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UW Ph.D. Student Receives Chinese Government Award

April 5, 2018
woman sitting at a microscope
Rui Guo, a UW Ph.D. student in the School of Pharmacy Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program, has been awarded a 2017 Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-Financed Students Abroad from the China Scholarship Council. Her research is focused on cardiovascular disease, diabetes and diabetes complications. (UW Photo)

Rui Guo, a University of Wyoming Ph.D. student in the School of Pharmacy Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program, has been awarded the 2017 Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-Financed Students Abroad.

This prestigious annual award is a scholarship set up by the China Scholarship Council to honor overseas Chinese students with outstanding academic accomplishments. Established in 2003, this award was developed to encourage research excellence and to recognize the achievements among Chinese students abroad. Awardees are selected based on their research achievements and academic merit after several rounds of judging by invited experts in the field.

“They encourage those top students to continue their significant contribution to global technology development and strengthen international cooperation,” Guo says of the award. “They also welcome them back to China after their graduation. My major research is focused on cardiovascular disease, diabetes and diabetes complications.”

Guo, from Zhangilakou, a city in the Hebel province in northern China, studies the role of protease, a type of enzyme that can break down proteins. More specifically, she studies Cathepsin K, a cysteine protease that is increased in patients with cardiomyopathy and heart failure.

She has presented her research in oral and poster presentation form at various national meetings, including the American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association and the Experimental Biology Conference. She has published six papers, one book chapter, four abstracts as a first author and two papers as a co-author since 2014, when she began pursuit of her Ph.D. Her research has appeared in top-tier journals, including Circulation and Diabetes, Autophagy, Journal of Hepatology and the European Heart Journal.

Guo and her advisers, Sreejayan Nair and Jun Ren, will be honored during a ceremony April 21 at the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C. Guo will receive $6,000 and a certificate at the ceremony. Nair, a UW professor of pharmacology, is associate dean of research for the College of Health Sciences and director of the Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. Program. Ren is a UW professor of pharmacology.

Criteria for the award include the student’s background, research projects, research outcomes, publications, potential for a future career and an opinion from the student’s adviser. These awards are highly competitive given that there are more than 340,000 Chinese students pursuing graduate education overseas. Each year, 500 awards are provided to students from about 30 countries and 45 embassy districts.

During her time at UW, Guo’s education and research have been funded by a National Institutes of Health Wyoming IDeA Networks for Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) grant and other grants her advisers were able to secure, including those that allowed her to attend conferences. She anticipates completing her Ph.D. at the end of this semester.

After graduation, Guo says there is a 90 percent chance she will return to China, where she would like to work at a university and continue her research.

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