attach to a joint-collaboration program supervised by Professor Des R. Richardson in Department of Pathology. The very first impression from his lab is that the staff and students are easy-going, passionate, and brilliant. This multicultural family made me feel welcomed and comfortable, which definitely helped me to fit in quickly. Furthermore, the high efficiency and fruitful investigation results also impressed me a lot. Surprisingly, Professor Richardson has a hand-on working style. He is willing to sit down and spend lots of time discussing scientific questions and editing manuscripts together with each and every of the students. I'd like to thank to all the staff and students who used to working together with me during this unforgettable period.
As refer to the university, I think the University of Sydney is a freer, broader, and much more pluralistic platform for students. This will affect the whole life of these future elites from all over the world.
Chen Zhiqiang, PhD candidate from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, undertook a 16 month placement in the Department of Pathology in 201112
Research topic: Understanding the antitumor activity and molecular mechanisms of iron chelators against colorectal cancer
It's really amazing and fantastic life for me to spend 16 months in the University of Sydney, which impressed me a lot in every aspect. That will be definitely treasure of my life time.
I came here for a joint educational program under the supervision of Prof Des Richardson. I’d like to thank all of the working staffs in the lab for their friendliness and kindness to me. Without their help, I can hardly imagine how life would be for a guy being abroad for the first time. I have finished the project successfully with a paper published on JBC which is a great journal of life science. When I look back to the months of hard working in the lab, just feel everything pays off for itself.
I’d also like to thank Ms Louise and Ms Fiona for taking care of me during my stay in Sydney. Their patience, their kindness, their hospitality and their high working efficiency gave me the best memories of Sydney Uni. And also, I will always remember the smile on the faces of amiable librarians, security bus drivers, receptionists, etc.
And also, I really enjoyed the fresh air, charming scenery, convenient public facilities and friendly communities here. Everything is amazing!
For the coming students, I’d like to suggest: just get yourself prepared, come and experience and enjoy for yourself!
The following joint publication between Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the University of Sydney resulted from Chen Zhiqiang’s placement:
Guo Qinhua PhD candidate from Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine undertook a 12-month research placement at the Bosch Institute in 201011
Research topic: Cellular Central Nervous System Responses to Encephalitis
It was a fantastic experience to research in Sydney University . Everyone was very nice and they really helped me a lot during the 13 months when I was in Australia, especially when I just arrived there and was not familiar with everything, so I felt very lucky to have such an excellent opportunity to work and study there.
My supervisor in Sydney was Professor Nicholas King who is the head of the immunopathology department. With his supervision, I have finished the subject “Cellular Central Nervous System Responses to Encephalitis” and grasped some experimental skills, such as cell culture, plaque assay, flow cytometry and other techniques.
What’s more, the rich academic and culture community of Sydney University are of great benefit to me. I can also feel different cultural and the foreign land scenery as well as the humanities, which not only extends my knowledge about science but also my personality.
I would like to tell the students who are coming: it is an excellent opportunity to research here, study hard and also enjoy your life.
Liang Zhou - PhD candidate from Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine undertook a 12-month research placement at the Kolling Institute in 201011
Research topic: Understanding innate immunology pregnancy – Its significance for pre-eclampsia.
I worked in Kolling Institute of Medical Research, under the supervision of Prof Jonathan Morris. Everyone was so nice to me from the first day!
During this year, I benefited a lot in both researching and personality. People taught me the techniques of experiments, the way to read and search papers, how to make friends and how to get the work done as a team. I was also impressed by the weekly Wednesday Seminar and biweekly Friday morning meeting at the Kolling Institute.
The international research experience will definitely be good for my career. Firstly, it broaden my horizon of different research ideas, different culture and life, the way to be friends with different people. Secondly, my English has improved in the past year by talking to people every day. Thirdly, I made a lot of friends in Sydney. I really learnt a lot from my friends and we are always talking about our research and helping each other.
For the coming students, I would like to say that you guys have a great chance to enjoy another culture and way of life. Make friends with people and take part in different activities. Enjoy the life with people instead of being alone in the lab. You will benefit a lot after the one year study.
Always look on the bright side of your life. Everyone will get trouble in work, dont worry about it. Keep in touch with the nice ladies: Louise and Fiona, they will help you at anytime!
I'd like to appreciate the hosting from Prof. Jonathan Morris, and the whole perinatal group! Thank you Louise and Fiona for your help!
