Steven Huan Liang

Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital
Assistant Professor
Tianjin, China
Boston, United States of America
Methodology for natural product synthesis: sordarin, himandrine and lepadiformine

What are your main responsibilities or activities in your current position?

As an Assistant Professor, my responsibility involves the following: mentoring graduate students and postdoctoral fellows within Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, performing translational research in the topics including novel radiochemistry labeling and PET biomarker development, host seminars and give public presentations, publish research articles, file patent applications, participate in academic research meetings, and volunteer in committee service.

How does your current work relate to your graduate degree?

My PhD study focused on the basic chemical research on chemical bond formation and its application to synthesis of bioactive natural products. The comprehensive training during my PhD at UBC enabled me to invent and develop new translational research tools and imaging probes in my current work and carry out molecular imaging studies that facilitates disease diagnosis and drug discovery. 

What do you like and what do you find challenging about your current position?

New ideas, approaches, and challenges that can shift current research paradigms

Is your current career path as you originally intended?

Yes. Being an academic scientist who can perform both basic and translational research was always my goal.

What motivated you to pursue graduate work at UBC?

My PhD advisor, Prof. Marco Ciufolini is a great mentor for my career. His stellar research experience in chemistry and mentoring skills motivated me to pursue my PhD at UBC.

What did you enjoy the most about your time as a graduate student at UBC?

Freedom in academic research – I always had a chance to try innovative (in other words, crazy) ideas and methods in chemistry during my PhD. This unique experience and systematic training helped me to find new research directions and sharpen my vision to translation.

What key things did you do, or what attitudes or approaches did you have, that contributed to your success?

Persistence. Think big and think smart.

What is your best piece of advice for current graduate students preparing for their future careers?

Working with a good mentor in an interactive and proactive manner is the key.

What challenges did you face in your graduate degree, or in launching your career?

Effective communication with colleagues and mentors is always the best way to overcome the challenges in various situations.


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