With Earl Grey tea sitting by our sides, steaming, a girls’ night in started quietly in a cozy apartment in southern Eindhoven, Netherlands. Two years having passed since our last get-together, four of us, M.S., F.S., J.W. and me, finally got to gather around again during the New Year holiday of 2014.
We opened up on our own adventures over the past two years to share with each other. My vagabond life of travelling around China seemed to sell itself amazingly which I could see from the sparkling eyes around. My stories finished, M.S. sipped her tea thoughtfully and turned to me asking, softly, ‘Weiwei, I like your story in China very much. Now, can you tell us, after your eventful journey in Tibet, what brought you to Berlin for your Ph.D. project and what exactly your Ph.D. project is about?’
There was silent for a second because I was not quite prepared for these questions broached on New Year’s Day! Having organized my thoughts, I, however, started off.
“I chose to come to Berlin for my Ph.D. project because I want to do a Ph.D. project for the next few years AND I would like to get it done in Europe. Firstly, I have long been a scientific research fan because it never repeats itself and scientific ideas are never the same. I see these attributes as great challenges and would very much like to go to them. Secondly, I like Europe and I hope to gain more insight into its diversity in culture and history alike, and into the convergence of its societies. Well, I guess this could pretty much answer your first question, M.S?”
She flashed me a heartwarming smile and then I continued,
“My Ph.D. project in Berlin is part of the European REVAMMAD project. By the way, REVAMMAD stands for retinal vascular modeling, measurement and diagnosis and my project is about retinal vascular modeling. Generally, retina is a layer lining the inner surface of our eye and the disorders of its vessels can lead to vision impairment to various degrees. Since it is not easy to find out why retinal vessels disfunction using retinal tissues, modeling methods is introduced by default. If we can find out the exact culprit mechanisms for some retinal diseases and take care of them, then our society would benefit a lot from it, especially those suffering now from hypertension and diabetes. See, my work is fascinating, isn’t it? ”
“It sure is!” Almost in unison!
(Because most of us are not comfortable being photographed and I would not chase them around taking pictures either, please excuse the absence of photos for this outreach activity).