UTHSC Hosts Second Successful Harbin Summer Research Program

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Xuemei Fan, a summer intern from Harbin Medical University in China, reported that she learned much from participating in  research at UTHSC, and would like to return. (Photo by Natalie Brewer/UTHSC)

For the second year, PhD students from Harbin Medical University in China spent time this summer in research labs at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

The UTHSC Harbin Summer Research Program brought five graduate students from China to spend a month on the Memphis campus.

“Our intent was to give them an experience here that might establish collaborations, and they might choose to do part of their research here in our program in the future,” said Donald Thomason, PhD, dean of the College of Graduate Health Sciences, which administers the program.

Dr. Thomason said the program gives the students from China the cultural experience of pursuing science in a different location, and has the potential of bringing exceptional students to UTHSC.

Xuemei Fan was one of the summer interns. She did research in the lab of Ae-Kyung Yi, PhD, professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, & Biochemistry. “I’m not good learning new equipment,” she  said. Still, the intern indicated she would like to return to UTHSC to continue research training.

Dr. Thomason praised the faculty who were mentors to the summer interns. “The mentors were fantastic,” he said. “They really helped the students along and enjoyed having them here. Each one of them said, ‘I would love to have my student back.’ ”

The mentors were: Gustavo Miranda-Carboni, PhD; AE-Kyung Yi, PhD; Ramesh Narayanan, PhD, MBA; Ansley Stanfill, PhD, RN; and Athena Davenport, PhD.

To conclude their time at UTHSC, the interns presented their research to faculty, and by video, to officials of Harbin Medical University.

“The program is to expand UTHSC’s global reach and global recognition and to form partnerships with other universities,” said Elizabeth Fitzpatrick, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, & Biochemistry and director of the Integrated Biomedical Science program in the College of Graduate Health Sciences. “They are excellent students and a benefit to us.”

UTHSC has four Harbin students in the second-year PhD program. They were not part of the summer intern program, however, one student from last year’s summer program is joining the college’s cancer research track.

Dr. Thomason said the summer program will continue. “Every year we get a little bit better at it,” he said.