Zhen Gong - PhD candidate from South-east University School of Medicine undertook a 15-month research placement at Sydney Medical School - 20102011
Research topic: Lipid signals in cancer progression and metastasis
Speaking of the previous 15-months during my stay in Australia, it's amazing and unforgettable. I have greatly enjoyed my time in Qihan's Lab at the University of Sydney. He was very supportive of my desire to strengthen my research skills, and I was given the opportunities to acquire a variety of experiences as a PhD student. Under his supervision here, I have been lucky to work closely with other colleagues and have enormously benefited from their broad knowledge and expertise. One of the best things is the collaborative and collegial spirit which always exists among the lab.
In addition to being impressed by the particular lab environment, I'm also attracted to the Australia way of education and study. For example, university or faculty often provides research students a variety of technique courses or training programmes, which in this day of specialization, are very necessary. Besides, there are all kinds of seminar series such as a weekly group or department meeting spanning the research interests of different labs. With these, students like me not only can always stay abreast of new ideas but also can put him/herself into creativity.
If there is any advice that I can give CSC students considering coming to the University of Sydney, I would like to say "take care of every minute in Australia and enjoy it"!
Gu Liying - PhD candidate from Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine undertook a 12-month research placement at Westmead Millenium Institute in 200910
Research topic: The role of ANKRD1 in cellular response to platins
The labs in Westmead hospital are all in perfect order, they have a mature training system, everyone can learn many things if they want. Each part of WMI cooperates with each other very well, the researchers in different labs are all very and help each other very often. My colleagues are all very nice, they helped me a lot and I leared so many new things in research. I'm so glad I can work with them.
I think for this one year exchange experience, I learned a lot of the "scientist mind" and not only improved my research skill, but also widen my breadth of vision, also my oral english was obviously improved. I learned a lot about research skills, and how to manage the lab, how to figure out the problem. I think for research its a process about find the problem and solving it. We always said for doing research, the most important thing is the "research mind" and in here I learned a lot about this, that will be very helpful for my research career.
In this year I went to many different part of Australia during the holiday, I met so many kind people and saw so many good views. I really like the life attitude in here, hard work and good relax, enjoy your work and your life.
The advice I can offer students coming on this program is this: develop an interesting project, draw up a detailed research proposal, try your best to prepare and have a good attitude and good luck.
Cheng Xiaobing - PhD candidate from Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine undertook a 12-month research placement at the ANZAC Research Institute in 200910
Research topic: The role of androgen action in neuroendocrine regulation of ovulation
I feel deeply thankful for the exchange model between Shanghai Jiaotong University and Sydney University. This one-year visiting study experience, embedded in my PhD study period, has made it more colorful. I will never forget the experience.
I studied in the Andrology lab of the ANZAC Research Institute with Professor David Handelsman and Dr Kirsty Walters about the androgen receptor function in female reproduction.
I think the major academic achievement of my one-year visiting study is that I have learned more scientific thinking and basic theory on animal research in my area, and I have got the related experimental technology and rules and the methods of data analysis. I finished a whole project and one paper submitting on the way. Additionally, I was lucky to have a chance to join the Endocrine Society of Australia annual conference and presented a poster. This year, we had lots of research seminars and I have made a presentation, which were all very important for me, special medical English improvement, and made lots of contacts with scientists and researchers from aboard. They gave me more wide academic prospects and more evocation on my future academic research.
Both of life and research attitudes are very different between two countries due to the different cultures. That could help you to learn how to live better by yourself. I could hardly express my gratitude to my Australian supervisors Prof. David and Dr. Kirsty and my Chinese supervisor Prof. Guang Ning for their supports and help.
For those who plan to come in the future I just want to say, if you wish to have very different experiences in your life, just get ready and come!
Xiang Xiaogang - PhD candidate from Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine undertook a 12-month research placement in the Discipline of Pathology in 200910
Research topic: The role of Treg and its relation to chemokine in chronic hepatitis B patients
How time flies! The return date is coming soon after one-year's study, though I am still immersing in the joy of initiating research in the University of Sydney.
Under the supervision by Professors Bob Bao and Nicholas King, I have started the research project on “The roles of IL-22 and its related cytokines in chronic hepatitis B patients”. Prof. Bao has provided me a relatively relaxed environment with other team members in the research group to perform the experiments. He always instructs me to think intensively and broadly before experiments and to complete the experiments accurately and efficiently. We usually have lots of discussion before and after each step. All the members here are very friendly, and willing to provide assistance when I needed, and my experiment goes smoothly. In addition to the members of our lab, I also met several well established researchers in the University. The helpful discussion with them gave me lots of inspirations.
