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Graduate Interview: Lin Yu

PostTime:6/3/2021

This June, the first cohort students will graduate from Guangdong Technion - Israel Institute of Technology. The series of interviews with the graduates from Class 2021 will show their stories with GTIIT in the past four years. Here is the story about Lin Yu, a student of Class 2021 from Biotechnology and Food Engineering Program.


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Name: Lin Yu

High School: Yuhuai High School, Shantou

Program: Biotechnology and Food Engineering


Lin Yu is a scientific research lover with clear goals and ambitions. He always pushes himself to try new things bravely and never set limitation. He has the courage to start from scratch, the determination to overcome all difficulties, and serious attitude towards scientific research.


Thinking and asking makes study easy

Lin Yu has shown great interest in biology since high school. After study at GTIIT, the wide range of knowledge involved in Biotechnology and Food Engineering Program makes him know that it is extremely important to lay a solid professional foundation. He also learns to improve his ability to resist pressure in the busy university life. "Having classes is just a small part of learning. I need to spend more time before and after class. Actually, we definitely spend more than 40 hours a week studying. During the busiest period, I get use to have no time to relax on weekends and holidays, and study in the library from day to night.”


Practical training and theory learning are equally important at GTIIT. Lin Yu thinks that lab courses are a supplement to theoretical knowledge, among which the most interesting course is Food Microbiology. "We learned a lot about fermented foods like wine, beer, pickle, yogurt and bread. My teacher demonstrated the dough fermentation in class and showed us the homemade yoghurt. We also tried to make wine and sauerkraut by ourselves in the lab. Only by doing can I realize that there is a lot going on behind the pickles. We tried to ferment them with several salt concentrations and found that only two of them were edible. In the lab, we explored the relationship between microbes and food by ourselves, and learned to narrow the range of bacteria by using a very simple biochemical test box...Learning by doing is not only fun, but also greatly improves the efficiency of mastering knowledge." Said Lin Yu.


In addition to rich knowledge and practical experience, the most important thing in university study is to cultivate the ability of thinking independently. "Teachers at GTIIT attach great importance to students' thinking ability and creativity. They always encourage us to ask questions and express our opinions in class to develop our critical thinking skills."


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Surprises are always on the way

During the four years, Lin Yu not only focuses on his studies and scientific research, but also grasps opportunities to broaden his horizon. In the summer of his sophomore year, he attended the Entrepreneurship Summer School at National University of Singapore. At the beginning, Lin Yu did not realize that business-related knowledge could form an interdisciplinary interaction with scientific research, which brought him unexpected gains.


"Apart from some economic concepts, the first thing I learned was how to sell my ideas. As in business, it is essential for a researcher to share ideas with others, but it is actually much harder to do it in real life. We often have a lot to show, but the listeners’ time and patience are limited. I originally thought that the course of entrepreneurship and business was unrelated to scientific research, but finally I found that many of the rules and skills of business could also be applied to the research world. This experience gave me some inspiration for my future career goals and ambitions."


Lin Yu also gained an unforgettable international teamwork experience in the summer school. "My teammates come from six different ASEAN countries. To be honest, sometimes it is not easy to work with people from different cultural and language backgrounds. But it is a rare opportunity, and I learn a lot from my friends from all over the world when discussing.”


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Scientific research is an effort to start from scratch

Lin Yu was the first undergraduate student to join Prof. Yigal Achmon's lab and witnessed the development of the lab from scratch. "From the birth of the first squad of nine people, to the conduct of the first experiment, till now our lab family has more than twenty people, with multiple parallel projects unfolding... a lot of things have been started from scratch. We gradually optimize the design of the lab, try to improve the utilization of the space, so that each corner can play a maximum function. To some extent, the challenge of scientific research is sometimes to create what you need with what you have. That is the true challenge of a research team."


Scientific research is the effort of a group of people starting from scratch for a common goal. It is also the exploration and attempt to achieve higher pursuit of excellence. "Few people in the world have mastered advanced instruments such as Proton-Transfer-Reaction Mass Spectrometry (PTR MS), which can achieve extremely high accuracy and sensitivity. My teammate explored the performance of the instrument step by step by analyzing a large number of experimental data and consulting the professionals over and over again. Operating the instrument is not difficult, but it is not easy to rely on our own to eliminate instrument errors and interference, improve data reliability and solve all kinds of deviation. There are many factors that can influence the outcome.”


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Lin Yu (left three in the top row) with his teammates in Prof. Yigal Achmon's lab


Lin Yu knows that there is no room for any carelessness in the lab. "Working as a student assistant in Prof. Yigal's lab helps me develop a lot of good habits. The work environment pushes me to be more professional and cautious. Some precision instruments have high requirements for users. The improper use would result in a great loss of their performance, and even affect the measurement accuracy. The research project was the brainchild of the whole team. I need to take responsibility for every step, sample and data."


At present, Lin Yu helps to conduct research on food sustainability in Prof. Yigal’s squad. "One of the projects in the lab is about bio-solarization. The traditional solarization method is to cover the soil with a layer of transparent film to create a greenhouse effect, and thus disinfect the soil. As soil amendment, organic waste is added into solarization system, in order to modify the soil condition, including fertilization, disinfection, weeding and physicochemical property improvement. On the other hand, it can solve the difficulty of fish waste management and avoid the pollution of chemical agents to the soil. This has huge potential in terms of food sustainability and organic farming." With the joint efforts of Lin Yu and his teammates, this project was finally selected into the 2021 Climbing Project - College Students Science and Technology Innovation Ability Improvement Project in Guangdong Province.


After joining in Prof. Yigal’s squad, Lin Yu realized that the real scientific research was more difficult than he had imagined. "Lab classes tend to be idealized processes, almost the whole design of the experiment can do exactly what you expect. Only scientific research can show a more real and comprehensive research process. In fact, the research team needs to spend countless time and energy searching for literature, designing experiments, correcting errors, cleaning up, analyzing data, integrating literature, etc."


At present, Lin Yu has received the offer of biology-related program from the Technion. He said his scientific research experience at GTIIT has helped him a lot. "Comprehensive abilities, especially critical thinking and innovative skills are important in scientific research, and my research experience at GTIIT can reflects my ability in this regard.”


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Lin Yu (right two) with Nobel Prize Laureate Prof. Aaron Ciechanover (right three)



Text: GTIIT News & Public Affairs

Photos: Lin Yu, GTIIT News & Public Affairs


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