Meet Jennie Yujia Liu

Jennie Liu portrait
Date: Monday, April 1, 2019

Graduate program: Pharmacology

Undergraduate institution: The Ohio State University        

Hometown: Guangzhou, China

Why did you choose the University of Iowa to pursue your graduate degree?

When I came over to interview, I felt like the graduate programs were well organized and the course work sounded flexible and personalizable. But more importantly, the environment within the Carver College of Medicine and even other biomedical science departments is very collaborative, which in my opinion is what scientific research should be. 

What type of research are you performing?

My project looks into how changes in mitochondrial based signaling and its form play a role in neurodegeneration in diabetic peripheral neuropathy, intellectual disability as well as learning and memory.

What do you hope to do after you earn your degree?

My career goal is to stay in the frontline of helping patients by working in therapeutics development. I wish to further my training in other biomedical research fields (such as oncology or cardiovascular diseases) through post-doctoral trainings before pursuing a consultation type of career in the pharmaceutical industry. 

What is something that surprised you about the University of Iowa or your graduate program?

The program administrators really tries their best to help and to care about their students by providing not only competitive funding opportunities for conference traveling, but also social activities, catered luncheons, and other activities. You will feel like there are resources available and people who are reachable when you encounter some difficulties during your graduate training.

What is your favorite part about being a graduate student?

First, I love science and enjoy the feeling of making an impact by conducting biomedical research. One of my favorite things is being able to share my research with other scientists as well as the community. I love that our graduate program offers plenty of opportunities, including on-campus conferences and competitions, like the three-minute thesis contest.

Who is your biggest role model and why?

My biggest role model was my mentor, Dr. Kate Karelina while I was doing undergraduate research during my years at Ohio State University. She is one of the most passionate neuroscientists that is also devoted in training undergraduate students. Not only did she train me in so many technical skills necessary for doing scientific research, she also constantly reminded me about the beauty of science, even when things don’t work out the way we originally thought.

What are some of your personal interests?

I enjoy working out at the gym after work. The CRWC gym is a nice place for me to destress. I also enjoy cooking. In the summer and fall I always go to the farmer’s market in downtown Iowa City for fresh produce.

A piece of advice for incoming graduate students.

Be proactive and collaborative and remember that there are always people to help you!