Step into the Laboratory

Many students choose to come to Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School to join one of our major platforms, such as key laboratories, innovation projects, and research centers.

Graduate students quickly learn they will be spending most of their time in the laboratory. So, what is in the laboratory?

What are the differences between laboratories in different disciplines?

Is running experiments boring or interesting? Let us walk into the laboratory together!

Laboratory equipment is the key to a good lab. It is like the cultural relics of a museum. If you don’t have the best equipment, you’re not going to be able to have the best lab.

Some advanced and modern equipment is indispensable for a laboratory with strong scientific research capabilities.

For example, the drone has a wide range of applications. Many people saw the drone light show in Shenzhen. But this is only a small part of the field of drone applications.

Unleashing the Power of Drones

Cy Luo is a student who works in the lab of Environmental and Energy Information Engineering. They use drones to monitor the environment. 

This laboratory uses the latest information detection methods (thermal infrared, fluorescence, hyperspectral, radar, etc.) to obtain multi-scale environmental and energy information from the cell to the earth. For example, through drone monitoring, some important environmental parameters can be collected. Many of these environmental parameters are difficult to obtain through human sampling. 

The students in the laboratory shared that the application of drone equipment is a very glamorous thing, but it isn’t always as fun as it looks. 

The early debugging of the drone is a difficult task that requires lots of patience. After finishing the code debugging, they need to execute test flights. In addition, there are some location environmental impacts during the sampling process, and the whole process is full of uncertainty. A lot of time and energy is required. 

They also shared that drones are just one of the many pieces of equipment in their laboratory. They also have professional equipment, such as an evapotranspiration device used to observe urban climates. This device is very cutting-edge and advanced in the field.

Raising Fishes

Of course, there are also some surprising experiments and fish culturing may be one. Jiang Xilin (蒋西麟)is a student who works in the Organic Micro-pollution Laboratory of Water Environment. 

He said that the laboratory they have is like an aquaculture base sometimes. They breed fish, shellfish, and other aquatic organisms. Unfortunately, all these creatures are not for the school canteens. Xilin and his lab mates are concerned about the migration and transformation of organic pollutants in water bodies. 

This information informs us on ecological risks. For example, they can conduct toxicological experiments on small fish to observe their genetic changes. Their experiment is not easy. A small fish is expensive, and they need to feed and change water on time every day. Even during the Chinese New Year, some of them are still at school with their experimental fish.

Laboratory with No Borders

There are also some special “experiments”. For students in some disciplines, they need to take samples out in the field and then bring the samples back to the laboratory for analysis. High-intensity sampling is not easier than experimenting. 

Mumu is a student who also works in a lab at the School of Environment and Energy. She is frequently on the road to collect samples. One month, she went to more than a dozen cities and across several provinces. Their laboratory mainly collects microbial samples in water. 

The collected samples are analyzed to obtain microbial bioinformatics, molecular biology, and environmental physicochemical information. This information is used to construct informatics methods to understand complex microbial community systems. These methods have the potential to support environmental remediation. 

However, the microorganisms are usually not common microorganisms, they need to go to some rare environments, such as saltwater lakes, arid areas, etc. Some scientific research teams even need to go to polar regions to collect microbial samples.

They are fortunate to see unique scenery and feel the unspoiled natural environment when they venture to these rare ecosystems. Mumu said they she’s seen snowy mountains and long stretches of farmland. She saw the legendary Sailimu Lake in Xinjiang, and made sure to enjoy the local specialties on that trip. During the sampling process from east to west and south to north, they experience the changes of the four seasons along the way.

Business Labs

In Nanyan, there are some people whose laboratories are also full of disciplinary characteristics. For example, Li Zhe (李哲)studies financial journalism and uses the Future Media Lab at the HSBC Business School. She doesn’t use chemical reagents in her laboratory. 

Instead, they have audio visual equipment, lighting, microphones and everything you need to make the news. Their major is an interdisciplinary subject of finance and media. There is also a financial laboratory equipped with a variety of research and analysis accounts and platforms to facilitate students to conduct industry research. Their main responsibility for industry research is to use financial models and evaluation models to provide company value analysis reports through the investigation of listed companies and industry climate analysis.

Experiments and projects in the same subject are all distinct, and there is even more difference between the work of different disciplines. What we do all have in common is that we all need to spend a lot of time and energy in the laboratory. This is the only way can we have the chance to get the results we want. The laboratory is not always boring. During the experiment, we also can reap happiness. Come on, laborers!

Written by Raihbooo Yan

Photos by Cy Luo, Jiang Xilin, Mumu, Li Zhe