Researcher Li Kai: "there is love in the heart and light in the eyes."


"Hua" theory

This issue of scientific research interview talks with PI Li Kai, researcher of Biomedical Engineering Department of Southern University of science and technology. The main research direction of the research group is the design and development of new optical probes and their application in functional cell tracing such as stem cells, disease diagnosis and treatment, drug screening and biological detection, involving cross fields such as chemistry, materials science, biology and medicine. Professor Li believes that "light" is a very important word used by his research group. While doing research around optical probes, he also hopes that the students of the research group can keep "love in their hearts and light in their eyes" no matter where they are now and in the future.


About scientific research

If you were asked to use a keyword to describe the scientific research of your research group, what would you use? Could you please explain the reason for choosing this keyword, and then briefly talk about the research direction and expectations of your research group?

Reply: light. Our research group does research on the development of optical probes and in vivo imaging. "Light" is a very important word used by the research group. At the same time, I also hope that the students of the research group can keep "love" in their hearts and "light" in their eyes and move forward bravely no matter where and under what circumstances they are. At present, the research group mainly focuses on the molecular regulation and structure-activity relationship of optical probes, which can play an important role in cell and in vivo imaging. For example, we can use the probe to track the tendency and function of important functional cells such as immune cells in disease tissues, and modify the probe for target detection and drug efficacy analysis and evaluation in disease models.

Please share the most interesting research articles you have read in the past six months. What do you think is interesting?

Reply: the latest analysis results of the chang'e-5 Lunar Sample recently published by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. On the one hand, it makes me really feel the growing strength of the motherland. On the other hand, it also praises the achievements made by mankind in exploring the vast universe and the unknown world. At the same time, it also inspires us that there are still many unknown fields to be explored in scientific research.

What quality characteristics do students who hope to join the research group in the future have?

Reply: sincere, diligent, tenacious and optimistic. I think the students of the research group can gain a foothold in society with these qualities, whether they choose or not to choose scientific research as the direction of life in the future.

Talk about life

If you didn't do other work in the field of chemistry, what do you think you would do and why?

Reply: open a teahouse, you can drink tea with your family and friends, play the guqin, have the opportunity to learn calligraphy and painting, and deeply understand Chinese traditional culture. It's a pity that I'm allergic to alcohol and can't drink. Otherwise, I can learn from the poet Li Bai and recite poems and write Fu.

In addition to relevant scientific research, what are your usual interests?

Reply: I used to have many hobbies, such as traveling, sports, music, reading, food and so on. Now I don't seem to put much energy into these extracurricular interests. The biggest interest outside scientific research is to go home and chat with my wife and play the piano. Since we fell in love in college, we always have endless topics. Sometimes when you are in a bad or unstable mood, you can explore your heart while chatting with her, and you will be calm.

On the research road, what is the motivation to stimulate your inner persistence and progress, and what does the sense of achievement come from?

Reply: curiosity. Although mankind has made great achievements, our understanding of the world is still limited. With the deepening of scientific research, we feel this more deeply.

Fantastic ideas

If you had a superpower, what would you want to have and why?

Reply: crossing. I want to go back to my childhood and cherish every day with my parents and family. Go back to ancient times and experience the life of the ancients, especially in the Spring and Autumn Period and Warring States periods. If you have the opportunity, I hope to have a chat with Laozi and Confucius.

If you are about to be exiled to an island, which book do you want to take with you and why do you choose this book?

Reply: "One Hundred Years of Solitude" or "White Deer Plain". Now that I have been exiled, such a magic realism book may make me face such a difficult situation and still hold an open-minded attitude.

If you won a 10 million lottery ticket, what would you like to do with this asset?

Reply: I will take out a sum of money to settle down my family. Most of the remaining funds are used to open vegetarian restaurants and invite young people in poor areas who have no conditions to continue their further education and are eager to integrate into modern society to work and manage together. This idea comes from what I saw during my student trip and feels very meaningful. Of course, the precondition is that they must receive a complete nine-year compulsory education and meet the legal working age, which is very important.


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