Song Dan: Persistence and Passion Render Me a Right Choice
(2023-03-15 08:03:30)

Song Dan, Ph.D. student from Renmin University of China (RUC), is now studying at the School of Environment and Natural Resources under the tutelage of Professor Long Feng. She is currently focusing on the biosensing technology of pathogenic microorganisms, with a GPA of 3.96 (full grade 4.00) during her doctoral period.

Since entering the School of Environment and Natural Resources as an undergraduate, she has published 21 papers as the first author/co-first author, including 19 SCI papers on professional journals such as Biosensors and Bioelectronics and Sensors and Actuators: B. Chemical, with a cumulative impact factor of 155.3 and a total of 266 citations. As the first three inventor, she has obtained 3 authorized national invention patents. Besides, she has participated in national scientific research projects for many times, and won a lot of scholarships and honorary titles.

Let’s share her story.

During my ten years at RUC, I have gone through undergraduate, master, and doctoral stages, growing from an ignorant undergraduate to a confident and self-reliant doctoral student. I get different experiences at different stages of study, but my original aspiration remains to be an “RUCer with ideals, beliefs, and capabilities”. During the doctoral stage, I also keep trying my best to fulfill my oath with practical action.


From Confusion to Determination

When I came to RUC ten years ago, I was confused about my major choice as one of the first undergraduates majoring in environmental engineering. However, through interesting and lively classes and academic activities, I have become more and more clear about my study and future goals. As a student in the field of environment, I gradually realized that I should continue my love and dedication in this area because once I started, I must do my best.

In a professional class in my junior year, I found my interest in the research field of environmental monitoring, so I joined Prof. Long Feng’s research group. A large amount of literature reading is an important step at the beginning of scientific research. I found that so many scholars have done such wonderful research, which can help my research and in turn I can also help others. The thought has stimulated my academic interest. Publishing an SCI paper as the first author during my undergraduate period gave me a sense of accomplishment in scientific research. As my enthusiasm for environmental monitoring continues, I chose to stay in Prof. Long’s research group to pursue a master’s degree.

During my master’s study, I exercised my ability to write and publish papers and cultivated my own scientific research ability and attitude. When I graduated with a master’s degree, I was no longer confused but determined that I would continue to explore more cutting-edge challenges in the environmental field. Therefore, I continued to study as Ph.D. student at the School of Environment and Natural Resources, RUC.


Devotion to Scientific Research

In the first year of my doctor’s degree, the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, and the whole world was facing the danger of infectious diseases brought by pathogenic bacteria. Therefore, I switched my research topic from the detection of pollutants to the detection of pathogenic microorganisms, including rapid detection technologies for COVID-19 and Escherichia coli. At the same time, with the help of the equipment developed before, we realized the simultaneous detection of Escherichia coli and COVID-19, providing new technical support for the on-site detection of various pathogens including COVID-19. Facing a brand-new topic for my Ph.D., I learned new technologies little by little, continuously enriched my knowledge reserve, focused on solving problems in scientific research, and no longer feared any new area. During the doctoral period, I spent most of my time in the laboratory, which made my doctoral career very fulfilling.

It is normal to encounter difficulties in research. Sometimes a small problem would delay the progress for a week, and the failure of the experiment could make me feel lost and hesitant, and even doubt my doctoral studies. I once made a mistake in the last step of an experiment, which led to the failure of the whole experiment. Due to the long-term unsatisfactory situation at that time, I couldn’t help but cry in the laboratory. When I kept denying myself, my love for scientific research and the help of teachers and classmates supported me to get through all difficulties. It takes hard work and persistence to reap the rewards. Seeing my own research results presented in the form of papers and patents, I feel that the road of scientific research is really more interesting and rewarding.


Reflection and Harvest

Prof. Long often tells us that “Everyone is in charge of their own scientific research”, which inspires me to constantly reflect on and adjust myself when I feel tired and depressed. The sense of self-responsibility is the biggest difference between the doctoral stage and the master’s stage. I also have a sense of responsibility for my juniors and the entire laboratory. As a senior of the laboratory, I have given my fellow juniors as much help as possible on their experiment operation, paper writing, and daily life. As the safety administrator of the research group, I take every possible safety hazard seriously and keep solving every safety problem so as to ensure the safety of the students and the safe operation of the laboratory.

There is no shortcut on the road of scientific research, and there will always be new tests and opportunities on the way ahead. I believe that as long as one sticks to the original aspiration, one could look forward to a better future. I hope that younger students can find their love in scientific research and daily life, and render their choices right through persistence and enthusiasm.

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