Yesterday I met my host Dr Zhou- and he was as gracious as I had hoped- prompt, friendly and relaxed. On the taxi over to my hotel we had a good talk about where we could help each other on this scientific exchange. What I find interesting is his tissue phantom work using optical coherence tomography (OCT) to characterize the vessel wall. He has not done work in vulnerable plaque in vessels- which is my interest. Could this be the intersection of interests that could lead to a collaboration? Who knows- what’s fun is that research is an organic process- it can’t be forced and we just have to see how things develop.
There is definitely a sense of energy, urgency in China as it strives to develop rapidly. I think that’s the reason, in part, for the country’s enthusiasm for outreach and exchange programs at this time. It’s wonderful to be a tiny part in this change, and take advantage of working with experts that want to be active collaborators. Even with this program I can certainly feel the oversight of the state, instructing where to stay, what my agenda should look like etc. I can understand the need for a highly structured and regulated approach even though sometimes the best ideas come from serendipity combined with wonder (just having fun). I realize this approach is very different than our system, but it’s also an opportunity to appreciate a very different culture.
My first day in the lab is today- wish me luck!