Future biomedical scientist admitted to prestigious Oxford graduate programme

Michelle Leung

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An outstanding student from City University of Hong Kong (CityU) will be heading to the University of Oxford to prepare for a research career in biomedical science after successfully competing for scholarship admission to a graduate programme.

Jamie Zhan Bao, final year student of the Department of Biology and Chemistry, is one of only five students accepted into the four-year

graduate programme in Chromosome and Developmental Biology: the Cell in Heredity and Development, which leads to a PhD degree at the University of Oxford. The only Chinese student admitted to the programme after a rigorous selection process, she has also been offered four years' of full studentship and scholarship, starting from October.

Jamie said the graduate programme, which provides training in a wide range of biochemical, genetic and cell biology approaches, was specifically tailored for research into chromosome and developmental biology. It represented an ideal opportunity to improve human well-being through biomedical research.

“My aspirations to pursue biology started in high school when I participated in a scientific investigation of a heavily arsenic-contaminated town in China and saw the decrepitude that pollution had brought upon the helpless local residents,” said Jamie. “This doleful sight imparted in me a strong sense of responsibility and reaffirmed my goal to help mankind through research.”

Jamie plans to focus on cancer research because it is one of the most direct ways to achieve this goal. Among the issues she proposes to explore through genetic manipulation techniques is the determination of the underlying mechanism of HIV infection.

Jamie came to CityU from Beijing to start her undergraduate study, where she received a wealth of hands-on training and access to extracurricular programmes. She attributes her experience at CityU as a key to her success.

“Admission to Oxford University is certainly an honour, but more importantly I want to stress that without the strict but caring training I received or the internship and exchange opportunities afforded by CityU, none of this would have been possible. I am proud of having been a student here and am sincerely grateful to all the people who have helped along the way,” said Jamie.

Jamie is also very active in internship and cultural exchange activities, through which she has gained a global perspective and advanced intercultural communication skills. Besides the compulsory lab classes, she grasped the opportunity offered by the Department of Biology and Chemistry to work with PhD students, resulting in a year of volunteer lab work and the chance to travel to Japan for an internship. She also secured two internships last summer at Columbia University and the Genome Institute of Singapore. These are only a few examples from the 72 cities and 14 countries in which she has studied, worked or visited.

“In the future, I would love to utilise my specialist skills and enthusiasm for intercultural communication to forge a career at the World Health Organisation in pursuit of an environment that better supports the bioscience and medical assistance system.”

The graduate programme is offered in conjunction with The Wellcome Trust, the UK’s largest non-governmental source of funds for biomedical research.


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