Congratulations to Dr. Shuwen Qian!

Shuwen successfully defended her thesis a couple of weeks ago which means that she is close to receiving her actual piece of paper certifying she has completed her PhD!

Some thoughts of Shuwen on her PhD journey:

Doing a PhD IS challenging, even beyond what I had imagined five years ago when I started this journey. This road trip, which I expected to have ups and downs and go back and forth, sure was a rollercoaster. If I am honest, most of the time (for me) was more of a down and back experience. However, I was fortunate enough to find my way out of those downs and back into some ups with incredible help and support of my supervisors, other lab members, and peers. It has been such a long way that it felt quite surreal that I made it to the point where I got to defend my PhD thesis, and it didn’t even feel real yet when we were all gathered at the Phoenix for my defence celebration. I feel truly blessed for this achievement and am beyond proud of myself. I chose to stay strong, to stick through it and make things happen. There’s definitely a weight off my shoulders now and I’m feeling so free, which I wish to be in the rest of my life also: To be free, always.

It’s true that a PhD isn’t an easy journey, but it’s supposed to shape you into a better scientist. We are all incredibly proud of the scientist Shuwen has become throughout the years and we look forward to see what’s next for her!

Summer Scholars Program

The Biochemistry & Biomedical Sciences Summer Scholars Program (SSP) is a 12 week immersive research and mentorship program awarded to 9 undergraduate scholars this year for the second time since its establishment. I have had the pleasure of joining The Li lab through the SSP in May of 2023. Under the direct mentorship of Dr. Li & Jim Gu, my project focused on investigating DNAzyme activity in the cleavage of a specific RNA modification.

This experience not only allowed me to understand and support ongoing research efforts, yet also see first hand the true humanity behind all the research done in The Li lab and McMaster’s Biochemistry & Biomedical Sciences Department. As an undergraduate student now entering my second year in the Honours Biochemistry program here at McMaster, the ability to connect with other like minded undergraduate students, graduate students, post doctoral fellows, faculty members and research staff, is truly unparalleled to anything I have experienced before.

I am continuously grateful for this opportunity and the chance to connect with so many talented, kind, as well as genuine people this past summer.

~ Tegvir S. Grewal

A wonderful lab retreat – Four days of happiness and relaxation

In July, I brought students and staff of my laboratory to Blue Mountain for a lab retreat. We had 22 people join in the fun, but unfortunately 7 couldn’t make it. We spent the days making breakfast and lunch ourselves, and we visited local restaurants two evenings for dinner. The final night was Taco Night, and we prepared dinner ourselves. Arguably the best dinner of all the days.

We played games, sang songs, and did various sports activities including volleyball, tennis, basketball, golf, running, hiking, and beach volleyball. The days of the retreat were filled with joy, relaxation, singing, and friendship, and I have fully appreciated the hobbies and talents of the students outside of science. It turns out that my lab has amazing athletes, singers, organizers, cooks, storytellers, and comedians.

They can work hard and play hard, and are just an amazing group of lovely young people. Even though everyone comes from all over the world with different backgrounds, everyone has a kind and beautiful heart and a willingness to help others.

I couldn’t be more honoured and proud to have such a very happy, kind, and helpful laboratory family. This trip not only allowed me to get to know them better, but it also allowed everyone to strengthen their friendships.

Money and time well spent for a priceless memory that we’ll all carry with us. Couldn’t be happier with the current team and dynamics that we have going in our lab!

– Dr. Yingfu Li

Jiuxing’s Editor Contributions

Congratulations to Jiuxing for his work as a guide editor and advisor for several journals.

He has served as a guest editor for Sensors and Frontiers in Chemistry, Sensors for special issue “Micro/Nano Biosensors and Devices”, Frontiers in Chemistry for Research Topic “Advanced Nanomaterials for in Vitro Diagnostics” and as a topical advisory panel member of sensors.

Welcome to Giulia Core

The Li Lab welcome our newest member, Giulia Core, who will be joining us as a visiting Ph.D. student from the University of Glasgow. She will be working on molecular diagnostic technologies.