Jianquan Xu – Q & A

Jianquan, on life in science

Editor’s Note: We asked each of the QSTORM investigators to respond to a set of questions we thought could help web visitors understand a little bit more about the personal side of working in science.
These are Jianquan’s responses.

Q. In what ways do you feel that you don’t fit the stereotype of a scientist?
I don’t think I look like a traditional scientist, especially the “stereotypical” one. I am young, full of energy and passion. I never bind myself to the so-called “dogmas.”

I have lots of interests outside of chemistry. I like fashion, and I like exercise. Soccer is my favorite.

From my point of view, chemists are very cool, because we play with molecules and atoms. What could be cooler than that!

Q. Was there a particular person or life experience that caused your interest in your area of expertise? Who and what?

I think it’s my PhD advisor, he is a very interesting guy, he is not a “traditional” chemist too, he doesn’t like to use those “boring” or “theoretical” words to talk about his research, I can clearly remember the presentation he gave to us during my undergraduate study, he just made everything simple, understandable and funny, he showed me where is the interesting part of his research, at that time, I made my decision, OK, this is guy I want to pursue my PhD with and this is area I am interested in.

Q. How would your friends describe you?

Warmhearted, optimistic, cool.

Q. What quirks do you have or are you known for?


Q. What are you most passionate about in life?

Keep challenging and trying new stuff.

Q. What are your main interests or hobbies outside of your work?

I like soccer very much; playing soccer takes most of my leisure time, especially in my college life. I like other sports too, such as basketball, ping-pong, and so on, Sports can not only make my body healthy, but also can let me have a good mood.

Q. What about your family?

My parents are farmers, they live in a small village in the northeast part of China, and I also have a sister, she is now working in a company. I just got married, and my wife has an MS in the same area.

Q. How you would describe your work to an 8 year old?

We do some research to make our life better.

Q. What led you to this particular collaboration?

I saw the webpage of the QSTORM when I was seeking a postdoctoral position. I was very interested in this team, so I submitted an application, fortunately, my application got approved. That means a lot to me, and I believe it will be an important experience in my life.

Q. Do you remember a particular moment when the pieces of the puzzle clicked together?

I think it is the time when I doing exercise.

Q. How would you describe the goal of this collaboration in one sentence in non-technical terms. OK, maybe two sentences.

To develop a kind of microscope with high resolution that can give more information inside the cells.

Q. How do you hope this collaboration, if successful, will advance your research? (non-technical terms, 1-2 sentences).

It is win-win situation, I believe the collaboration will be a great success. Every member here will benefit a lot.

Q. How do you hope it will advance your field? (non-technical terms, 1-2 sentences).

My research was focus on the synthesis of biocompatible luminescent silica nanoparticles, it is mainly the chemistry topics, and I hope I could learn much more about the biology here.

Q. Why should a non-scientist care about what the QSTORM team is trying to do?

I think Jessica has given the best answer, “Being able to directly see molecules is really cool”, and such technology will be applied to human health in future.

Q. What do you think will be the most challenging aspect of the QSTORM project?

To control over properties of the quantum dot will be challenging, such as the luminescence and the photostability.

Q. How do you cope with the obstacles and failures along the way?

As the Chinese saying goes, failure teaches success. Just keep going, we will achieve the final success.

Q. Where do you find inspiration when challenged with a difficult problem?

Lying in my bed, think quietly.