Yu Jie, a Ph.D. student in Ophthalmology admitted in the year 2018 (Zhiyuan Honors Program)
In my opinion, the word “doctor” bears significant value and meaning. As a doctor, one should have a strong sense of responsibility, always maintaining a high standard for themselves and an unwavering dedication. They should provide their patients with care and warmth that reflects both their compassion and medical expertise. They should also be committed to learning and exploring the forefront of disease mechanisms and treatment methods.
Explore the Depths of Scientific Knowledge Step by Step
The eyes are often described as the windows to the soul, and they are the most important sensory organs for humans. Approximately 80% ofour knowledge and memories are acquired through our eyes. Eye diseases can have a profound impact on a patient’s quality of life. From the very beginning of my medical studies, I had a deep curiosity for the field of ophthalmology. This curiosity ultimately led me to choose ophthalmology as my specialization, and I had the privilege of learning from Academician Fan Xianqun, a renowned expert in the field in China.
During my doctoral studies, I developed a deeper understanding of eye diseases. Among them, ophthalmic tumors stand out as they can not only lead to blindness and disability but can also be life-threatening. Uveal melanoma, in particular, is the most common primary intraocular malignancy in adults and among the most aggressive eye tumors. It responds poorly to chemotherapy, lacks effective targeted treatment options, and is prone to metastasis and recurrence, posing grave risks to patients’ vision and life. Under the guidance of my teachers and senior students in the lab, we embarked on a research journey to unravel the mechanisms behind this tumor’s development and to identify its therapeutic targets.
After continuous experimentation and exploration, our team has uncovered the oncogenic role of histone lactylation in uveal melanoma. We have also clarified the regulatory mechanism between histone lactylation and m6A RNA methylation. These findings were published in the prestigious international journalGenome Biology, with me as the lead author. Our experiments have also revealed the distribution patterns and tumorigenic roles of PD-L1, an important immunosuppressive molecule, in uveal melanoma. We have also proposed potential strategies to sensitize uveal melanoma to immunotherapy. These findings were featured in another renowned international journalCell Discovery, with me as the lead author. Besides, thanks to the attentive guidance of my mentor, the mentorship of my senior peers in the lab in the early stages, and the participation of junior peers in the later stages, I have had the privilege of publishing over 10 SCI papers as the lead or co-lead author in esteemed journals likeGenome Biology,Cell Discovery,Nucleic Acids Research, andAdvanced Science. These achievements have enabled me to win the national scholarship, secure the first prize in the Shanghai Jiao Tong University Doctoral Student Academic Forum “Boxue Zhiyuan” (Erudition Leading to Excellence), as well as earn titles such as an “Outstanding CPC Member” of Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine (SJTUSM) and an “Excellent Graduate in Shanghai”.
Broaden Academic Horizons Through Overseas Training
As a direct-entry Ph.D. student under the Zhiyuan Honors Program, I went to Duke University School of Medicine in the United States in December 2022 for joint Ph.D. training to further enhance my research capabilities. In the laboratory there, everyone was fully devoted to scientific research. At Duke, our mentors organized a team meeting and had a one-on-one discussion with each student every week, which means that we reported on our research projects to our mentors twice a week. The mentors would meticulously go through the details of my research and offer me guidance. Furthermore, Academic exchanges on scientific research are highly frequent in the U.S. The school invited experts from other universities to give academic talks every two weeks, and students took turns each month to share their research progress. All of these experiences have helped me to broaden my mind.
I have also seized the opportunity of studying in the U.S. to participate in the 2023 Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), where I listened to presentations by many prominent experts. In conclusion, the experience in the U.S. has significantly expanded my horizons and helped me gain invaluable insights.
Set a Positive Example by Embracing Kindness and Virtues
My mentor, Academician Fan Xianqun, shared a message with the graduates at last year’s commencement ceremony, “Kindness is the foundation of life, an emotion that springs from the depths of our souls. Keeping a kind heart is like having a guiding light, which dispels the darkness, illuminates the path for ourselves and others, and brings warmth. It is through kindness that we can navigate our life’s journey with resilience and purpose.” Guided by my mentor’s words and actions, I actively engage in community services in both my personal and professional life, always ready to lend a helping hand.
Furthermore, I have played an active role in organizing and participating in various volunteer activities, such as providing assistance at the Zhongshan Park metro station as part of the “Smile Guide” volunteer program, and participating in the “Cloud Companionship during the COVID-19” program, offering remote assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through each small act of kindness, I have experienced the joy that volunteer work brings. Looking ahead, I will seize every opportunity in my professional and daily life to provide the warmest, the most sincere, and the most dedicated services.
The key to success lies in persistence, not in haste. Going forward, I will adopt a meticulous approach to make steady and enduring progress in my thoughts, studies and work, and dedicate myself to both clinical work and scientific research. With “Serve the country, Serve the people” as my mission, I will strive to become a pillar of society and contribute to China’s healthcare sector.