Mentee achievements

I am excited to and have been very fortunate to have worked with exceptional students at all stages, with diverse backgrounds across engineering, physics, biology, mechanics, applied math, computer science, etc.

Among my mentees:

  • 8 earned authorships on peer-reviewed journal articles and conference papers
  • 33 earned authorships on published conference abstracts
  • 2 graduate students are selected as finalists for Best Student Paper finalists at Society for Integrative & Comparative Biology annual meeting
  • 2 graduate students won Best Paper Award at Robotics: Science & Systems Conference
  • 1 undergrad won annual departmental research award at Berkeley (1 out of 60 in Dept. of Integrative Biology)
  • 3 undergrads won competitive research scholarships
  • 1 high school student won competitive awards at Science Fair

After graduation:

  • 16 students continued to top graduate programs (MIT, Stanford, Berkeley, JHU, CMU, Georgia Tech, Northwestern, Columbia, UW, UCLA, USC, BU, etc.)
  • 1 students continued on to top-level postdoctoral training (UPenn KodLab)
  • 6 students started industry jobs (Google, Complete Genomics, DMC, City Year, etc.)

Mentee Awards

For a complete list, see Alumni and Prof. Li’ CV.


Goals for students

I tend to work closely with my students (and postdocs) and give strong personal guidance to increase their chances of success in lab research and having an enjoyable and fulfilling experience.

Ultimately, my hope is that through training in my lab and onward, my mentees mature not just as engineers who can solve technical problems they are given, but also as scientists who can lead the discovery and solution of big questions (this in fact is what Hopkins ME is renowned for–a strong emphasis on engineering science). Their interdisciplinary and integrative training will enable them to have a rewarding career, no matter what they do for the rest of their career.

It goes without saying that the success of each person is, ultimately, up to himself/herself. But I believe a passionate, caring mentor (like the ones I’ve been fortunate enough to work with), as well as the overall environment in such a mentor’s group, can have a strong positive impact on a person.

PhD students (and postdocs)

  1. Identification of novel and promising fundamental scientific problems, by developing a thorough understanding of current literature
  2. Propose independent and innovative solutions to challenging problems
    • How to break broad, complex, less tangible, long term research goals into concrete, achievable steps
    • How to set up from scratch new research infrastructure (e.g., experimental platforms, simulation platforms, theoretical framework)
    • How to plan ahead, evaluate results, and adjust directions to facilitate research progress
    • How to use good experiments to systematically discover general principles, not merely demonstration via empirical tuning or trial and error
    • How to integrate knowledge and tools across fields
  3. Personal communication, presentation, and writing skills needed to maximize visibility in the research community, and increase chances of future success
    • How to tell a good scientific story to a broad audience
  4. Publication and presentation of high-quality original research in the most prestigious journals and conferences

Undergraduate & Master’s students

  1. Hands-on research experience by participating in interesting projects
  2. Development of research skills
  3. Exposure to cutting edge research frontiers
  4. Deeper appreciation of science and the science inquiry process (how we learn about the unknown)
  5. You can even have your own research project, if you could devote yourself to it

If you find this emphasis and our research area appealing, I believe our group could provide you with a vibrant and exciting experience.


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