I joined the GGD program at Cornell because its excellent track record of training research scientists, and also because of graduate students’ enthusiasm for fundamental researches here. I had worked as a visiting undergraduate student at Cornell for a year and Cornell became my top choice for graduate studies as I knew more about this institute. During my visiting, I got the chance to appreciate a variety of research topics via seminar series and symposiums held on campus. Students were so excited to present their work and share feedback among each other. To get rigorous training is among the most import goals I wanted to achieve in graduate school, and GGD is an excellent fit for me. Besides, the warm and friendly atmosphere in Ithaca made me feel very comfortable living here.
After I joined GGD, how wonderful our cohorts could be still surprised me. Students care about each other and I know my friends in the program will be supportive whenever I need them. I also appreciate that faculty care about growth and career development for students. Working and studying here is really enjoyable.
I am a member of the Han Lab, and we are interested in the mechanisms of dendrite development and dendrite degeneration, by using the Drosophila sensory neurons as a model system. By using cutting edge technologies in molecular biology, cell biology, microscopy, and genetics, we wish to uncover core principles of dendrite morphogenesis at molecular and cellular levels both during normal development and in neuronal degeneration. I am exploring how degenerating neurites are recognized and cleared by using long-term time-lapse live imaging and tissue-specific CRISPR tools. Ultimately, I am driven to decipher the secret of how neuron-environment interactions shape every step of dendrite morphogenesis.