CSC Student Experiences at Oxford
I really appreciate that I have got this opportunity to study in Oxford as a Dphil student in Clinical Medicine in Prof. Benedikt Kessler’s group. Before coming to Oxford, I was fortunate to get my first PhD degree in the Peking Union Medical College (PUMC) in 2018. During the last year, the Nuffield Department of Medicine (NDM) has provided us the platform of outstanding resources and cutting-edge research facilities. Aside from multiple seminars and lectures, the supportive and stimulating academic atmosphere here make me feel really enjoyable in doing scientific research in the lab. Although research is never easy, in most cases challenging and competitive, my supervisors and colleagues are always ready to help me to solve the problems, develop my ability and expand my knowledge. Living and studying in Oxford never means only lab-based work, it is also an extraordinary experience of rich history and tradition, which is waiting for us to explore in the following three years.
I have been studying in University of Oxford for almost one year now, and I feel I am having a very good time here. I learnt a lot in my first year here, which helped me lay a solid foundation in the realm of data analysis and statistical modelling. I believe in the following years I will continue to make progress. The dataset I am working on (UK Biobank) is amazing, which provides unprecedented opportunities for researchers to make significant discoveries regarding human health and diseases. The academic environment and atmosphere here are fantastic. There are many excellent and helpful workshops and lectures and my colleagues are all outstanding and passionate researchers, who are always willing to offer guidance and share ideas. What’s more, I think my supervision is extremely good. Regular meetings with my supervisor have kept me motivated and well-organised in advancing my project. Meanwhile, I also had enough freedom to explore my own interest and learn at my own pace. Overall, I am optimistic and excited about my research here, and I am always eager to learn more.
Life in Oxford is also quite enjoyable. Living in Oxford is no less convenient or comfortable than living in Beijing. Oxford is a city with rich cultural heritage and fascinating ancient building style, which really appeals to me. People here are also easy to get along with. I think it is a treasure for me to have such an experience at this age in my life.
All in all, I really think I made a wise decision to participate in this joint program of CAMS and University of Oxford. I will definitely try to make the most of my time here.
Everything in Oxford was new and fancy for me when I first arrived here. People often have excitement as well as fear in the face of tentative future, which was the case for me at that time, as I was just opening a new door both in life and in academic career. Fortunately, almost all the people I met in WIMM and in my college Lady Margaret Hall never hesitated to help when I turned to them and they helped me a lot to settle in well. Besides, a large number of seminars and courses are available every term which allows me to acquire the essential and edging knowledge and skills. Overall, I feel quite happy with the life in Oxford, and I believe I could flourish in this rich deep soils if I constantly strived to move forward.
Coming to Oxford was a hard decision in the first place. Before applying to Oxford I was fortunate enough to get a PhD degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS). Then I had the great opportunity to be in a programme supported by the Chinese Scholarship Council (CSC)-CAMS-Oxford and pursue another D.Phil in Oxford. I knew for sure I would benefit a lot from this programme from the view of gaining abilities and experience. But, at the same time, I hesitated to have an added four years of study before reaching the next step and starting a career. Now I have been living and studying in Oxford for a year, I would say that I made the right decision, and it has lived up to my expectations in every way.
It is challenging but enjoyable to be part of Oxford’s academic community. I have been studying Medical Sciences, particularly focusing on gene regulation, at the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine. My project is about how an embryonic gene (ζ-globin) is silenced in adult erythroblasts, which is fascinating and keeps me excited and motivated despite having to overcome several technical hurdles. I am very well supported by my supervisors, thesis committee and colleagues, there are also many seminars and training courses to develop my knowledge and skills. I have got to know intelligent, passionate and interesting people from all over the world, exchanging ideas with these people has always been inspiring. Another important thing I realized is that I have been able to learn the differences of a PhD programme between Oxford and CAMS along the way, this keeps me thinking critically about the education, research and academic environment, which is vital for the build-up of my future career.