Shao is a graduate student in the lab of Dr Douglas Call in the Allen School.
PhD candidate Shao Lu working in his lab.
What area of research is covered by your PhD thesis?
My research focuses on understanding the regulation, inhibition, and self-immunity of a small antimicrobial peptide known as microcin PDI. Microcins are a sub-class of bacteriocins and are produced predominately by Gram-negative Enterobacteria. The microcin that I study (microcin PDI) is known to inhibit common foodborne pathogens such as E. coli O157:H7. Microcins provide us an alternative approach to control and combat rising antimicrobial resistance in a target and species-specific manner.
Why did you choose to join the IID graduate program at WSU?
The IID graduate program at WSU offered me an interdisciplinary approach that blended academic training with experiential learning. My first time visiting WSU, I noticed quickly the diversity of the graduate student body - people from various parts of the world with different cultures and scientific expertise working together. Talking to different students, I felt the research environment to be collaborative and welcoming. In addition, a diverse and dedicated group of faculty and staff in the program are passionate about mentoring and supporting the students to ensure their success. The program also presented me with various opportunities for fellowships, assistantships, and grants, which really persuaded me to join the program.
Where were you working/studying before your started your PhD?
Prior to starting the PhD program, I was a banker and had just returned to school to complete a B.S. degree in Chemistry with biochemistry specialization.
How do you like to spend your time outside of work?
Finding balance in life as a graduate student is often challenging. However, I make time to exercise, and when possible I like to travel to explore the beautiful landscape of the Pacific Northwest with a camera.
What advice would you give students about to embark on a graduate degree?
It is definitely not for the faint of heart. Really ask yourself, why you are going to graduate school. Understand that you will probably experience failure and challenges on a daily basis. Success is often a luxury, but rewarding when it happens no matter how big or small. Be patient, have determination, and be willing to take criticisms about your work are important things to keep in mind. Mostly, be flexible, adapt and learn from your mistakes.
What is the next step in your career plan?
I would like to further my training by being a postdoctoral fellow in a research institute before embarking on a journey into the biotechnology industry.