The one-year study in Sydney Medical School provides me an opportunity to further develop new concept of research. I have learnt the way of generating novel ideas or hypotheses based on the literature, as well as the art of utilizing available techniques to prove the hypotheses step by step. Moreover, I have improved my oral English and the skills of scientific writing. I like the Australia way of life. Enjoy work, enjoy life. Everybody is very happy. The 12-month experience in Sydney will have influence on my whole life.
To fellow students who is considering to study in the University of Sydney, the advice is that you have made the right decision, and a good choice. One year is very short, but the experience in the University of Sydney will enrich your life.
The following joint publications between Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the University of Sydney resulted from Xiang Xiaogang’s placement:
Gong Bangdong, Xie Qing, Xiang Xiaogang, Wang Lin, Zhao Gangde, An Fangmei, Wang Hui, Lin Lanyi, Yu Hong, Bao Shisan, Marginal effect of RBV and IFNβ on miRNA profile in the HCV subgenomic replicon-bearing Huh7 cells, in Int J Mol Med, 25, 853-859.
Xiang, X., Gui, H., King, N. J., Cole, L., Wang, H., Xie, Q., et al. (2011). IL-22 and non-ELR-CXC chemokine expression in chronic hepatitis B virus-infected liver. Immunology and Cell Biology, 1-9.
Zhang Hanwen - PhD candidate from Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine undertook a 12-month research placement at the Kolling Institute in 2009–10
Research topic: The regulation of ovarian cancer cell function by GPCR-mediated transactivation of the EGF receptor
Everything I have been through was like it just happened yesterday. It made a big difference to my life. Thanks to Shanghai Jiao Tong University and my lab in Sydney for giving me the great opportunity to have one year of training in Sydney, Australia.
I was fully impressed from the first day till the last day of my leaving. The first thing was the professionalism of the Sydney hosts. Everyone is not only very good at science and doing experiments, but also know a lot of things beyond science. They see science as an art and they are the artists designing it. What also inspired me is my mind has been opened more and I am learning more. Also, their passion - even if they did not have any good results that make a big effect , they are persistent. It reminds of Mr Church who said, “never say die”. In addition, the energy and confidence of the people in the Sydney made me consider what was missing in me. In a word, they helped me with a lot of things, gave me advice when I stuck in trouble, accompanied me when I felt alone, etc. I did learn many things.
It is not easy to find the right words to express my appreciation and gratefulness. If not for this one year experience, I would not be living life to the fullest. If not the blocks I have been through, I would not be so brave and confident. The experience has ignited my inspiration and dreams, which I will fight for and which brings the best parts out of me.
To those of you who are considering a research placement in Australia, come, enjoy your time with these great scientists and keep your dreams alive.
Li Na - PhD candidate from Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine undertook a 6-month research placement at the Kolling Research Institute in 20089
Research topic: The genetics of phaeochromocytoma
I worked in the Kolling Institute of Medical Research, under the supervision of Bruce Robinson and Dindy Benn. I like the people there, they are all very kind and patient and working seriously. The most impressing thing is their efficiency they get more done in less time. I was impressed by one word ‘slowly but steady’ said by someone in the lab to describe his work progress. Another thing is their attitude to the publication. Publications are not just for their own purpose, the researchers are really interested in the research. I will keep in touch with Dindy and other researchers in the lab and discuss the research, for I believe in discussion can open our mind and make inspiration.
I attended weekly seminar and listened a lot of top researchers' topics and I have learned how they do research and how to solve problems. The discussion in the seminar can spark ideas and creative Inspiration. Working and living overseas has enriched my knowledge, opened new horizon and of course improved my English.
6 months study and living life in Sydney is unforgettable. Living in Sydney is amazing. I was impressed by the fantastic beach-Bondi Beach, Manly Beach, Watson Bay and so on, fresh air, pure and blue sky besides harmonious ecological environment. Every day you can enjoy all of these things. Imaging you lying on the beach, sunbathing with seagulls flying and singing around you, listening to the sound of waves…what a romantic and pleasant thing!
My advice to others undertaking a research placement in Australia is this: remember the most important thing is not the result but the progress, and, it is worth going to Sydney for the international research.
