Another year and another class of graduating students will say goodbye to their alma mater and start a new journey. The four years spent at UIC is some of the best years of their life. How many stories and sceneries have been treasured along the way? How much hard work has paid off? The following is the story of Year 4 Food Science and Technology graduate Zhao Yingshu.

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Zhao Yingshu

Zhao Yingshu is a Food Science and Technology (FST) major from the Division of Science and Technology (DST), who graduated this summer. She not only received offers from prestigious universities but also published her paper on an SCI publication, International Journal of Biological Macromolecules. She will continue her journey by going to University College London in the UK to pursue a Master of Science in Applied Analytical Chemistry.

International Journal of Biological Macromolecules (Science Journal Impact Factor: 5.162) is an established international journal of research into chemical and biological aspects of all-natural macromolecules. ‘Konjac Glucomannan (KGM) Exerts Anti-diabetic Effects through Regulating Oxidative Stress and Inflammation’ is the title of Zhao Yingshu’s study, which she started during her Final Year Project (FYP).

Through her study, she found that hyperglycemia links with inflammation and oxidative stress, and discovered the anti-diabetic effects of KGM on rats with Type 2 Diabetes. Using KGM as part of the treatment, it has reduced plasma glucose and insulin levels considerably as well as reducing the oxidative stress and Inflammation, positively regulated the pathways of Nrf2 and NF-kB, which helped protect the tissue structures.

The supervisor of Zhao Yingshu’s FYP and the corresponding author of this paper is the Programme Director of FST, Prof Xu Baojun. Zhao Yingshu recalls that she was lucky when she received help and guidance from Prof Xu and Dr Muthu Jayachandran, who was doing postdoctoral work at UIC in molecular biology and biochemistry. She and her peers also kept encouraging each other. Zhao Yingshu said that she is very glad that she not only completed her Final Year Project but also have new findings.

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Zhao Yingshu's project showcased at the 8th DST Poster Presentation

Zhao Yingshu was encouraged to choose FYP 2 (it is not compulsory to do FYP 2, students who are interested in doing research can choose to continue) during the second semester of her final year. In this project, Zhao Yingshu studied the secondary metabolites of edible and medicinal lichens and their health benefits as well as finishing a review paper.

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As an FST major, Zhao Yingshu says that one of the most unforgettable times of her college life was the lab reports. From the second semester of the second year, she was assigned to finish a lab report every other week, which was bittersweet. Sometimes there were several deadlines to meet, and all the FST students from that year would stay up late together and motivate each other.

Zhao Yingshu explains that she has a clearer idea about the future now. Through studying and practising, she discovered her interest in working in labs and hopes that in the future she could work in scientific research.

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FST students are extracting essential oil from orange peels

In her sophomore summer, Zhao Yingshu got an internship opportunity to work at the State Key Laboratory of Biochemical Engineering of the Institute of Process Engineering, Chinese Academy of Science. She participated in the research and development of a tissue repair biomaterial and was mainly responsible for the proteolysis experiment of cross-linked collagen in samples. Zhao Yingshu explains although the internship only lasted a month, she enjoyed working in the lab and learning from the scientific researchers.

Most of FST students’ FYP began their internships during the third summer. Zhao Yingshu suggests that the students do their internship during their first or second summer vacation, and try to have a better understanding of the works in specific fields.

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Zhao Yingshu and her Peer Mentees from the Mentor Caring Programme

Reporter: Covee Wang
Editor: Samuel Burgess