On the morning of September 13th, 2013, Professor Ba Denian, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, came to visit the faculty members and students of the Key Laboratory of Medical Genetics with the invitation of Vice President Fu Songbing, Harbin Medical University.
Professor Ba Denian graduated from Harbin Medical University in 1962. He has held the position of Vice President of the Harbin Medical University, the President of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (1992) and the President of Peking Union Medical College (1992). Professor Ba was elected as academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering in 1994, and has been a foreign member of the Institute of Medicine of National Academies of the United States since 1999. Professor Ba is a tumor immunologist, who is exemplified by several of his research papers which are hailed as revolutionary and groundbreaking.
During this Seminar, Professor Ba Denian chose not to go into details about his own research, but held an open symposium with the faculty members and students of the laboratory to answer their questions. Professor Ba revealed his unique way of understanding, as well as his approach to learning, working and life. Despite being 76, he still exuded a lot of energy and personal charm.
Professor Fu Songbing, who is the Vice President of Harbin Medical University and Director of the Key Laboratory of Medical Genetics, first introduced Professor Ba Denian to the faculty and students, who showed warm welcome to the guest. Right after the introduction, Professor Ba Denian spoke highly of the progress and achievements of the Key Laboratory of Medical Genetics. He also briefly discussed the training of students in the field. He pointed out that students should not only focus on getting “high marks” in their academic courses, but also work on increasing physical activity, as well as developing their personality and character.
He discussed some of the popular topics with the students, which showcased the high expectations he holds for the students. Following this, the faculty and students were eager to ask Professor Ba questions. Professor Ba answered these questions with patience, while always trying to apply his own experiences as an example, whether of the topic dealt with clinical treatment for tumors, career development, or teaching experiences. Throughout the discussion, Professor Ba expressed his high hopes of academic research in China. He believes that it is not a good idea to just follow the research of foreign countries, but rather focus on efforts towards encouraging creativity and innovativeness within our fellow researchers. He implored his audience to take advantage of the abundant resources in China, and improve the quality of our research in order to progressively raise the standard of Medical Research in China to a higher level.
Professor Ba was also able to help young students who are still confused about their program of study, future careers and life in general, by offering a unique point of view of looking at things. He emphasized several times “to govern the country (and bring peace to all), one should first be able to govern one's family successfully, one should first learn to govern oneself”. He asked the students to focus on improving the overall abilities of them by willing to study hard, be prepared for the future, and be capable of facing different challenges in the life.
The time quickly flies by and soon, the seminar has ended after a couple of short hours. Faculty members and students all expressed their gratitude towards Professor Ba Denian. Many were impressed with Professor Ba’s humor as well as his ability to explain difficult concepts using simple language. This surprised many people who knew very little about Professor Ba outside of his academic achievements. Professor Ba has high hopes for the students as well. As a result of the seminar, we felt that we are more aware of what we want in our studies and our research. As a member of the academic field, it is important for us to have such good qualities, which includes hard work and attention to detail. Not only should we learn and master the knowledge and techniques in our immediate fields, we should also be open minded, persistent in improving our capabilities, and be prepared to contribute to medical research in our nation.