NGC Graduates

An Interview with Haichao Ji

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Haichao Ji did his PhD on activity-dependent regulation of postsynaptic PRG-1 function via calpain in the Nitsch group, at the Institute of Microscopic Anatomy and Neurobiology. He defended his thesis in August 2020 after a rehearsal with the NGC. Now, Haichao is pursuing his career in academia as a postdoc in the Center of Anatomy in Cologne. In this interview, he tells us what his life looks like now and how he sees his future.

Q: What did you do after your PhD and what was your motivation?
After my PhD, I continued as a postdoc in the same lab of my PhD study, which moved to the Center of Anatomy in Cologne. I wanted to continue working on the research topic from my PhD, which I'm very interested in, and publish my work.

Q: If you think about your time as a PhD student, would you have done anything different that could have been important for your new job?
Well, I have to say that I would have spent more time learning about the different areas of life sciences or the pharmaceutical industry. This would have given me a broader perspective to find a new job, or a field that I like more. Besides that, as a foreigner in Germany, I would have spent more time learning German. Being able to converse in German is very important for non-natives who plan to work and live in this nice country.

Q: What do you like the most about your new job as a postdoc, compared to your PhD position?
Here in Cologne, I have many new colleagues with different scientific backgrounds. We work together and complement each other and I get great input from them. I like this diversity.

Q: What do you dislike about your job?
Since my new job continues on the research topic of my PhD, it may not help much to extend my research experience.

Q: How do you see your future? What is your long-term goal?
I was a medical doctor and a qualified physician before I started my PhD. My long-term goal is to be a research physician who would be able to solve clinical problems as well as to promote the development of medical research and practice.

Written by Isabelle Arnoux; Edited by John JJ Fung. Featured Image: NGC/Design.

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