Xuzhe Zhang.Hometown: Beijing, China
Undergraduate 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 into learning this art of healing. Eight years later, I graduated and became a pediatrician. In the time I spent working with patients and families, I began noticing areas where further research was needed in order to improve treatment outcomes. I realized that finding solutions to these problems was the best way I could uphold the oath that I took. As this idea became clearer, my desire for more research capacity became irresistible.

My goal was to gain research training in projects that are clinically relevant. Since most, if not all, childhood diseases can be traced back to early development, I started my program search by looking for an outstanding children’s hospital with an emphasis on the study of mechanisms underlying early development. Almost immediately, my search led me to the Molecular and Developmental Biology Program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. It fit my search criteria so perfectly in every aspect, that I had trouble believing it was real.

My research focuses on the mechanisms that contribute to preterm birth. Being a pediatrician, I have always been emotionally affected by patients and families who have had to deal with the struggle of preterm birth. I have seen firsthand the difficulties that families face while dealing with this unfortunate reality. To help those babies and their families is what motivates me to jump in and carry on.