Zhuobin can’t believe he’s already been here for six years. “I’ll finish in a couple of months, it doesn’t seem real.”
Challenged by needing to change labs when his initial PI left the University, Zhuobin’s research involves two different labs and projects. “My research in the first lab focused on the mechanism of genome modification in various organisms and development of novel techniques to control trans-genes integration and expression which can facilitate the production of genetic modified products in a safer way. In my new lab, we are doing basic science in how the genome protects itself from damage and how damage is repaired to maintain its integrity.” He is studying a pathway called ‘non-homologous end joining’ which can repair DNA double-stranded breaks- a type of DNA lesion that often leads to various types of cancers. In his initial lab, he had published papers, but finds himself needing to ramp up quickly in his new group. He hopes the experience of having one technique-oriented and one basic-science-oriented lab will give him an advantage in pursuing a postdoctoral fellowship in the coming months. After a solid postdoctoral start, he hopes to pursue a faculty position so he can focus on research and teaching.
Through the joint institute between Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the University of Michigan, Zhuobin had heard great things about U-M. “I wanted to attend a prestigious university like Michigan. I’d heard some fabulous reviews from peers who attended.” He was thrilled with what he found. He says, “This has been a wonderful environment and culture. My department has been a big family. U-M is a great environment for international students – one of the best. The way the city is set up, the University’s benefits, the International Center, all the friendly and helpful staff.”
When they can find the time, Zhuobin and his wife enjoy volunteering at the Humane Society, helping take care of the animals there. They fostered cats, eventually adopting two that wound their way into the couple’s hearts. They also spend some free time traveling, preferring to explore the state of Michigan. “It’s a great travel state,” he says.
He’s honored to be one of the recipients of the Mary Sue and Kenneth Coleman Graduate Fellowship this year. He shares, “It was great this summer to focus on my research and not need to teach. I could also help my department reserve funds for my lab. All of this makes a substantial difference for the end of my research. I have so much thanks to give to our former president. She is one of the most beloved presidents of the University, and I very much am proud to be a part of this big family.”