We are delighted to have 10 new students reporting to the program this semester: Five of them are domestic Taiwanese students, while the others are from India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Vietnam. Moreover, we have four students who were enrolled in the Spring Semester of 2020. On October 6th 2021, we held the MST welcome party for our new students, who are eager to start their Ph.D. lives. At the event, many of the present and former members of the MST family (senior students and PIs) participated to extend their warmhearted welcome and support to the new family members.
First row TiGP-MST students of 2021: (from left) Mr. Firdaus Ali (a student of the Spring Semester in 2020), Mr. Hieu Cao Dong, Mr. Prabesh Bista, Ms. Phuong Ai Thi Nguyen, Ms. Lily Maysari Angraini (a student of the Spring Semester in 2020), Ms. Fizza Sabbor, Ms. Sumangaladevi Koodathil, Ms. Tsai-Yu Lin, Mr. Agrim Jetwani (a student of the Spring Semester in 2020), Mr. Varad Ashutosh Modak (a student of the Spring Semester in 2020), Mr. Hsuan-Yu Chen, and Mr. Po-Hsiu Cheng.
“The depth of knowledge makes a Ph.D. professional, but the breadth of knowledge makes a Ph.D. special.”
I, Jyun-Yi Yeh (Lancer), joined the TIGP-MST family as an NTU-MST Ph.D. student in September 2018. In the first two years, I focused on metal–organic framework (MOF)-derived catalyst development under the supervision of Prof. Kevin C.-W. Wu. By in situ synthesis and surface-modification methodologies, we created a series of efficient biomass conversion catalysts with unique catalytic activities. I was delighted at the outstanding catalytic performance of our MOF-derived catalysts. However, I feel unsatisfied with my inadequate understanding of the mechanisms behind it. The key factors that contribute to the distinguished results remain undiscovered. I was fortunate to have Dr. Yi-Pei Li, who specializes in DFT simulation and machine learning, as a co-supervisor from the third year of my Ph.D. Although constructing a well-fitting model to describe the reactions on the MOF catalysts surface is a giant undertaking, applying myself to carry out the DFT calculations is definitely worthwhile. The combination of experimental and simulation results not only helps me understand the reactions more comprehensively, it also inspires me in the development of “MOF catalysts 2.0”. I am now constructing an efficient QM/MM simulation system for reactions on MOFs. Meanwhile, I am trying to control biomass reactions by pore-size engineering of MOFs. I believe the QM/MM calculation that I developed provides mechanistic insight into pore-shape control for biomass conversion over MOFs.
I was also lucky to join Kevin C.-W. Wu’s lab. We have many international exchange students and outstanding Ph.D. and postdoctoral researchers from around the world. With the help of Prof. Kevin C.-W. Wu, I was able to visit Sweden, Germany, and Japan to share and enrich my experience and knowledge of research. I met people from different fields that inspired me to address many interesting topics, such as the extended applications of MOFs.
The effects of deeply investigating mechanisms make me professional, and the experience from various fields (catalysts, DFT, etc.) make me special. I believe these two factors helped make me the sole winner of the Presidential Fellowship in 2021.
My name is Chia Yen Liew. I was born and raised in the rustic Malaysia countryside. I am in my fourth year of the TiGP NTU-MST program under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Chi-Kung Ni. Our laboratory is developing a mass spectrometry based method termed logically-derived sequence (LODES) tandem mass spectrometry, to identify the primary structures of carbohydrates, which are a ubiquitous class of biological macromolecules vital to life.
In March 2016, after I completed my master’s degree in Chemistry at the University of Malaya, Malaysia, I came to Taipei and joined Dr. Ni’s laboratory as a research assistant. During that time, Dr. Ni was about to switch his research focus from hard-core gas phase chemical kinetics to the field of carbohydrate structure determination. Fortunately and unfortunately, I was one of the first few people among our lab-mates that worked on that new project. In my vivid memories, we had a hard time in the beginning of the project. We did not have any clue of how to approach the topic but to try. After few months of hard work, our project started to yield results when I found a way to separate the alpha and beta anomers of glucose and measure their fragmentation patterns respectively using LC–MS. Under the guidance of Dr. Ni and his in-depth knowledge of gas-phase dissociation mechanisms, we found a way to distinguish the alpha and beta anomers of glucose, which had never been done before with another mass spectrometry method. Since then, I have been working on the method in order to determine the structures of larger carbohydrates.
I did not attempt to pursue a PhD when I first came to Taiwan, as I did not want to have a Permanent Head Damage (PhD) degree. However, as time went by, I became deeply impressed by Dr. Ni and the great research environment at the IAMS, and I developed a passionate interest in scientific research and found myself wanting to dedicate my time and future to it. In 2018, I finally decided to join the TiGP NTU-MST program and continued to work on LODES tandem mass spectrometry. Over the past few years in Dr. Ni’s laboratory and the IAMS, I have met many excellent researchers and had discussions with them. I have also developed confidence and acquired skills in poster and oral presentations in both local and international conferences. Most importantly, I have learned valuable lessons in unveiling the secret of research success along the way, especially from my advisor. I have come to realize that my decision to enroll in the TiGP NTU-MST program is the best decision that I have ever made. I hope the experiences and skills that I gathered pursuing my PhD degree will shape me into an adequate researcher in the future. I was so pleased to become a member of the TiGP-NTU-MST program. For me, it is pure serendipity!