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Interview with ISRS Speakers, Shiying Jin and Lei Lei

As we get closer to the 2019 Illinois Symposium on Reproductive Science, now just one month away, we look forward to presentations from our distinguished speakers – some of whom have been to CRS before! Featured in this week’s CRS news story, is an interview with Shiying Jin and Lei Lei, CRS alums and recently appointed faculty to the newly founded the Center for Female Reproductive Longevity and Equality at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging.

The interview with Shiying Jin, PhD, was conducted by Farners Amargant:

  1. Your lab is focus on female reproductive health during aging. When did you become interested in this topic?

The first day when I started graduate research on ovarian biology. My research project mainly focused on the mechanisms of mammalian oocytes maturation and fertilization. 

  1. What do you think will be the next big contribution in the reproductive biology field?

Many important questions in the field need to be addressed. In the ovary, it is urgent to know the mechanism underlying loss and activation of primordial follicles over aging. In the uterus, as it is a highly regenerative tissue, further understanding of the identity and function of uterine stem cells will help us address many important questions in the reproductive biology field. 

  1. How was the transition from a post-doc researcher to directing your own group?

It is fun but challenging. I am still learning how to be a great mentor, like one of my previous mentors Dr. Teresa Woodruff. I feel that having an independent postdoc training will make the transition easier, as a junior PI requires extensive knowledge to direct multiple research projects in the lab. Thus, expanding knowledge and interactions with scientists in different fields as an independent postdoc is good for future career development. 

  1. What would you recommend to junior scientists (PhD/junior postdocs) in order to succeed in their scientific careers?

Have passion for what you are doing; be focused on what you are doing; be persistent on what you are doing; communicate broadly with other scientists such as stem cell biologists, neuro-biologists, chemists, clinicians et al, you will benefit from your interactions with them as they may help you generate new ideas, novel solutions and new discoveries.   

  1. How do you achieve a good work-life balance?

I try my best to be efficient at work, but there is no clear timeline for a biologist during a day or a year. We always think about our research projects and results, even after we are back home from work and go to bed. I am lucky my wife contributes a lot to our family and kids. I really appreciate it! 

  1. What hobbies do you have outside of the lab?

I like to try different foods with my family and friends. I also like to travel to different places to feel diverse cultures and chat with people. I really enjoy it!


The interview with Lei Lei, PhD, was conducted by Poorva Sandlesh

  1. Your work is focused on understanding the ovarian aging process. When did you become interested in this topic?

The research in my lab focuses on ovarian reserve formation and maintenance. I’ve been interested in this topic ever since my Ph.D. studies.

  1. How do you achieve a good work-life balance?

Work hard, play hard; Make good plans; Stay highly focused and be efficient

  1. What hobbies do you have outside of work? 

Hiking, baking with my girls.

  1. What do you think will be the next big contribution in the reproductive biology field? 

Identification of the factors that trigger the declines in oocyte quantity and quality.