Beyond a Summer in the Lab: Jeffrey Zhong discusses his work in RNI Director, Ken Poss’s lab

Jeffrey Zhong, now as senior at Duke, has worked in Ken Poss’s lab since his freshman year.  Jeffrey work has focused on heart regeneration in both zebrafish and mice.  Jeffrey also had the opportunity to be a part of Regeneration Next’s Summer Undergrad Fellowship:

  1. How was your summer experience in Duke’s RNI/SROP joint summer research program?

It was fantastic and I loved it! The Duke SROP/RNI joint summer research program really was a great opportunity to progress as a student researcher and as an individual. The Duke SROP/RNI joint research program hosted weekly talks by various Duke faculty members in various fields of research and stages of their lives. I found it very helpful when they shared their personal experiences and paths to their current lives, and I gained invaluable insight into research as a career and life in general. The summer research program also helped me to further develop myself professionally by providing opportunities like mock interviews with Duke faculty and giving tips about what makes a good application.

Research always has its ups and downs and having a good community of students and mentors played a major role in how enjoyable the program was. Our cohort had people with various backgrounds in research, with even some having never done it before. Yet, everyone was so excited and curious about engaging in research and you could tell that this enthusiasm was contagious. I loved meeting and bonding with all these students from all different places and backgrounds. In addition, all the directors and supervisors of the program were truly interested in how we were doing and made sure to make us all feel welcome.

We also got to participate in many fun activities around Durham, like visiting the Duke gardens, going to art exhibits, and eating at all the good restaurants around downtown Durham. The most memorable of these was when we went to a Durham Bull’s game on the fourth of July and watched fireworks.

All in all, I believe that spending my summer in Duke’s SROP/RNI joint summer research program was totally worth it and I would definitely recommend taking part in it.

  1. Why did you choose to study regeneration for your undergraduate research project?

I decided to study regeneration for my undergraduate research project because it is a relatively novel and very impactful field of research. The human heart is unable to regenerate well after becoming ischemic, which is why heart attacks are so detrimental to the health of patients. To think how regeneration in zebrafish could be applied and repurposed for humans in the future for biomedical purposes piqued my interest and I’m so glad to have chosen this field of research.

  1. You graduate this year! Where’s next?

I plan on becoming a physician. What specific type of doctor is still up to question, but as of right now I’m thinking of orthopedic surgery. The training that Dr. Poss has provided me in basic science research will surely inspire me to explore the unknowns in whatever field I choose. I can envision becoming a physician scientist to perform disease related research in the future.

 

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