What is your current career stage? With which institutions and departments are you affiliated, and what position(s) do you hold?
I consider myself a mid-career investigator. I am currently an associate professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at University of Pennsylvania.
Who were/are your past scientific mentors?
I received formal scientific training from Drs. Ed Guo, Elizabeth Shane and John Bilezikian. After I started my own lab, I received many informal mentorship from my colleagues and collaborators. I learned a lot from Drs. Lou Soslowsky, Robert Mauck, Ling Qin, Liyun Wang, and many others. Drs. Xu Cao and Di Chen also gave me invaluable advice at the beginning of my independent research career.
Can you give us a brief overview of your research?
We study how women’s musculoskeletal system responds to important physiological events, such as pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopausal transition, and develop treatment strategies to maintain women’s musculoskeletal health.
How did you get involved in orthopaedic research?
During my PhD study, I joined Dr. X. Edward Guo’s Bone Bioengineering Lab, and then fell in love with orthopaedic research!
How has the ORS supported you?
I started attending ORS annual meeting as a PhD student. During annual meetings and workshops sponsored by ORS, I met many other students, postdocs, and faculty members. Many of them became my close friends, collaborators, and mentors. This community helped me to overcome many challenges I faced throughout my professional career.
What is your favorite thing about the ORS?
A culture and community of inclusiveness that ORS nurtures.
Why do you believe diversity and inclusion is important?
As an Asian female researcher with English as my second language, I had many challenges especially during early years of my independent research career. I benefit from students and collaborators who bring different experiences and perspectives into our scientific team. This experience taught me to accept all forms of human diversity and embracing the uniqueness of every individual.
What are your career goals?
Do interesting and fun work, make new and exciting scientific discoveries, and nurture the next generation of scientists and engineers.
What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in your scientific career? (socially, professionally, culturally, scientifically, etc.)
Knowing that I know nothing when I just started my own lab and new directions of research. That experience was challenging yet rewarding.
Any personal interests or hobbies you would like to share?
I love being in nature and doing all kinds of outdoor activities.
What personal advice would you give to new investigators starting out in the field?
I wanted to share an ancient Chinese proverb “Failure is the mother of success”. The journey leading to great discoveries is a marathon, not a sprint. Be resilient, and go with your own pace.