How did you find living in Edinburgh?
The city is small and beautiful, yet it is also a global place. I like the diversity of people who live there. I was surrounded by a lot of intelligent, and super friendly, people from many cultures. Interesting collaborations happened all the time.
Why did you decide to move back to China?
China has developed very fast in recent years and there are a lot of opportunities for young people, especially young researchers. I would love to visit other groups abroad in the future. It’s always good to have more collaborators and friends, and to learn from other people.
What differences have you noticed?
People work longer hours in China. In Edinburgh, we were not allowed to go to the lab after 5 pm or during weekends. At HUST, it is very common for students to work from 9 am to 9 pm, and group meetings are regularly held on Saturdays and Sundays. Also, it’s cheaper to do experiments in China: the cost of lab materials is generally lower, and there is also more funding available for researchers to buy equipment.
What do you like about living in Wuhan?
I like being close to my family and old friends. It is also in the centre of China, so it’s convenient to go other places. Wuhan has many, many universities, which means there are lots of students and it feels very young and dynamic.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Nature 553, S26 (2018)