Research Focus:Autonomic regulations of Cardiac system and Gastrointestinal system
Since childhood, Jin Chen has been interested in biology and medicine. When she was very young, her grandfather became ill and was hospitalized for two years. The harrowing experience ultimately led her to her passion — finding the mechanisms and treatments for diseases.
Chen graduated from Nanjing University, China, and started to build her career as a biomedical researcher before coming to UCF for her PhD in Biomedical Sciences. After earning her doctoral degree, Chen chose to continue her research as a postdoctoral scholar once she discovered an appealing research opportunity — the Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions (SPARC) program, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Common Fund. She also recognized that working as a postdoctoral fellow would provide the training she needed for the next step in working as an independent researcher.
Currently, Chen is researching the topographical distribution of sympathetic, parasympathetic, and nociceptive innervation in the heart and the stomach. She appreciates the opportunities that UCF has provided her to continue her work. “UCF College of Graduate Studies provided me with a P3 fellowship and extended it during the pandemic to help the early-career researchers, which allowed us to be more support among the scientific community,” she says. She also won the Graduate Presentation Fellowship for her efforts.
For Chen, the most gratifying part of being a postdoctoral scholar at UCF is completing a successful experiment and making new discoveries. “Each time I design a project or a set of experiments to test our hypothesis, and I see the successful completion of an experiment, I find the best way to optimize the experiment, and I feel like that is the most rewarding to me,” she says. She aims to use her findings regarding autonomic regulations of the cardiac and gastrointestinal systems to aid in treating diseases.
Chen is grateful for the professors and advisors at UCF who have guided her along the way. She describes how her supervisor, Dr. Jack Cheng, impacted her career. “As a PhD candidate, before joining his laboratory, we were trained for data interpretation, experimental design, and proposal writing; the majority of the studies are hypothesis-driven. I was taught later that observation without any expectation is also important as an anatomist,” she says. She also thanks Drs. Saleh Naser, Dinender Singla and Jihe Zhao for their support.
After completing her postdoc, Chen has set her sights on working as a scientist in academia. She plans to apply for research funding as an independent investigator while also teaching students in her field. She advises students to find their passion and always pursue their dreams, as her passion and curiosity are what inspire her to continue her work.
When Chen is not researching, you might find her reading, watching movies, and hiking.
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