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Global Experience at Yonsei’s Institute for Basic Science
The Yonsei Annals
Date: Aug 31, 2020

THROUGH THE structured glass panes of Yonsei University’s Institute for Basic Science’s Center for Nanomedicine (IBS CNM), postdoctoral fellow Dr. Daniel Rossi enjoys a view rather different from his home as he conducts research in the building’s cutting-edge laboratories. After completing his bachelor’s and doctorate degrees in Chemistry in Pennsylvania and Texas, respectively, Rossi came to work at the institution back in 2018 and has been working alongside the Yonsei community through IBS CNM’s Global Postdoctoral Fellowship (GPF) program. As a pioneer in the world’s efforts to merge various areas of science, Rossi enjoys the process of convergence through both his scientific research and his environment. In an interview with The Yonsei Annals, Rossi details his experiences at IBS CNM.


Annals: What inspired you to join Yonsei through IBS CNM’s GPF postdoctoral fellowship? What stood out the most for you when you were considering this option?

Rossi: I was recommended the program by my Ph.D. advisor, Professor Dong Hee Son. We had collaborated with Professor Cheon [Jinwoo]* on a number of projects throughout my Ph.D., so I had a good idea of the work that he was doing and how he manages his group. I figured it was a good environment for me. I really liked the idea of working for an institute focused on collaborative work, and the idea of working in a young program where I could have some room to help develop the basic structure seemed like a fun challenge.


Annals: What does your current research at Yonsei consist of, and what are the goals you are aiming to achieve?

Rossi: I am working on studying the photo-physical properties of perovskite nanomaterials. Perovskites are highly fluorescent quantum dots** which have a number of unique properties. We take these samples to cryogenic temperatures (-269 °C) and study how they interact with light. This type of research gives key insights into the basic nature of how materials interact with their environment. By removing many of the external factors such as oxygen, humidity, or heat, we can carefully control how we interact with the material. There are many applications for this: all modern display materials started in a cryostat*** in some lab somewhere before they were developed into your phone. Next-generation computing technologies such as quantum computers may rely heavily on the interactions between quantum dots and light at cryogenic temperatures.


Annals: How does the Global Postdoctoral Fellowship program at Yonsei contribute to you and your work in any distinctive way?

Rossi: [The program] gives me access to the really great scientific community and facilities at Yonsei. One of the most important aspects of science is communication with peers. This has been really easy here given the number of people working in the institute and the general push to keep people working together. One thing we have here is, very often, big collaborative group meetings. You kind of get involved with everyone’s experiments to some degree, so you have your thing you can contribute, and then you find a way to contribute to other people’s activities. There are many more projects here than where I did my Ph.D., so that gives me a much larger area to explore.


Annals: How has the fellowship enabled you to grow as a person and as a scientist?

Rossi: As far as personal growth goes, this fellowship allowed me to live in a new place, and I have had all the experiences associated with this. I had never really traveled outside the United States before coming here, so it has given me a lot of perspective on what it is like to be a “foreigner.” As a scientist, this program allowed me to establish an essentially independent research program within this institute. This was great for me because I got to deal with all of the problems and issues associated with building a new program.

This is pretty atypical for postdoctoral students who work into the fabric of a group and are usually responsible only for managing some science. I feel this will give me a huge advantage when it comes to managing my own research group in the future.


Annals: As a pioneer in the field, what do you think is most important when it comes to creating a global, collaborative environment? How do you think IBS CNM contributes to this process?

Rossi: To create a good global collaborative environment, I think it is important to not only find talented researchers from all areas of science, but also to include scientists educated in different places. We all learn the same general science; organic chemistry is the same in Korea and the United States, but we learn how to solve problems differently in every place. This is very clear when working with students from different places and really enhances both studying and research. In the United States, as we are educated, we are really taught to be very creative and out-of-the-box problem solvers, and the one thing that we lose is being more precise and detail-oriented. I noticed that with my Korean coworkers, here and in my Ph.D., they are all very detail-oriented. I think that’s a very good thing, especially for science, and it takes both: being creative but also paying attention to every last detail when you observe and analyze your findings.


Annals: Is there a valuable learning experience you’ve particularly had at Yonsei that you wouldn’t have had elsewhere?

Rossi: I think by working in science, you really get out what you put in. You can have similar valuable experiences at any institute by giving your willingness to make the effort. However, since there is so much research happening at Yonsei, and the collaborative efforts are so strong, it makes it easy to apply yourself, have meaningful interactions, and make meaningful contributions to the community.

Since the institute I am working in is a bit out of the research I did for my Ph.D., I have had a great opportunity to learn about this new field of science.


Annals: What advice would you give to aspiring scientists in the Yonsei community?

Rossi: While it is important to have a good understanding on your topic, like chemistry, physics, or biology, you should make sure to become an expert on something specific. Find something you enjoy studying and learn everything about it. This will really help you when you are looking for positions after your Ph.D. or masters, and you have a clear skill to sell.


*Professor Cheon Jinwoo is currently the director of IBS CNM.

**Quantum dots: Nano-scale semiconductor particles that emit light of various colors after being excited by light and are characterized by their compact structures as a result of their minimal size.

***Cryostat: A device that preserves cryogenic temperatures


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출처 : The Yonsei Annals(http://annals.yonsei.ac.kr)

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