Volume 5 Issue 8 - September 19, 2008
Interview: Dr. Shun-Hua Chen, Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, on Publishing an Impact Research Paper in The Journal Of Clinical Investigation
Dare to See, Dare to Do, and Dare to Win: on Dr. Wah Chiu
Article Digest
Hsien-Hung Wei
Dynamic Surfing and Trapping of Charged Colloids in a Travelling-Wave Electrophoretic Ratchet
C.K. Chung
A hybrid CO2 laser processing for silicon etching
Yu-Hern Chang
Significant Factors of Aviation Insurance and Risk Management Strategy: An Empirical Study of Taiwanese Airline Carriers
Wen-Hsi Lee
Investigation of Bis-(3-sodiumsulfopropyl disulfide) (SPS) Decomposition in a Copper-Electroplating Bath Using Mass Spectroscopy
Article Digest
Ming-Fa Lin
Electronic excitations and deexcitations in narrow-gap carbon nanotubes
News Release
NCKU Research Team Found a New Way to Control Hospital-Acquired Infection Recognized by Blood
First Global Map of Atmospheric Lightening Phenomena Published by ISUAL Research Team at NCKU
Recognized by International Scientific Publishers
Editorial Group
Interview: Dr. Shun-Hua Chen, Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, on Publishing an Impact Research Paper in The Journal Of Clinical Investigation

Dr. Shun-Hua Chen (right 1) and her students. (Photo credit: Dr. Shun-Hua Chen)
With a research paper “Suppression of transcription factor early growth response 1 reduces herpes simplex virus lethality in mice”, Dr. Shun-Hua Chen, associate professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, gained recognition in her field (The paper will be published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation).   

Dr. Chen accepted the Banyan’s interview and shared her experiences on doing research and learning. The following is a summary of this interview.

1.Please tell us something about this research.

A: Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) infection is the most common cause of sporadic, fatal encephalitis. Though antiviral drugs are available, many patients still have sequelae. Only 2.5% patients can return to normal neurological function; others will suffer sequelae, such as mental retardation. HSV-1 counts on cellular machinery to cause diseases. However, due to limitations in research techniques, this area has not been well studied. In this study we found how the virus could use a cellular machinery to cause fatal encephalitis and the possibility of blocking the cellular machinery exploited by the virus to prevent mortality in infected hosts.

2.Please tell us something about your research career.

A: I have been doing HSV-1 research in the past 19 years and still love to do it. There are many stages. In the beginning, I did immunology. Later, I moved on to virology because I wanted to gain more understanding in order to have a whole picture of how the virus causes diseases.

After I came to National Cheng Kung University Medical College, I shifted to neuroscience, focusing on the mechanisms of how virus infections damage the central nervous system. The main reason was because I wanted to do something different from U.S. researchers, so I do not have to compete with them.

The central nervous system is an under-explored area in virology, and I learned a lot by collaborating with colleagues in my college. My present and future studies are cross-disciplinary research of virology and neuroscience. Few people in the U.S. do this type of study.

3.As a teacher, can you tell us something about your teaching?

A: I spend time to train my students and also have high expectations for them. After years of training, I can see progress in some hard-working students. I encourage my students to go abroad to attend conferences. I also arrange for them to take short-term training in other institutions, such as Harvard Medical School and University of Pennsylvania. I want them to broaden their horizon, so they can realize that what they do here is as good as what they can do abroad. This is very important. My students become more open-minded and have clearer future goals after such experience. I think students should look for opportunities, not for opportunities to wait for you. 

4. For students’ learning, do you have any recommendations?

A: In the last two years of Ph. D. study, students need to have a clear picture about what they are going to do in future and prepare for that. I got a good post-doctoral position because of having done this.

During post-doctoral stage, besides doing scientific research, it is important to learn how to manage a laboratory and apply for research funding and to find the research that you would love to do in the next 20 to 30 years. These issues are every important.

I enjoy being a researcher, because I get to learn and do something new every day. This keeps me going, and I never feel bored. I hope students can enjoy doing research like me

5.Is there any similarity between science and life?

A: I think to do well in science is to find out the problem, face it, and then solve it. You need to be able to focus and know your priorities. This can be applied to your life. The university is not an ivory tower. If you can do science well, you can manage other aspects of your life well, too. The rationale is the same.

Helen Chang
The Banyan Editorial Offic
Copyright National Cheng Kung University