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Hongwei Zhang - Research Assistant, M.Sc. Agriculture and Life Sciences, BSc. Civil Engineering & Architecture

   
    My post-secondary education began with a bachelors degree at the Architecture and Civil Engineering Institute in 1985. After graduation, I worked at Liaoning Provincial Building and Design as an Assistant Engineer until 1991. The same year, I left China and went to Japan to study. In 1992, I began my MSc. in Agriculture and Life Science, at Hirosaki University of Japan, which I completed in 1994. That same year, I began my PhD in Agriculture Sciences at the United Graduate School of Agriculture Sciences, Iwate University of Japan. However, after my 3rd year and having completed all required courses, I withdrew from the program to raise my second son. In 2001, my family moved to St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada  and I have worked as a research assistant for Dr. Sun since April 2003.  
 
    One of my major responsibilities is to train graduate students to master the techniques needed for their research projects. I am the only RA with long term experience in all molecular and genetic experiments required to complete the ongoing research in the Sun Lab and I am glad that I have made a significant contribution to Dr. Sun’s work; I have been a part of 4 CIHR funded studies and currerntly, I am working sedulously on the ongoing CODING Study, an adult association study concerning ones genes body weight, hormones and bone density. 
 
    My work is multifarious and dependent upon what study is being conducted. Over the past 7 years I have learned the following techniques:
-Isolation of plasma and serum from whole human blood.
-DNA isolation from human white blood cells and saliva.
-SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) genotyping using TaqMan technology
-Genome wide gene expression profiling using DNA microarrays 
-RNA extractions from human adipose tissues, muscles and white blood cells.
-Reverse transcription.
-Fluorescent dye labeling of cDNA.
-Hormone measurements from human plasma and serum using ELISA and RIA kits
-Measurements of human body composition and bone densities of whole body and spine and femur using a DXA machine.