Photo for Feedback from the 2017 JRI

The 2017 JRI Summer Research Program included 15 UCLA students

Feedback from the 2017 JRI Summer Research Program at PKU

Fifteen UCLA undergraduate and graduate students from across the sciences researched at Peking University (PKU) in Beijing, China this summer. Learn about their experiences here.

 Dennis Dea, third year Human Biology & Society major

Analyzing the Effectiveness of Cardiac Rehabilitation with Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing

Overall my experience in China has been everything I have wanted it to be. As a Chinese American, I wanted to visit China and immerse myself in my own culture while doing worthwhile work. My future career goals involve working with predominately Chinese immigrants in my hometown, and this experience has given me good exposure to the language and culture of this specific population. I think bonding with the cohort and struggling together living in a foreign country has been the most rewarding experience, and I will always look back very fondly on the trip.

Jenny Ding, second year Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics major

Manipulating prostate tumor microenvironment through PI3K pathway blockade and immune checkpoint inhibition

The UCLA PKU JRI program is really an an eye opening opportunity to not only expand one's academic knowledge but also widen one's worldview through reconnecting myself with Chinese culture. The weeks spent in PKU introduced me to a new topic of research, and this experience has kindled my desire to delve deeper into the cancer field which inspires me to continue my study at UCLA.

Terrence Lee, Forth year Ecology, Behavior and Evolution

Plasmid construction and exploration of the CagA gene in Helicobacter pylori

This program really put things in perspective for me: as a foreign student, I was just as much of a learning experience for my Chinese peers as they were for me. I learned about China’s political climate, extensive history, and its relationship to the Western world. As a Chinese American myself, a lot of my cultural heritage began to unravel and make more sense during this trip.

Yan Lin, Environmental Health Sciences PhD Candidate

Evaluating the Effects of Secondhand Smoke (SHS) on Inflammation and Endothelial Dysfunction

In the past three years, all my summers were spent in this program in Beijing studying the health effects of air pollution. This program is always wonderful and great. It enriches your cultural experience, strengthens your academic skills, and meanwhile brings a lot of fun to your life with fantastic food and entertainment.

Jesus Lopez Baltazar, third year Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering major

Seeded-Growth Synthesis and Characterization of Hybrid Au-Fe3O4 Heterostructured Nanoparticles

I have participated in several summer research programs, but none of them has been as special as the UCLA-PKU JRI SRP. What made it so special was the combination of exciting research projects and knowledge paired with a unique cultural experience in a foreign country. From the day I arrived, all members of the group and PI were extremely attentive and caring. It was an unforgettable, unique and enriching experience that translated into a personal expanded world view and a stronger desire to know what else is out there in the world.

Tarokh Mollafarajzadeh, third year Psychobiology major

AQP1 and EAAT2 Expression and Localization in Neural Stem Cells

My experience in China was a great way for me to get a better understanding of similarities between cultures and diversity summersied in wonderful people, hard work, and good times.

Spencer Ng, fourth year Biology major

Visual Training with Asymmetrical Visual Input: Clinical Study Utilizing a Binocular Approach with Virtual Reality for Amblyopia Therapy

This program was amazing, and I am grateful beyond words for being given the opportunity to be sponsored to conduct this research abroad. Living in China has been a (mostly) positive experience for me, having my lab and my cohort alongside me has eased my foreigner experience.

Stevyndennis (Dennis) Onggo, third year Psychobiology major

Tbet Expression is Associated with Immune Characteristic in Autoimmune Hepatitis Patients

Even though China had its fair share of ups and downs it still provided me with an unforgettable experience. I have met new lifelong friends, picked up new and exciting hobbies, and master the art of angles in photography. My journey through China was also littered with trying new foods, whether they were in the revolving restaurant tower of CCTV to street food that can be found at every corner.


Sara Rashidi, fourth year Psychobiology major

DREAM Expression in Primary Culture of Astrocytes

I have been always eager for research. The JRI program provided me with a unique opportunity to comprehensively conduct global research methodology in the area of my interest; while simultaneously allowing me to gain valuable knowledge of the rich culture of China. I am truly grateful for being given this amazing honor of working with the most diligent and passionate lab mates and constantly learning from their diverse viewpoints in science as well as life-style. This is a remarkable program for anyone who is considering a future in academics and/or research as it allows the individuals from different backgrounds and levels of experiences to work together and learn from one another.

Rossana Rico, first year bioengineering major

Expression of SNF2L, SNF2H, BRAHMA, and BRG1 in BMSCs after application of nsPEFs

It has been an unforgettable summer and the experience and knowledge I have gained will remain unparalleled. I was constantly impressed with the rich culture China had to offer. From modern Shanghai to ancient Beijing, we got to see and learn so much about this country.

Jeffrey Wang, second year Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology

Investigating the link between Kruppel-like factor 2 (KLF2) and matrix metalloproteinase 2 and 9 (MMP2/9) in promoting human prostate carcinoma.

I have sincerely enjoyed working in my lab! My graduate student mentor, Binshuai, is honestly one of the most patient and kind-hearted individuals I have ever met. Because the research lab consisted of just me, him, and our PI, we were all fairly close and spoke with each other all the time. working in such close proximity allowed me to establish a strong bond and friendship with my mentor. We ate lunch at the hospital canteen together every single day, and when we were waiting for an experiment to finish or concluded work early that day, we would venture around Beijing on his electric scooter, going to places like 798 Art District and the National Museum.

Yao Yang, Materials Engineering PhD Candidate

Studies of Nanostructured Materials with Aberration-Corrected STEM

It was a very good experience for me to have summer program in PKU, which is totally different life style from UCLA. And at PKU I just like went back to cherished undergraduate life.

Celina Yang, fourth year Psychobiology major

Transfection of Mutant Neuroglobin to Astrocyte Cell Cultures of ICR Mice

I really enjoyed meeting and listening to all my mentors and lab mates converse about the Chinese culture as well as research topics. On weekends, we went my professor’s apartment to cook dinner and lunch. I’m grateful to JRI for this wonderful opportunity to learn the cultural aspect of China as well as further expand my knowledge of research techniques. I truly had a wonderful time in China!

Gestina Yassa, second year Computational and Systems Biology major

Determination of Optical Coefficients of Tissue Phantoms

I learned a lot, but the biggest thing I gained from the program was making Chinese friends who were my age. They showed me the social side of China that I had never seen before in the media, which likes to portray China as a strict educational factory.

Zhenchen Zhang, second year Electrical Engineering major

Indoor 3D Mapping and Navigation System Using Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM)

My experience of working in my lab started with my PI giving me a challenge on researching a topic which none of the members in the lab had knowledge of. Working on a project based on this topic was a difficult but highly rewarding experience which taught me how to explore a new technical field and apply the knowledge into application with limited time and resources. Being able to come back from UCLA as an exchange student has given me exposure to Chinese culture from different points of view and it gave me a chance to compare the researching environment in US and in China. As a native Chinese it is a very special trip that I will always remember.