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SIGS Graduate Story | Kong Bin: Keep going and enjoy the experience
Kong Bin is a Ph.D. graduate from Tsinghua-Berkeley Shenzhen Institute (TBSI) with a focus in biomanufacturing and tissue engineering. After graduation, she will be joining Nanjing University as a post-doctoral researcher.
Building up research experience
Kong believes that research requires accumulating experience in conducting experiments, writing papers and communicating with reviewers.
She describes the different steps of the research process. “First, settle on a research topic with your supervisor, then plan out your research. I find that making monthly or weekly plans help boost efficiency. Along the way, you will learn different experiment techniques -- keep a record of these as they will be helpful in the future. Next, sort out your results and start writing. This involves writing the main content of the paper, as well as preparing scientific illustrations and formatting. The final step is submitting the paper to a journal. Do not be discouraged if it gets rejected. Revise the paper based on feedback and submit it to different journals until it is accepted.”
Research may be tedious at times, but it brings genuine joy when there is a breakthrough. Apart from research, Kong encourages students to fully enjoy the exciting graduate student life.
Qualities of a good researcher
As a Ph.D. student, Kong had the opporutunity to study at UC Berkeley for one year. She joined Prof. Gong Xiaohua’s lab at the School of Optometry, where she learned new technologies and experiment methods. Once, she was going to perform an experiment that she had done many times in China, but a teacher working at the lab stopped her and had an undergraduate student walk her through the whole process.
She later came to realize that despite her familiarity with the experiment, she was in a new lab environment which required a different step for preparing reagents. This incident left a strong impression on Kong, and reminded her that the willingness to learn is an essential quality of a good researcher.
Maintain a healthy work-life balance
Outside of research, Kong loves playing basketball and badminton. She scored 5 shots in a free throw game at a women’s basketball match, and made it to the top 3 of women's singles in a badminton tournament. Time on the court allows her to forget about the stressful moments in research, and help her return to research afterwards with a refreshed mind.
“Keep going even when it gets hard.”
We may run into various problems in our studies, research and daily life, but in times of difficulty, Kong encourages herself with this motto to perservere and keep going.
Photos provided by interviewee
Editor: Karen Lee