Shao Xinyu, a PhD candidate from Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine undertook a 12-month research placement at the ANZAC Research Institute in 2008-9.
Research topic: The role of glucocorticoids on the Wnt/β-catenin signaling in mesenchymal progenitorcell lineage commitment
"My one-year research placement in Sydney opened new horizons for me, teaching me the real meaning of science - the curiosity for the unknown and well-designed plans.
However, scientific research is not all hard work, at least not completely. In Sydney I met a lot of interesting people whose relaxed altitude towards work influenced me. The seminars held each week was the place where ideas sparked during discussion - it was not all about boring experiment results. People were always trying to help each other to refine their research designs and improve the writing of the thesis.
I took part in a research project on osteoblast differentiation which gave new hints to our understanding of the bone. The results are exciting and promising and we are currently composing the thesis and trying to add more data to make a complete story. I think I will keep a close contact with ANZAC both personally and academically.
As to practicalities, the ANZAC Research Institute provides very cheap accommodation which is only 200 meters away fro the labs, so you can save a lot of time and on daily travel and, you can get everything needed in Rhodes shopping center nearby."
The following joint publication between Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the University of Sydney resulted from Shao Xinyu’s placement:
Zheng Zhong, a PhD candidate from Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine undertook a 12-month research placement in the Discipline of Medicine, Sydney Medical School in 2008-9.
Research topic: The interaction of insulin, cPLA2 and PI3K/Akt pathways - a mechanism for colon cancer formation
"I experienced an unforgettable and busy year in Qihan Dong’s Lab at the University of Sydney. Under the supervision of Associate Professor Dong and working with other colleagues in a team, I focused on the role of cytosolic phospholypase A2 in colon cancer. I not only learnt the technical skills required, but also the knowledge of how to produce a scientific hypothesis and how to prove it thoroughly.
Two things stood out for me. The first thing was that I was impressed by the efficiency of the lab in Sydney. Without working overtime, the number and quality of publication remains high. One of the reasons I think, is because they are working in a team, not only the people in one lab, but also the labs in the whole Blackburn Building and even in the whole university. The second thing that impressed me was the regular journal club and data club. I also got a lot chances to practice and improve not only my language skills, but also my presentation skills. I believe the experience in the University of Sydney will benefit me throughout my whole future as a researcher and the friends that I mad in Sydney will be a treasure, how can I lose them?
Sydney is a really charming city. There are so many beautiful and interesting places in and around the city.
If there is any advice that I should give students coming to the University of Sydney for their CSC research placement, it would be that treasure the time, learn the Australian way of research including methodology and attitude, and don’t forget to enjoy beautiful Australia."
Zhang Ning, a PhD candidate from Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine undertook a 12-month research placement at the Centenary Institute, University of Sydney in 2008-9.
Research topic: The identification of a new therapeutic target for ovarian cancer
"Sydney is embedded in my deep mind and will never fade with time. The wonderful natural landscape of blue sky, gentle wind, the clean air, the special villa, the spaciously green park as well as the marvelous styles attached to the different beaches, which definitely attracted my whole attention when I initially came to this mysterious city. Also the friendly people and nice colleagues who conveyed their hospitality and generosity to this foreign girl.
I was very honored to be granted 1-year study in Centenary Institute, where the sophisticated equipment, well-regulated management, efficient resource-sharing between various labs, regular seminar hosted by the distinguished experts in the specific field definitely created a fantastic scientific atmosphere. The institute really provided me an enjoyable opportunity to immerse myself in the journey of science-pursuit. The regular seminar for science communication with external institutions and the routine lab meetings for project discussion and internal communication developed and extended my scientific thought. The sophisticated equipment and well-regulated laboratory management make for efficient work. In addition, the international environment also provided a unique opportunity for English language development. Many thanks to my Sydney supervisor Professor Pu Xia and the nice colleagues of Centenary Institute.
My advice to those undertaking a research placement in Sydney? Congratulations, prepare yourself and cherish the research opportunity and enjoy Sydney life!"
The following joint publications between Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the University of Stydney resulted from Zhang Ning’ placement:
Ning Zhang, Yanfei Qi, Carol Wadham, Lijun Wang, Alessandra Warren, Wen Di and Pu Xia, FTY720 induces necrotic cell death and autophagy in ovarian cancer cells: A protective role of autophagy, in Autophagy, 2010 Nov;6(8):1157-67