i3S researcher awarded with China Scholarship Council PhD scholarship

Xuwen Zeng will develop her PhD project under the supervision of researcher Pedro Moura Alves, holder of the ImmunoHUB ERA Chair at i3S. The aim of the work, she explains, “is to study the role of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) during infection and its impact on host defense mechanisms”.

For the PhD student to receive this award is a great honor: “The CSC scholarship is awarded by an institution affiliated with the Ministry of Education of the Chinese government, which means that my hard work has been recognized by my nation, which is worth more than money. This honor will also pave the way for my next professional stage when I return to China”.

Xuwen Zeng contacted Pedro Moura Alves when he was still at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at the University of Oxford. Pedro informed her that he was transferring his group to the i3S in Portugal, but that didn’t stop her, he explains: “She promptly replied that she wanted to join us to do her PhD. We worked hard to get Xuwen recruited, as we had to overcome many bureaucracies. It was a long process, but successful, thanks to the commitment of Tânia Lima (ImmunoHUB project manager) and the full support of the i3S, namely director Claudio Sunkel of the MCBiology doctoral program (a special thanks to the co-director of the program, Paula Tamagnini) and the Vice-Rector of the University of Porto, Pedro Rodrigues”.

For the leader of the “Immune Sensing and Signaling Dynamics” group this award “recognizes not only Xuwen Zeng’s excellence as a student, but also her commitment, motivation and hard work”. She is the first i3S doctoral student to receive an award of this kind and, adds Pedro Moura Alves, “I sincerely hope that this is just the beginning of a successful personal and scientific path for Xuwen and a springboard for i3S to attract other students to under this program”.

And how is the move going in a different country and institute? “Portugal and i3S are great choices. They allow contact with specialized researchers in different areas and access to state-of-the-art facilities, as well as the technical support necessary for the execution of my project. Taking advantage of the collaboration network of this research group of excellence will also allow me to leverage my career and have new experimental approaches”, said Xuwen Zeng.