Yanran Zhao, mentee in the 2019 MedTech-Pharma program in NSW (UNSW)

Yanran Zhao is in her second year of PhD studies in the Kirby Institute, a leading global research institute dedicated to the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases. Yanran ranked first in the National Postgraduate Entrance Examination and outrivaled other candidates in the final interview session for her Master degree application in Shandong University, China. It is in Wang’s Lab at the Provincial Key Laboratory of Animal Cells and Developmental Biology that she has developed a keen interest in the host-pathogen interactions and immune system. She completed her Master of Science degree in 2014 with Excellent Graduates in Shandong Province, Shandong Provincial Department of Education (2014); Excellent Scholar Achievement of Graduate, Shandong University (2014); Outstanding Graduate Student Leadership Award, Shandong University (2012).

Yanran worked casually in the student service office in Qufu Normal University in 2010. She was the Vice President of the Shandong Biological Science Student Union throughout her master studies, which allowed her to develop her leadership by organising events for the benefit of its students. She is currently employed as a casual academic at School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences at UNSW as a tutor. Finally, Yanran works in the blood processing team in the Kirby Institute.

Her PhD project is focused on characterizing a rare CD8 T cell population, the T memory stem cells (Tscm). Tscm is a rare but it bears the greatest potential to boost human immune system after virus re-infection. By studying the functional properties and molecular signatures of Tscm, Yanran seeks to understand the long-term maintenance of CD8 Tscm and hopes to illustrate the life-long protection of human immune system. This research is also very meaningful for novel CAR-T therapy development. She recently presented her work at the 47th annual scientific meeting of the Australasian Society for Immunology.