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[International Women’s Day 2024] “You can become whatever you aspire to be, our power is capable to change the world”

March 8 is the International Women's Day. It is a great opportunity to recognise and honour the hard work, dedication, and perseverance of female staff members in research.

The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Significant activity is witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women's achievements or rally for women's equality.


A great occasion to talk to some of the brilliant and inspiring minds at work at C2i. Today, meet Dr. Emma Ji Wang!


Can you tell us about your background and why you chose to work in science?

I got my PhD in Analytical Chemistry and worked as a postdoc at HKUST before joining C2i. Since I was a little kid, I always regarded  becoming a scientist as a cool yet distant aspiration. When I began to learn science in school, I found it to be incredibly captivating and thrilling, which naturally led me to choose chemistry as my major in university. During this time, I happened to know microfluidics, and was amazed by the creativity, innovation, and unique advantages it offered to both chemistry and biological research. This inspired me to pursue my research career as a PhD student in this field. To this day, despite the numerous challenges that scientific research presents, I still enjoy the process of exploration and the exhilaration that comes with every success.

 


How do you feel about being a woman in science?

I grew up in mainland China during the single-child policy era. As the only daughter in my family, I barely experienced any gender prejudice from a young age. I was consistently encouraged to pursue what I enjoyed as my career, and to realize my self-value. As a PhD student in a scientific field, my supervisor treated and guided female and male students equally. Consequently, most of the significant accomplishments in our lab were made by female students. I am fortunate to have had the encouragement and support from my family and supervisor throughout my journey, as these positive influences fueled my passion for scientific exploration.


Situations may vary among countries and regions. However, there are still regions where women encounter numerous obstacles in pursuing their careers. These barriers may not be entirely policy-relevant, but they exist in every corner of women's growth, subtly influencing their judgment and expectations of their own value. Even though opportunities for women are increasing, the world still has a long way to go before achieving true gender equality. My message is that regardless of being a woman or a man, you can become whatever you aspire to be. Before the world changes, women need to make their own choices. Because our power is capable to change the world.

 


What is your role at C2i and what projects are you working on?

I am currently an Assistant Research Officer in the Mosquito-Borne Viruses program led by Prof. Tommy Lam. My work focuses on microfluidic platforms for both mosquito-borne virus point-of-care testing (POCT) and viral disease modeling. Our goal is to develop a rapid and sensitive POCT method that can be used for sub-typing mosquito-borne viruses and reporting novel viruses. Additionally, we aim to create an in vitro biomimetic model of viral haemorrhagic fever diseases, to facilitate deeper exploration of the underlying mechanisms and the development of new therapies.

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