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Researcher Travels 7,000 Miles to Learn at UMSOD

Written by Adam Zewe

Zhibin Cui traveled more than 7,000 miles for the opportunity to work with researchers at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry (UMSOD). The Chinese doctoral student participates in a student exchange program that Professor Li Mao, MD, chairman of the Department of Oncology and Diagnostic Sciences, established with Jiaotong University in Shanghai.

Cui, who studies basic stomatology research in Shanghai, jumped at the chance to work in Dr. Mao's lab. He decided to apply for the exchange program because he wanted to experience the advanced scientific technology at UMSOD and work alongside some of the top oral cancer researchers in the world. "I came here, not just to learn about new technology, but to learn about the thinking processes of other researchers," remarks Cui.

He joins a team of UMSOD scientists who are studying head and neck cancer. They are investigating a specific gene mutation that is present in advanced head and neck cancer patients. Their research focuses on determining this particular gene mutation's potential as an effective target for cancer therapy. He enjoys being part of a research project that has so many implications for improving patient care. "For years, scientists have searched for biomarkers to cure cancer and improve the prognosis for cancer patients," states Cui.

The experience has taught Cui a great deal about the importance of collaboration, since researchers at UMSOD share information through very open channels of communication. He has enjoyed the opportunity to learn about research in a different environment, and will apply his new skills as he completes his doctoral degree in China. Once he finishes his research training, Cui hopes to become a head and neck cancer surgeon with scientific thinking. "I've enjoyed the chance to learn more about research on an international level. This experience could broaden my horizons for a future career," concludes Cui.

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