Postgraduate Student Life @ CUHK
from Nigeria
PhD Student in Cell and Molecular Biology (HKPFS Awardee)

Simply the Best

In a world brimming with challenges, talking to Nigerian PhD student Chiamaka Linda Mgbechidinma shines hope to the fact that there are people in this world who continue to live with an unwavering desire to reshape our planet into a better place.

With a profound commitment to the United Nations’ core mission to improve the environment, health, and food security challenges, Linda has a relentless pursuit for knowledge in the field of cell and molecular biology. She fuses passion and purpose to carry out her research to improve agriculture, and she’s clear that she only wants to work with the best of the best.

“I aim to contribute to the development and improvement of agriculture to make significant impacts at the global level,” she said.

In her work, Linda studies the stress responses and molecular mechanisms of environmental pollutants to understand their impact on global agriculture. She is serious about what she wants to do and desires to work at only the best research facilities in the world. And that pretty much sums up how she ended up at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK).

A state-of-the-art research facility

“When I was trying to look for schools to apply for, in addition to being someone who wants to go to top universities, I was also looking for a department and faculty who had cutting-edge facilities to stimulate innovative research in my area,” she said.

Through a global search, she eventually decided to pursue a PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology which is under the Life Sciences Department at CUHK. She cites many reasons for choosing CUHK, amongst which include top-notch facilities and a world-class faculty, as well as unique collaboration opportunities that cannot be found anywhere else.

“I found that the School of Life Science at CUHK is very concentrated on scientific research, with facilities and shared labs all across Asia,” she said. “I feel that these shared labs could provide me with resources and services I need to take my research to a higher level.”

Enriching mentorship helps students achieve

As a highly motivated researcher, Linda says that she also values her mentors and is so happy to be learning from the best, and that is another reason why she chose CUHK.

My programme boasts world-class professors who are the best at what they do, they have so much international exposure and that’s what makes the programme have such global impact,” she said.

Bursting with pride, she shares that she is now doing her research under the supervision of Professor Liwen Jiang whose works and publications have garnered significant recognition and acclaim. Indeed, it’s not hard to see why Linda wants to be with the best. Prior to joining CUHK, she attended some of the top universities in the world including some in China and in Nigeria. She was recognized as one of the top female scholars to ever graduate from her university back home.


Plenty of Opportunities

But she isn’t ready to rest on her laurels. With a drive to make a difference, she sought out every opportunity to afford herself the best education. She expresses her gratitude to CUHK for providing her with an extraordinary learning opportunity through the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme (HKPFS). Through the scholarship scheme, she was able to carry out her research and gain access to opportunities she might not have had otherwise. That’s why she continues to recommend others to consider doing the same. 

“CUHK is really supportive, it provides aspiring students the platform to flourish and reach their potential — you will see so much growth and development by studying here,” she said. Aside from her academic achievements, Linda has also had plenty of opportunities to share her work and gain feedback on her research. Earlier this year, she participated in the 19th International Workshop on Plant Membrane Biology (IWPMB) in Taipei, Taiwan. Then, she was invited to take part in the Postgraduate Research Day organized by the CUHK Faculty of Science to share her research findings. By nomination, she has also presented at the State Key Laboratory of Agrobiotechnology (SKLA)/ Institute of Plant Molecular Biology and Agricultural Biotechnology (IPMBAB) seminar series organized in CUHK. She found such opportunities enriching as well as giving her the confidence boost to carry on with her work.

An international world-class environment

Finally, she says that CUHK has so much more to offer and it’s not always about academics. Its international and inclusive environment opens students’ eyes to every nation in the world. Furthermore, she lauds the university for being a perfect environment to launchpad and explore one of Asia’s finest world cities.

“Aside from the beauty of Hong Kong, CUHK is a stunning place with lovely people and it’s warm and welcoming, I would certainly recommend it to anyone who is considering coming here,” she said.