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Mingqi Dong

Date published: February 20, 2024

February Student Spotlight: Mingqi Dong, Graduate Student


This month in our Graduate Student Spotlight, we feature Mingqi Dong, a student in the Fitzgerald lab and the Immunology and Microbiology Program at UMass Chan. 

Dengfeng, China. It’s a small town in central China, famous for its long history of kung fu as this is where the Shaolin Temple is located. 99% of local kids know some kung fu. I was the other 1%, unfortunately. 

What are your research and clinical interests?
I like innate immunity. 
I also like microglia. 
For my thesis,
I work on both. 

I’m currently studying the cellular and molecular landscape changes in the brain when a fundamental antiviral pathway in microglia goes rogue. Hopefully, in the future, I can contribute to the therapeutic development for patients with neurological diseases by applying the skills and knowledge I gained at UMass. 

Are you involved in any other groups or activities at UMass Chan that you’d like to highlight? 
I was very fortunate to work as a board member of the Industry Exploration (IndEx) Program at UMass Chan Medical School for one year with other amazing fellow students. In collaboration with biotech companies in the Greater Boston area and UMass GSBS, we organize a series of company site visits aiming to help UMass trainees learn more about the industry as well as build networks with local professionals. Speaking as an international student, this was extremely valuable to me, presumably to the international community at UMass Chan as well, given the challenges every visa holder might face when transitioning to the next step. 

What makes UMass a great place for your studies? 

Top three factors: 

  • Great mentors. My thesis committee (Drs. Ann Rothstein, Kate Fitzgerald, Dori Schafer, and Megan Orzalli) consistently offered me encouragement, guidance, and constructive criticism, all essential to the growth of a PhD student. 

  • Collaborative spirit. I’ve learned a ton of things from trainees/technicians at different stages from different labs across different departments. They are simply awesome and I’m truly grateful for their generosity. 

  • Sustainable living cost. If one can get both above with half of Boston rent, why not UMass? 

Favorite hobby?
When I’m finally done deciding what to do on a late Saturday afternoon, I sometimes go to the gym, sometimes I read, and sometimes I explore overpriced Chinese restaurants with friends. 

Favorite thing to do in Worcester/Worcester area? 
Getting Thai food with friends and then going to a movie together. Don’t ask me why it must be Thai. My friends make rules. They know kung fu.