Welcome to Oxford, Qian!

Qian Zhang has joined the University of Oxford in October 2020 as an Early Stage Researcher. In the framework of the ArtMoMa network, Qian will dedicate 3 years working on optimization by selection of oligonucleotide-based synthetic molecular machinery, while participating in international training and network events. Read the following introduction to learn more about her:

Tell us about more your background!

My name is Qian, I am currently doing my DPhil in Prof. Turberfield’s group in the Department of Physics at the University of Oxford. I was born in 1997 in Pengan, a small town by the Jialing River in the northeast of Sichuan province, China. When I was 14, I went to a boarding high school in Mianyang, a city in north-central Sichuan, where I became interested in science. My family then moved to Chengdu, which is one of the most popular tourist destinations in China, a lot of people come there for delicious food and giant pandas. As an undergraduate, I studied Materials Science and Engineering at Zhengzhou University. After the 4-year study in this interdisciplinary field, I decided to continue to do a master’s degree. I love travelling and enjoy exploring new places and new cultures. So, I applied for master’s projects in other countries and got the opportunity to study Nanomaterials at Imperial College London. I did my MRes project in Prof. Joshua Edel’s group, which was to develop an ultrasensitive biosensing technique based on dielectrophoresis and Raman spectroscopy.

Why did you want to be a part of ArtMoMa?

ArtMoMa is a perfect training network for early-stage researchers. It provides opportunities to work with mentors who are excellent in their fields and amazing people with different academic and cultural backgrounds. The collaboration with industrial partners also helps me develop transferable skills.

What are your expectations of living and working in your host city?

I have been in Oxford for almost 2 months since late October 2020, but I haven’t explored the city well due to the pandemic. I live in accommodation provided by St. Hugh’s College which is relatively young among all the colleges of Oxford, but still, I was amazed by the photo of the house taken in the 1920s – it looked exactly the same as it is after 100 years. I quite like old things because they bring peace and calmness into the hustle and bustle of modern life. Oxford is a charming city with rich history and young students. The University of Oxford is full of opportunities and provides almost everything you need to reach your maximum potential as a researcher. I can’t wait to see what life looks like in Oxford after everything is back to normal.

What do you think will be your main challenge for you in the next three years?

Failures and frustrating experiment results are inevitable during a PhD project, and therefore, learning how to deal with them and never lose motivation is very important and challenging.