Faculty of Science

Research Profile: Mannan Wang, Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology

November 04, 2011

When Mannan Wang decided that he wanted to come to North America for his graduate degree, he decided that Friends would help him. In addition to his other English language training sesions, he would watch each episode of the show three times. The first viewing was without the English subtitles, just to train his listening skills. The second viewing included subtitles and a dictionary to look up words and unfamiliar expressions. And the third viewing was to practice the language — he would repeat what he heard in order to drill his speaking skills. His hours of hard work paid off — he scored 100 in the TOEFL examination, easily surpassing the minimum requirements for admission.

His bachelor's degree is in Pharmacy at Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China. In his last year of undergraduate studies, he worked in a the neuropharmacology lab, learning how to build a new mouse model of Parkinson’s disease and examine the reliability of this model using different behavioural tests.

He was admitted to the Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology two years ago, and his MSc research project is to study the interactions between different cytoskeletal proteins at the neuromuscular junction in a drosophila model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The aim of this project is to better understand the underlying mechanism of synaptic failure in ALS, a fatal neurodegenerative disease with no effective treatment so far.

He's thrown himself into graduate studies and life in Vancouver as enthusiastically and energetically as he learned English. Graduate studies requires long hours in his lab, but he's also added two volunteer jobs to broaden his network and get more experience speaking English. He's a Neighbourhood Connector with Vancouver Coastal Health and a Coach for fundamental and active start classes with the BC Special Olympics.

And he tries to get outdoors as much possible, saying, "Vancouver is one of the best places to live in the world. Nothing can compare with the great feeling when you are having a great hiking trip in the beautiful nature of BC or an amazing skiing trip on the mountain after a week of busy school work."

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