Working at a lab bench

Student Perspective: Jackson Liang

Jackson Liang

Molecular & Cellular Physiology
Lab: Dr. Lucy O'Brien

Why did you choose to come to graduate school at Stanford? What attracted you to the Biosciences PhD programs?

I was particularly attracted to the atmosphere of innovation at Stanford that I didn't find with any of the other programs I interviewed.

Describe your research.

My research focuses on understanding how stem cell activity is regulated in adult organs. Many organs are maintained and regenerated over the course of an animal's lifetime through the essential activity of adult stem cells. However, very little is known about how stem cell activity is regulated in vivo. Our lab is working to characterize and understand the mechanisms underlying this regulation.

Why did you choose to join your lab?

I chose my lab based on two criteria: (1) my interest in the research topic and (2) my relationship with the PI. Fortunately, I was able to find a lab where I had a strong interest in the science and a very supportive mentor.

How has being at Stanford helped you along in your career plans?

Stanford is highly supportive of graduate students exploring a variety of career paths. By attending seminars and events hosted by the School of Medicine Career Center, I was introduced to a number of possible careers that I did not realize were possible for PhD-holders. As someone who is exploring the possibility of a non-academic career, these resources have been very helpful in helping me plan for the future.

Do you have advice to share with prospective students?

One of the most valuable resources you will have at Stanford are your colleagues. Talking with other people and exchanging ideas can be just as important as performing experiments in lab. Personally, one of my most interesting experiments was inspired by a conversation with a fellow graduate student on the bus-ride home from lab.

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