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SIT-Summer Institute in Taiwan
Academic Exchange & Cultural Experience in Taiwan
Jung-Lynn Jonathan Yang
  I am particularly interested in my host laboratory’s cell culture techniques. Dr. Yu’s approach to cell culture studies is strongly centered on being able to fluorescently visualize the proteins of interest, that is, creating fluorescent fusion proteins for all the proteins of interest. This approach is so powerful because proteins can be tracked spatiotemporally in real time. In the conventional immunostaining technique, the tissue needs to be fixed prior to analysis. Hence, one cannot track the expression of a protein in the same cell over time with immunostaining compared to the fluorescence approach. This is a technique that I am excited to share with my colleagues in Canada.
  The 2013 CIHR Summer Program in Taiwan has made a dramatic impact on my perspectives on scientific research. I have worked in several laboratories in Canada, including at the University of Alberta, the National Institute for Nanotechnology, and the University of Calgary where I am now. However, I have never experienced what it is like to work in a laboratory outside of North America. I now know that there is very little difference in the scientific process, be it in Canada or in Taiwan. Understandably, science is universal; the fundamental concepts about biochemistry do not suddenly change half way around the world. The method by which scientists conduct research is strikingly similar in Taiwan as in Canada. To my surprise, the Yu laboratory has the identical assay kits and protocols, written in English, as the McFarlane laboratory. We even order reagents from the same companies. Much of the laboratory terminology in the Yu research group is in English. For instance, there are no Mandarin translations for the micropipette tip; we simply say tip. Clearly, our research is not separate by distance. After this research placement in Taiwan, Dr. Yu and I have fervently agreed to continue collaborations between his group and the McFarlane group in Canada.
  Dr. Yu has several collaborators who are also good friends. He introduced me to two professors who also conduct research at the NTU College of Medicine. Professor Emerita Shoei-Yn Lin-Shiau (蕭水銀), PhD, works in the Department of Pharmacology. She studies the various aspects of how calcium affects cellular physiology, including cell survival, differentiation, apoptosis, and homeostasis. Dr. Lin-Shiau shares a research associate with Dr. Yu. Another professor emeritus I have met is Jung-Yaw Lin (林榮耀), PhD. Dr. Lin is the head of the Protein Research Laboratory at the NTU and is affiliated with Academica Sinica. Additionally, he has been the president of the Taiwan Genomics and Genetics Society since 2005. I am very honoured to meet these accomplished scientists.
  This two-month adventure in Taiwan has also made a deep impression on my life. On a personal level, I have never travelled very far from my home in Edmonton, Alberta. The farthest I have been is to Québec City, Québec during a family vacation. Even though I was born in Taipei, Taiwan, I immigrated to Canada with my family when I was in grade two. Canada is my home since then. Now that I had a chance to visit Taiwan, I start to wonder how my life would change had I stayed. I recall starting school as a grade one student in Xinyi elementary school (信義國小) in Taipei, near what is now Taipei 101. Fast forward 20 years later, I am suddenly doing the work of a doctoral student at NTU. Whenever I was away from Dr. Yu’s laboratory, I visited the old streets and traditional markets where I had frequented long ago and kept a tally of what has changed. I enjoyed reliving all the things I once did. This has been an astoundingly remarkable experience for me.
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