As a child, Ruohan Zhong wandered the woods and hills around her home. It was during these explorations that her curiosity about nature was born.
Zhong’s early quest to learn about the natural world led to deeper exploration of subjects that intrigued her. Her studies ultimately led to a fascination of epithelial cells and how they develop into organized structures. As she explains, the epithelium defines the boundary of an organism and is the surface where the living world and non-living extracellular environment meet and interact with one another. She was propelled by a desire to understand the evolution of such well-organized and highly differentiated functional structures from a uniform group of cells.
Zhong graduated from Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China with a BS in agricultural sciences in applied bioscience. There she focused her research efforts on botany.
It was email correspondence with Stowers Investigator Ron Yu, PhD, that spurred Zhong’s early interest of the Stowers Institute. While still an undergraduate, she worked an internship in Yu’s lab which gave her an insider’s view to scientific research and thinking. At the end of that experience, Zhong went home to China to finish her degree, then took a gap year and came back to the Institute as a Stowers summer scholar.
The friendly atmosphere, approachable faculty, and top-notch facilities convinced her to pursue her PhD at the Graduate School of the Stowers Institute.
Outside the lab, Zhong likes to express herself with oil pastels and macro photography. She enjoys exploring the English language through memes and anagrams, and especially appreciates the humor of spoonerism, a verbal error in which a speaker accidentally transposes the initial sounds or letters of two or more words, often for humorous effect.