03/08/2016

Interview with EURAXESS Science Slam China Winner 2014 Yanting Wang


In mid-June (14th-17th), the six winners of the EURAXESS Science Slam 2014 came together in Bonn, Germany to claim their prize: a two-day science communication training in Bonn, Germany; a trip to Brussels, Belgium to meet with European Commission officials involved in European and international research and innovation; and an individual meeting at a European research institution of their choice as a way to encourage and support their future scientific careers.

More than seven months earlier, Dr Yanting Wang (Peking University) won the EURAXESS Science Slam China. In the interview to follow, she recounts her experiences taking part in and winning the EURAXESS Science Slam and how doing so has affected her burgeoning research career.

 

Yanting, please tell us about your research background and interests

Molecular mechanisms underlying opioid addiction and looking for novel biological targets for prevention and treatment of opioid addiction.

How did you learn about the EURAXESS Science Slam competition?

I learned about it from the website of Peking University (posted by the Office of International Relations).

Why did you decide to participate?

First of all, it is very different from most scientific presentations, and the main purpose is to create fun from science. Secondly, I like making speeches, but I never tried to amuse the general public in a scientific context. This was a challenge for me, but attracted me a lot. Thirdly, I hoped that my presentation might change some people’s perspectives about science.

Please tell EURAXESS Links Newsletter readers about the live presentation that you made.

The topic of my live presentation is “A story about addiction: How can rats help us?” I began with a short self-made video to attract people’s interest in addiction and let people have a general idea about what my research is. Then I told people what problem I would like to solve and how I tried to solve it. Finally, I ended my presentation with a short rap to stress the significance of this research and my expectation about new medication for prevention and treatment of addiction.

What was the message that you wanted to deliver to the audience attending the live finals?

There is a lot of fun in science and scientists can, sometimes, be very interesting.

What did you find more challenging, preparing the pre-selection video or the live presentation?

The live presentation was much more challenging.

What was your experience like as winner of the 2nd global EURAXESS Science Slam?

It was a memorable event in my post graduate career. It is still a very fresh memory for me, especially those days when my friends and I discussed every detail about the final presentation.

Would you recommend taking part in the Science Slam to other researchers? Why?

I would recommend every researcher who is truly interested in science to participate, because it is an opportunity for us to see science in a new perspective.

Are there any tips that you would like to give to prospective EURAXESS Science Slam participants?

  1. Prepare well.
  2. Speak loudly.
  3. Be passionate.
  4. Never think about winning or losing; just think about the presentation itself.

You were awarded a trip to Europe and met the other slammers from ASEAN, Brazil, India, Japan and North America. How was your training in scientific communication?

I enjoyed the science communication training and doing related excercises together with other winners from diversified backgrounds, and I learned about some skills in this field. It is very useful to me and it is also a possible career path for researches.

EURAXESS also funded your trip to visit to a European research institute of your choice. Which institute did you visit and who did you decide to meet? Why?

I visited Dr Hamid Noori at the Central Institute of Mental Health, at the University of Heidelberg. The reasons are that first of all, my interest is on addiction, and second of all, I am very interested in in-silico pharmacology, which is a new discipline allowing people to make treatment predictions without experimental efforts and to push drug repurposing to a novel level. Dr Noori is an expert in in-silico pharmacology and his research interest is also drug addiction. Therefore, I decided to visit him.

Have you had any contact with European research before?

Yes, I once participated in an international exchange programme hosted by Copenhagen University.

Would you now consider coming to Europe for either a short-term or long-term period to pursue a research career or additional studies?

Yes, I would like to.

You also had a meeting with the local EURAXESS Service Centre. What kind of information did you receive?

The meeting with the local EURAXESS service centre in Mannheim was not possible. But I met the staff of the German EURAXESS Bridgehead Organisation. I consulted with them about German classes and it seems that there are many choices for international researchers to learn German in Germany.

Do you think that being a Science Slam winner had an influence on your ability to gain an appointment at your institution of choice?

I think so.

Thank you for your time!

 

...

Yanting Wang, born in Deyang, China, just finished her PhD at Peking University. Her research focus is on the molecular mechanims underlying opioid addiction. Her team identified heat shock protein 70 as a novel biological target for behavioral sensitisation induced by a single morphine exposure in rats.

You can contact her on: phylliswang_2005@126.com