• Hongyuan Guan
  • Class of: 2024

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Major: Cell Biology and Neuroscience 

 How did you decide on your major?

My interest in neuronal biology is the main reason I chose this major. I’ve always been passionate about discovering the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying cells’ survival and functioning. Among all kinds of cells, neurons are the most appealing to me because they have distinct structures and functions and serve as the basic thinking unit of the brain. Therefore, I declared CBN as my major to study and research in the field of my interest.

What is it about your chose field (and the CBN Department) that appeals to you?

The most exciting fact about the field of cellular and neuronal biology is that we have scientists dissecting the mechanisms of how the brain, the most mysterious organ, works, and how deficits in key neuronal pathways lead to diseases. Therefore, research in this field is important for extending the basic understanding of neurons and for developing therapeutics to treat neurodegenerative diseases. The labs of our department are studying diverse topics ranging from brain circuits to single-cell mechanisms, from neurodevelopment to neurodegeneration, and from proteins to nucleotides. Such an environment is perfect for exploring different fields and finding our interests.

Do you have a favorite class/professor within your major?

I strongly recommend Dr. Shu-Chan Hsu’s courses. She’s one of the most incredible professors based on my experience. She’s passionate in her lectures and makes things easy to understand. She’s also super helpful and provides great suggestions for both learning strategies and career development as a scientist. I love the Honors Seminar taught by her and Dr. Bonnie Firestein, in which we learned how to write a thesis and present it to the committee.

What are your other Rutgers activities?

I spent a substantial amount of time doing research in Dr. Qian Cai’s lab. Her lab is well-established and is one of the perfect choices to get research training. She’s extremely helpful in mentoring me and our team is more than supportive. With the help of Dr. Cai and other lab members, I did my honors thesis focusing on mitochondrial mechanisms in the pathogenesis of tauopathy. I learnt a great deal during the project development not only on research itself but also on being a mature and thoughtful person. Besides, I also do peer tutoring at Busch Rutgers Learning Center for courses in biology, physics, and chemistry. 

What are your plans following graduation?

I will join a Ph.D. program to get further research training in the field of cell biology. This will be an essential step towards my long-term goal of becoming a scientist.

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