June 24, 2020

Interview MDR PhD student: Lei He

Who are you, what is your background and how did you get involved in MDR?

I am Lei He and come from Liuzhou, a small city in the southern area of China. I went to Chengdu, another city of China, for my college study, and my major is biomedical engineering. I began my research career when I started my master degree and I started working on preparing bio-composite containing different types of materials such as bioceramics and bio-polymers. We aimed to increase cell proliferation, migration and osteogenic differentiation in bone tissue for the purpose of regenerating bone defects after injuries.

After graduating my master degree, I started planning to study abroad, and then, I very luckily met the chance of enter into the MDR program, provided by my current supervisor prof. Pamela Habibovic, while I was applying for a PhD degree at Maastricht University. After more understanding of the MDR program, I gradually realized how lucky I am to join in this enormous research group with the connection of many different schools and labs and the opportunity to use many research sources and advanced equipment.

Tell us a little bit more about the research you are planning to do within MDR.

My first research project is related to preparing a nanoparticle, containing mesoporous silica nanoparticles with bio-inorganic core and ions, such as selenium and iron. These are inside the nano-pores, with a calcium phosphate pH-responsive outer layer and a surface targeted ligands for targeted delivery. The goal is to cure the bone cancers via both physical and chemical strategies such as regenerating heat by inorganic core via photo/magnetothermal effect, and reactive oxygen species by reduction reaction caused by ion increment.

My next research project will be related to structuring a bifunctional 3D-porous bioceramic scaffold combining with the nanoparticles mentioned above. The goal is to eliminate bone tumor cells and simultaneously promote normal bone cell regeneration, solving the bone defects caused by the removal of tumor tissues in the bone marrow.

Who is your biggest example in science and why?

Robert Samuel Langer is definitely one of my examples in science. Langer is widely regarded for his contributions to medicine and biotechnology. He is considered a pioneer of many new technologies, including controlled release systems and transdermal delivery systems, which allow the administration of drugs or extraction of analytes from the body through the skin without needles or other invasive methods. I was inspired by one of his lines “I was a chemical engineer on one hand, and then I would be exposed to medicine. I would have two different disciplines, they were so different. You’d think ‘Well, you could combine them,’ and that would give me ideas that nobody at that time had – because nobody else had that kind of background.” These words encourage me to keep doing what I want to do without any hesitation and excuses of course.

What do you do in your free time and how can we recognize the typical Lei?

When I am free, I usually like to do some exercise, watch some movies, and read books such as some fictions mostly but maybe biography sometimes also. In addition, sometimes, I will also join with some of my close friends to play some games like quiz or something which are really fun. I am actually tall with wearing a pair of glasses, so I am pretty easy to find in a crowd. Besides, I am totally an extroverted person who really likes to talk to others, to make friends. I also like to help other who are in trouble and I think cooperation is the quite efficient for promoting our work efficacy. Thus, if someone needs my help, just ask me and I will try best to help you out.