Expand Scientific Perspective and Outline Career Shape -Attending the 2017 EB Meeting in Chicago

May 23, 2017
The following is an article submitted by recent HCS Travel Awardee, Jianguo Wu...


SIG-night-poster-presentation-Jianguo-Wu.pngI am a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Physiology and Neurobiology, University of Connecticut. I am in professor Li Wang’s Lab. Wang Lab is a “liver lab”. Our research focuses on liver diseases. Currently, my study is to reveal the role of a metabolic gene, pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 (PDK4) in liver pathogenesis. Liver is the largest internal organ in humans, and performs the central function in metabolism, in addition to making bile, storing nutrient, detoxification.... However, liver is the one that is most likely injured because whatever you take every day inevitably goes through it to be “converted”.  Canonically, PDK4 is regarded as a protein residing in mitochondrion (an organelle that dominantly produces ATP, and also regulates apoptosis, a kind of programmed cell death form) and plays a role in controlling glucose consumption. “What is the novelty of your study? Can you challenge the dogma? That will bring your study to next level” My mentor Dr. Wang educated me. My research has expended PDK4’s function from mitochondrial to cytosolic, as well as from metabolism to hepatic apoptosis.
The abstract of my study submitted to ASIP (American Society for Investigative Pathology) has been accepted. I was selected as a recipient of the The ASIP 2017 Histochemical Society-Sponsored Trainee Travel Award. I was also invited to give an oral presentation in “Cell Injury, Autophagy, and DNA damage” session at the 2017 EB meeting.  When we got these good news, my mentor Dr. Wang said, “There are many distinguished researchers and experts in each area at the meeting, where they will present their work; go to expend your view, try to learn from other researchers about your area, and you will get more than what you expect”. It is really an honor and opportunity to me to build up myself based on the Travel Award, which will be used to defray the meeting expenses.
Indeed, in the Presidential Symposium, Dr. S.P. Monga presented the topic “Coordinated interactions between key signaling molecules lead to liver carcinogenesis”, Dr. G.K. Michalopoulos gave an extensive and in-depth understanding on liver regeneration. Dr. X.M. Yin, the ASIP Outstanding Investigator Awardee, gave an excellent lecture about why autophagy is important to liver. They all are experts! “Know the known and unknown” in a specific area is obviously important to raise a good scientific question and open a new research perspective. Have you known the knowns and unknowns? I believe this will lead me in my career development along all of my life.        
A sharp tool will make me do a better job. In the HSC symposium “Imaging Signaling In Vivo, From Cell Biology to Animal Models”, the speakers presented their work about the imaging of molecular dynamics, and the imaging of membrane remodeling and reproductive and developmental events. Their work were just marvelous. The state-of-the-art experimental instruments, techniques and analysis methods make your study more precise and convincing. Nothing is impossible, only the unexpected. Research has testified this. No matter what the question is, there are always ways to testify it. The researchers just use fantastic tools in their study, but that do make a difference.
I preferentially attended some sessions related to liver diseases, such as Liver pathology symposium, Molecular Basis of Chronic Liver Injury, etc. There are many other excellent and impressive sessions at the EB meeting. There are professors, early career scientists and trainee members. All of them have contributed to this splendid event in Chicago, where I have been benefitted. 
I have started to establish myself to be an independent researcher. I would like to be along the current research direction and continue to focus on liver study. From single gene study to multiple gene study, from understanding gene function to unraveling molecular mechanism, from phenotype in animal models to the significance in human liver diseases, from basic research to clinical translation, from independence to collaboration, all of these will drive me to move forward to shape a career in the future.     
Finally, I would like to thank Histochemical Society for offering the travel award and look forward to attending the next EB meeting!