Zichun Xiao, MS ’21

Jian Feng and Zichun Xiao.

Zichun Xiao, right, was mentored by Jian Feng, PhD, while she was in the master’s program in neuroscience at the Jacobs School.

Student Finds Study of the Brain Fascinating

Zichun Xiao, originally from Tianjin, China, earned an undergraduate degree in biomedical sciences and a master’s degree in neuroscience from the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

As an undergraduate student, she took many human health-related courses and found that she was very interested in neuroscience.

“I think the brain is the most critical and magical organ in our body,” she says. “It is involved in regulating human emotions, actions and even personality.”

What other factors prompted you to enter the neuroscience program?

Jian Feng, PhD, was one of the instructors in the human physiology course and I was deeply affected by his teaching style because it was so different from the others. I was always inspired after listening to him.

He is the most excellent mentor I have ever seen. I am impressed by his deep understanding of academia, disciplined work habits and passion for scientific research.

Whenever I encountered challenges, he calmly assessed and critically examined the specifics of the experiment, and together we tried to discover what obstacles may have developed. His patient guidance and teaching instilled a deep sense of confidence in me.

Dr. Feng also provided unselfish care and encouraged me to develop my future career plans through insights from his personal life experiences.

What are the main areas of your research?

In layman’s terms, my research is trying to generate a human-specific model to investigate the disease onset mechanism of Alzheimer’s disease.

This human-specific model is produced from human induced pluripotent stem cells.

What are your career goals and how has your time at the Jacobs School prepared you?

My six years at UB were the most meaningful and wonderful time of my life. I grew up a lot, made a lot of progress and gained a wealth of knowledge and friends.

I am applying to the doctoral program in neurology at Tianjin Medical University. I hope that after my doctoral studies, I will have the opportunity to return to the United States to collaborate with Dr. Feng on neuroscience-related projects.