I studied immuno-metabolism in Bensinger’s lab during my Ph.D. years. We asked how the lipidome of a macrophage is reprogrammed/perturbed by distinct immune signals/pathological challenges and what is the biological impact of this reprogramming.
Any exciting research project or any highlights in your lab?
Lipids are an essential component of the cell membrane. While the synthesis of certain lipids is critical for maintaining the membrane’s size, this process can also regulate the amplitude and duration of a specific immune response. For example, the synthesis of cholesterol regulates CD8+ T cell activation (Kidani, et al. 2008), macrophage production of Type I IFNs (York, et al., 2015), and macrophage sensitivity to bacterial toxin challenge (Zhou et al., 2020). Besides, the synthesis of fatty acids regulates inflammation (Hsieh et al., 2020).
How did you decide on your focus of research?
I decided on my focus of research based on:
1) whether the question was interesting,
2) what I might be good at, and our lab was good at, and
3) what our collaborators might be good at.
What brought you to UCLA?
I went to medical school at Zhejiang University in China, which has various collaborative programs with UCLA. I came to UCLA for a 9-week clinic rotation as an observer, and that was when I got to know the MMP Ph.D. program and the exciting research going on at UCLA. Besides, weather and friends are important factors to consider for this long Ph.D. journey.
Do you have a personal motto?
Not finalized yet. But I find this ancient Chinese saying inspiring “行百里者半九十”, which means “most people only complete half of their journey.”
Do you have any hobbies outside of the lab?
Movies and museums. Movies are an incredible invention by Homo sapiens, which largely enriches ways of story-telling. And a good museum is like a series of related movies you can be in. LA has more than 100 museums, and I don’t think I need to emphasize the relationship between LA and movies.