During the course of this summer I have had the pleasure to work under a man by the name of Ci Fu in the Heitman lab. Having him as a mentor has been a challenging yet gratifying experience. I have learned so much over these past weeks than I learned in the classroom my entire freshman year. I can honestly say that I have never met anyone more dedicated and passionate about the field of research then he.
Ci Fu received his undergraduate training at Tiantin University of Science and Technology in China, where he majored in biotechnology. He was eager to find out what his true interest were so he decided to explore a variety of research opportunities. He joined a fungal lab to study genetics which exposed him to the field of microbiology. He was immediately fascinated with microorganisms and from that point on knew he wanted to be a research scientist. He knew he wanted to continue his education as well as feed his passion for research; thus, he decided to attend the University of New York at Buffalo where he majored in Molecular and Cellular Biology. He then received his masters degree and shortly after, joined the Heitman lab.
When asked if he would like to choose any other career, Ci immediately confirmed that research was his only passion. In his own words he said, “I love the challenge of research, it gives me the opportunity to ask the hard questions that I would not be able to ask otherwise.” He believes that through his research he can make profound change. From my time working with him I have been able to observe how his dedication to research work ethic has influenced those around him.
If you have been in the lab as long as Ci you are bound to make mistakes; however, he ensures that you realize that everyone does too. To empathize, Ci described an embarrassing moment he once had while in the lab himself. In his earlier days of research, he accidentally knocked down a full rack of glass tubes in front of his P.I. Looking retrospectively, he realized that its okay to make mistakes because that’s what makes us human. His advice for future researchers and scientist is that they learn to recover form their mistakes. Additionally he advises that all future researchers/scientist learn to ask questions because asking questions is how true and interesting research begins.
I have learned a lot from Ci with my time in the Heitman lab, and I am excited to see what else I gain from this experience. He has been an excellent mentor and it was a very interesting experience getting to know a little more about his background.