Molecular and Developmental Biology Graduate Program

  • Xuzhe Zhang

    Xuzhe ZhangUndergraduate Institution: Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China

    My adventure as a medical student started with an Oath which began with “First, do NO harm”. I bore that Oath in mind and put my whole heart in learning this art of healing, and eight years later, I graduated to become a pediatrician. Immediately, I was shocked by the vast discrepancy between what we could offer and what the patients and their parents expected. Hundreds upon thousands of sick children flood the hospital every single day, and for many of them what we could do was quite limited and often was accompanied with harm. At that point, I realized that the prerequisite of doing no harm is that we do KNOW harm and this reminded me the second lesson I learned as a medical student: the cooperation between bedside and bench. As this vision became clearer, my desire for more research capacity became irresistible. As my goal was to gain research training in projects that are clinically relevant and as most if not all of childhood diseases can be traced back to early development, I started my program searching by looking for those inside an outstanding children’s hospital and with an emphasis on the study of mechanisms underlying early development. Before I could realize, my search led me to the only one, the Molecular and Developmental Biology Program in Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and it was just right in every aspect that there was time that I had trouble to believe it was real.

    Now I am in a new phase of my medical professional adventure, as I made the decision to focus my study on the mechanisms of birth time control and possible ways to prevent preterm birth. Why I want to choose this area? Just imagine that the most difficult day in your life is your first birthday, and what is worse, the first bad day is just the beginning of all the rest of your days that must bear the repercussion of the first one. I have witnessed the pain and devastation preterm birth caused to those innocent babies and their families and struggled with the long term consequences which may be less obvious but equally debilitating. Just imagine if all these could be prevented, what else could be more rewarding than assuring every child the opportunity to gain full developmental potential in the safe and comfort of mother’s womb?

    What is interesting is that in every way the MDB program is like a safe and comfort mother’s womb, I am looking forward to my maturation in this program and the day that I will be ready for a whole new medical world.