Rong Lu, PhD, has been a part of the Trojan family since 2014. She lectures in SCRM517: Historical and Contemporary Research: Hematopoietic Progenitor and Stem Cells (HPSCs). Lu wanted to become a scientist because she liked to learn how things worked. When she was young, she liked to read about scientists and how their findings influence our lives. During her undergraduate and graduate studies, she worked in research laboratories and enjoyed it. Lu pursued a career in academia because it provides freedom to explore the questions that interest her. Her experiences in academia during her tenure as a student were all very positive.
She enjoys mentoring students and helping others build their careers in science. Lu’s research focuses on how cellular heterogeneity influences the overall biological function. Her lab uses hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) as the model system to understand how individual HSCs differ from one another and how these different HSCs coordinate in producing an overall balanced blood supply. Past biomedical studies have been limited to assaying cell populations. Her work pushes biomedical research forward into the single cell level, producing numerous surprising and exciting findings. Lu’s goal is to understand how stem cells and cancer are regulated at the single-cell level. She hopes that her work will someday benefit many people.
Her advice to current students is to take a step back and identify every factor that is relevant to the obstacles they encounter. Make a comprehensive list, and then analyze them one by one to see which factors are most relevant to the obstacles and if they can be changed. For those interested in obtaining a PhD she says: “Go for it! It is lots of work but also lots of fun.” Lu enjoys hiking, swimming, music and painting.