February 19, 2024

Visiting int’l trainee receives research fellowship award

A visiting medical student from China has garnered an American Heart Association (AHA) fellowship to support his research.

Eugene Chen and Hongyu Liu in Chen's UMMS lab
Professor of Cardiology Eugene Chen (left) and his mentee Hongyu Liu in Dr. Chen's UMMS lab.

Hongyu Liu, a Xiangya School of Medicine student at Central South University, is the recipient of a 2024 Predoctoral Fellowship to help fund his work on abdominal aneurysms for the next two years. Liu is part of a dual-degree program through which CSU students spend five years learning research in Ann Arbor to earn their PhD.  

“It's an incredible honor to receive this fellowship, confirming that I am on a meaningful path with my research endeavors,” Liu said.

He is among the first cohort of Xiangya students selected for the PhD program, which combines courses through the UMMS Program in Biomedical Sciences (PIBS) with five years in the research lab of a UMMS faculty mentor. Participants earn their PhD from U-M and return to China to complete their final year of MD training.

Liu’s UMMS mentor is Eugene Chen, MD, PhD, Frederick G.L. Huetwell Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, who leads the Michigan Medicine-Central South University training partnership. Liu is the first CSU student to receive a fellowship from the AHA.

"Hongyu's dedication to his project and his eagerness to enhance his research capabilities have been truly noteworthy,” said Chen. “This fellowship not only stands as a testament to his potential, but also reaffirms CSU's decision to entrust their brightest minds to us.”

Liu’s investigations focus on the genetic mechanisms of abdominal aortic aneurysms. When he returns to China after completing his PhD program, he plans to become a vascular surgeon, using both his clinical and research skills to help his patients and advance his field.

“For me as a vascular surgeon, I want to focus on those patients who may be underestimated and overlooked,” Liu said. “My goal is to use the most advanced research techniques to investigate vascular diseases and push this field forward.