Connecting online to keep research going

"Although the return to school is postponed, the pace of scientific research should not stop,” said Assistant Prof. Su Ping during an online meeting with the Ma&Su research group in the Division of Advanced Manufacturing. During this time, Prof. Su has been maintaining frequent communication and co-writing papers with her students online. After discussion, the group decided to purchase a cloud server to meet their computing needs, and also exchanged tips on accessing scientific literature platforms.

Despite students’ delayed return to campus, research groups at Tsinghua Shenzhen International Graduate School (SIGS) have been making full use of online platforms to commence the semester’s work in research, tutoring and thesis advising.

Zhang Sheng’s research group, Division of Information Science and Technology

“Nothing can stop us!” Associate Prof. Zhang Sheng encourages his research group, which has been using WeChat, email and conference meetings to continue research work.

During the epidemic outbreak, Zhang’s group quickly responded to the calls of the Shenzhen Science and Technology Innovation Commission and drew upon their strengths to carry out prevention technology research. With experience in developing image sensor chips for DNA sequencing, the group proposed a research to further sequence detection technology and to develop low-cost detection tools that target the coronavirus RNA sequence. The proposed technology is expected to rapidly detect unknown viruses that may be found in the family or community environment, and has the potential to control future outbreaks.

Jia Zhidong’s research group, Division of Energy and Environment

In their first online meeting on February 21, Prof. Jia and his research group discussed ways to perform scientific research. As research in high-voltage technology mainly relies on laboratory experiments, the inability to use lab equipment poses a challenge for their group and slows down their current research progress.?

To overcome these obstacles, most students plan to focus on literature research and simulation analysis. The group has decided to hold weekly online meetings in the future. Prof. Jia and students will prepare reports on calculation, electric field simulation and multi-field coupling simulation to familiarize themselves with simulation skills and models.

Zhao Shixi's research group, Division of Energy and Environment

On the afternoon of February 25, Associate Prof. Zhao Shixi and his research group of 14 graduate students met online after the long winter break. Prof. Zhao reminded graduating students to prepare for their thesis defense, and for first and second year students to complete their thesis drafts and literature reviews.

Learning that some of his students left experimental data and literature in the office, Prof. Zhao helped send these data to them so that they can continue research at home.

Huang Wei’s research group, Division of Social Science and Management

Prof. Huang and many students actively participated in the designing of “Anti-epidemic posters” during the winter break. Using online classrooms, Prof. Huang and Master of Fine Arts Program Manager Wen Xueyuan patiently guided students in their design.

Students designed 24 posters in three days, and their works were published on different Tsinghua SIGS online platforms. The completed pieces were diverse and innovative, with the goals of spreading positivity and support in the fight against the epidemic.

Research and regular group meetings are an important part of student life at Tsinghua. Although students might not be able to use lab equipment or conduct in-person meetings with professors, these challenges do not easily deter the Tsinghua community. By connecting online, students and faculty from all parts of China, from Qinghai to Yunnan, can continue their passion for scientific research, as well as their pursuit of knowledge.

Source: Tsinghua Shenzhen International Graduate School

Editor: Guo Lili