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Date published: September 19, 2023

September Student Spotlight: Boyao (Joanna) Zhang, MD/PhD Student

This month in our Graduate Student Spotlight, we feature Boyao (Joanna) Zhang, a PhD student in Dr. Egil Lien’s lab in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology. 

What are your research interests?  
My main research passion lies in understanding innate immunity, especially in the context of bacterial infections and neuroinflammation. Throughout the course of my PhD, I have utilized mouse models to study the regulation of RIPK1/caspase-8 pathways in cell death and inflammation. I aim to explore how these mechanisms contribute to host defense against Yersinia infection and potential involvement in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

What makes UMass a great place for your studies? 
Being part of a community where ideas flow freely and interdisciplinary collaboration is encouraged undoubtedly enriched my academic journey.

Favorite hobby?
Making arts and crafts, cooking, and snuggling with my cats!

Favorite thing to do in Worcester/Worcester area?  
Wandering around the tranquil Walden Pond in Concord, MA. It’s a fabulous place for swimming in summer and leaf-peeping in fall.