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Sheng Li, PhD

What influenced your decision to attend Weill Cornell for your graduate school education?

Weill Cornell is a world-class institution. I was impressed by how the different and diversified disciplines were all so well developed here. The school allowed an openness and flexibility for students to choose a mentor from different institutes and programs, which was really attractive to me. I was also impressed by the active interaction between Weill Cornell and the surrounding institutions.

What do you remember most fondly from your time at Weill Cornell?

I was able to discover and identify a new field for my graduate study from the diverse options of programs and labs. When I conducted my rotations in different labs during my first year, it was exciting and fascinating. I especially enjoyed learning about computational biology utilizing high throughput sequencing to examine the whole genome/transcriptome in a few weeks (now days). The number of directions and options available to me at the Weill Cornell Graduate School reminded me of the quote, “Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you are gonna get.”

Do you recall any experiences that confirmed Weill Cornell was the best place for your graduate studies? 

My experience with my PhD mentor Dr. Christopher Mason really stood out... He was always supportive, and never hesitated to give advice or help. Having conversations with him always made me more confident, and believe in myself and my research. He helped me conquer things that looked like they might be too hard to accomplish. His great personality, and the interactions with everyone in both the school and my lab, also taught me how to more effectively communicate with the people I work with.

What was your proudest accomplishment at Weill Cornell?

Gaining the skills to understand the genome and its impact on human health, and how this understanding leads to the ability to work towards personalized precision medicine.

How did your time at Weill Cornell help you to become the person you are today?

There are numerous interactions and collaborations between the labs at Well Cornell. I had the opportunity to meet and work with many excellent researchers here, and I really learned a lot from each one of them. I also found my mentor and the career pathway program to be quite helpful. My mentor fully respected and supported my chosen career path. All the research I worked on during graduate school also helped me to identify and create a clear career plan.

What advice would you offer to an incoming student?

Actively seek suggestions and gain experience from the people surrounding you. But also keep in mind that your ability should not be limited by what most people think you can do. Believe in yourself and work hard, and you will find the right project and right direction.

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