Alumnus portrait - Chenfei Ning
Master's programme: Toxicology
Country of residence: China
Year of birth: 1985
Year of graduation: 2012
Current position: PhD in Neuro-oncology at Cancer Centrum Karolinska
Where are you and what are you doing now?
Currently I am in Stockholm Sweden, and doing a PhD in neuro-oncology at Cancer Centrum Karolinska, Karolinska University Hospital. I started my PhD studies right after my master's graduation.
Why have you decided to come back to KI for your PhD?
There are several reasons for the decision, summarized as following:
1) KI performs high quality and world standard research and is widely recognised by the international community.
2) Very friendly research environment, excellent professional networks.
3) Very easy to communicate with your supervisor/professor, teachers value a student's opinion, regardless your status.
4) Excellent research training
Looking back on your time at KI, what is the most valuable thing that you learned?
Stay focused on what you are doing, and have a vision for the future.
How has your time at KI affected your life after graduation?
I contintuously had close contact with world leading research and the time at KI taught me to find the information that I need and how to use it.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time, and do you think your time at KI has/will help you get there?
In 5 years time I will have defended my thesis, gotten my PhD and possibly finished one round of post-doctoral training. After that I will start my residency training to then be able become a field surgeon with MSF (Doctors without borders) for the next 5 years.
To answer a specific question in science, you need to know where and how to find the information regarding that question, and then you need to know how to use the information to answer the question. How do you interpret the information you get from an experiment in a correct way, and most importantly, how do you transfer those answers from the lab bench to the daily practice in medicine to serve the benefit of general public?
Having that skillset would largely facilitate my future goals as a researcher and a medical doctor. During my master's studies, KI taught and guided me to answer half of the above questions. For the next four years I believe I will posess the ability to answer the rest of them.
What was Chenfei up to during his studies?
His mother is a doctor, his father works at a medical institute and both his grandparents were doctors. Considering that, it isn't strange that Chenfei Ning chose to be a medical doctor too. But at least he is the only one in the family that chose to take a master's degree in toxicology.
'I became interested in the subject when I worked at the emergency room of my university hospital and discovered we could not treat all cases of poisoning. Then I saw a tv-programme about the best medical universities in the world, in which Karolinska Institutet (KI) was presented. I thought it was very intriguing and wanted to learn more about the university. The toxicology programme at KI is also one of the oldest in the world.'
One of the best things about studying at KI is the mix of students according to Chenfei Ning:
'Ambitious people from all over the world study here, and we learn a lot from each other. We also have a vibrant social life and do a lot of fun things together. I like going to live concerts and training at the gym.'
After his studies Chenfei Ning wants to combine his clinical work with more research in toxicology. He recommends new students to have a good plan ready for the future so they know how to use their new knowledge. Another important thing is that they have to learn to adapt to the Swedish custom of fika (taking a coffee break and socialising with friends).
'Everybody here drinks coffee all the time. I have become more Swedish and can now drink coffee without milk and sugar. But I think that will be a difficult habit to take home to China as everybody there drinks tea...'