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Huimin Hu

My name is Huimin Hu and I am in the second year of my PhD (DPhil) at the University of Oxford, where I am supervised by Professor David Bennett.

What are you researching?

 I am researching the use of chemogenetics to relieve neuropathic pain and effectively silence specific neurons.

Can you describe a typical day?

I am an evening person, so I come to the lab unhurried, and do some tissue staining and confocal image acquisition. Sometimes I need to go to the animal house. After I finish my lab work, I do data analysis and read the literature at the computer till late. After work, I take part in social activities (such as going our for drinks with my lab mates) and do some sports such as golf and swimming.

What were you doing before coming to Oxford?

I was an orthodontist in China and was licensed to practice dentistry. During my master's degree in Orthodontics at West China School of Dentistry, my research topic was orofacial pain. This is why I joined the world-renowned Bennett Group, for further research and in-depth study on pain.

What's the best thing about your DPhil?

I have to say that working with some of the world's brightest minds on difficult topics with cutting-edge technology is a bit challenging. But I am grateful for the support I receive from my supervisors, who appreciate my needs and help me unconditionally. It is very rewarding every time I talk to them. Our group is also very united and we help each other.

Both NDCN and my college, Green Templeton College, have given me warmth and support. I have met many advisors with clinical backgrounds who have contributed to both the clinical and academic worlds, and all have unique insights and perspectives on academia.

In addition, Oxford's diverse culture and unique activities were an eye-opener for me as an international student. I am able to discuss philosophical, theological, and sociological topics with friends, and I appreciate different ideas and insights, and novel perspectives in the Oxford Union debates.

Many people wonder why I, a dentist, came to do a PhD in neuroscience, and I would say it was the best decision I ever made!