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5 minutes with Lingfang Zeng

Dr Lingfang Zeng is a Reader in Vascular Biology in the School of Cardiovascular Medicine & Sciences, which is within the Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine. We took 5 minutes with Lingfang to learn more about his career and life outside of work.

Lingfang Zeng 5 minutes with

Briefly, tell us about your background and career up to this point?

I grew up in a rural village in Southern China and enrolled in the Department of Virology, Wuhan University when I was 17. I obtained my BSc and MSc degree in Virology from Wuhan University, and moved to Beijing Normal University to seek my PhD degree conducting cancer research. I investigated tumour metastasis in the Department of Pathology at Beijing Medical University as a Postdoc Fellow for two years, then moved to the Chinese Academy of Sciences to conduct translation medicine research and development, where I was appointed Associate Professor. I re-joined Beijing Normal University in 1997, engaging in university-based industry activities and MSc student supervision. In 2000, I joined Professor John Shyy’s group at the University of California, Riverside, starting my scientific career in vascular biology. In 2004, I came to London joining Professor Qingbo Xu’s group and moved to King’s College London in 2006. I was appointed as Non-Clinical Lecturer in 2007, promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2012 and Reader in 2017.

What is a typical day like for you when you would normally commute to the office?

I get up around 6:30am, then commute to office by train with one station change. The journey takes about 80 minutes, during which I read some news and do Sudoku in the Metro. I normally arrive at the office before 9am. I start laboratory experiments in the morning if required, then work at my desk for the remaining time, checking and answering emails, reading literatures, writing grant proposals, discussing experiments with postdoc fellows or PhD/MSc students. I am available to work with them on a daily basis and some timeslots are also allocated to undergraduate student teaching duties.

I leave the office around 6pm. On my journey home, I communicate with my friends via social media on WhatsApp, WeChat, etc. After dinner, I take a 45 minute walk with my wife if the weather permits. I spend up to one hour at night checking and answering emails from undergraduate students and personal tutees. Currently, I supervise eight undergraduate students on different courses and have 14 personal tutees. Some of my previous students also send emails requesting references.

I also enjoy spending time reading Chinese novels or watching sports on TV, and I normally go to sleep around 11:30pm.

Can you tell us more about any of your current research projects?

I am interested in small peptides translated from short open reading frames. I believe that the tiny peptide pays a big role in cellular processes, contributing to physiological and pathophysiological settings. Specifically we are working on three projects...

Project 1: Histone deacetylase 7 (HDAC7)-derived 7-amino acid (7A) peptide

Project 2: Laf4ir gene and postnatal survival

Project 3: sORF2 in tubulin mRNA and stemness

Looking back, what has lockdown taught you?

It has taught me that most teaching activities can be performed via an online meeting or pre-recorded lecture. In addition, to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic spread, people need to follow the government's instructions, rules and regulations.

What do you think people in the School would find most surprising about you?

I have good scientific research ideas but I am a very quiet person!

What is your typical coffee order?

I normally drink green tea as I am a bit sensitive to coffee. Occasionally, I order plain black coffee.

What advice would you give to yourself to your 18-year-old self?

There were several big jumps in my career journey, which I believe caused a delay in my progression. I would advise my 18-year-old self to look at all potential career options, evaluate my interest, ability and ambition to find an option that suits me best. When a route is chosen, try my best to succeed and make the greatest progress. If a scientific career pathway is chosen, the research topic and directions may change, but the field should be kept.


Favourite season... Autumn

Favourite book... Romance of the Three Kingdoms

You’d spend an hour cooking... I like cooking various things. I am a good cook. I take cooking as doing experiments.

In this story

Lingfang Zeng

Lingfang Zeng

Reader in Vascular Biology

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