Tianqing Li

Meet recent UCLA graduate, Tianqing Li, who majored in Bioengineering and Applied Mathematics. Tianqing was recently published as first author for her undergraduate research. “A Multi-Pronged Evaluation For Image Normalization Techniques” is published in IEEE Explore. She also presented her work at the 2021 IEEE 18th International Symposium.

As an undergraduate, Tianqing was a part of Dr. William Hsu’s lab in the Department of Radiological Sciences. Tianqing is now a PhD student at Duke Biomedical Engineering.


How did you first get involved in your research project?

At the beginning of the pandemic, I emailed several different research labs to look for remote research opportunities. Prof. William Hsu was very kind to schedule a meeting with me regarding my previous research experiences and current interests. Later I was introduced to one of his PhD students, Leihao, and started to help with an ongoing project related to lung CT image processing.

How would you describe your research experience at UCLA?

It has been a very fruitful experience for me, in terms of both crucial research expertises and future career development. It was the first time that I had the chance to start a new research project from scratch, actively get involved in lab activities, and eventually draft and publish an academic paper. It was also during this process that I confirmed my interest in continuing with more advanced research and decided to apply to graduate schools.


What is one piece of advice you have for other students thinking about getting involved in research?

My major advice is to not get immediately discouraged by the frustration that almost everyone will encounter when they try to enter a new lab/get into some new area. For me, reading more about the current state of the art in the field, and certainly looking for advice and help from other people in the lab have been very helpful.


What are your future career goals?

Given the fact that I am still in the very early phase of my graduate study, it is uncertain for me to decide which direction I would like to pursue, in particular, academia versus industry. But I am certain that I enjoy research-based work and am open to different types of opportunities.


What will you be studying as a PhD student at Duke University?
I am currently a first-year PhD student advised by Professor Timothy Dunn at Duke Biomedical Engineering. Our lab works on developing ML/AL-empowered robust 3D behavioral tracking systems for lab animals – tools for high-resolution movement quantification and better understanding of the nervous system.