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Jin Lee

Fresh Faces: Boyang Zhang August 1, 2018

Welcome to Fresh Faces. In this series, we’re highlighting 43 Engineering faculty members, all hired within the last five years, who are doing interesting and innovative things in the lab and the classroom.

Hired in 2018 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, Boyang Zhang is one of McMaster Engineering’s newest faculty members. Recently featured in a nature article on stem-cell technology, Zhang is building human tissues to aid in drug discovery and tissue regeneration. During his downtime, he enjoys spending time with his wife and making sushi. 

On making human tissues and organs

We’re trying to make human organs. That's the ultimate goal. But, before that, we are building micro tissue models for predictive drug discovery as well as macro tissues that can be used to repair damaged tissues in patients.

I like to do hands-on work and tackle a complicated system, and perhaps nothing is more complicated than human organs.

I really like the fact that my work has a lot of commercialization potential. This means we get to distribute the technology to many people. I think you can start to make a positive impact to society when many people are benefitting from your technology.

It's really a collaborative research project we’re doing. It's not just engineering. We’re working with clinicians and biologists to help them tackle difficult clinical challenges and answer complex biological questions.  

On life at home

My wife is everything that I'm not. She is outgoing and very organized. I think she makes me a better person.

I like cooking and barbequing with my wife. Recently, we have been trying to perfect barbeque ribs. We also love cooking Chinese stir-fries and making sushi. 

On then and now 

I was born in a small town in northern China called Fushun and moved to Atlanta when I was in high school. I learned English in China, but after I moved to the U.S. I realized I actually don’t speak much English at all. It took me many years to adapt to the new lifestyle so I can relate to the experience that many international students will likely have to go through when they first come to Canada.

I decided to pursue chemical engineering simply because I had a very good chemistry teacher in my fourth year of high school. High school teachers can absolutely have a significant influence on one’s career.

Before McMaster, I was a post-doc at the University of Toronto.  My happiest moment was when Carlos Filipe [Chair, Chemical Engineering] told me I landed the position at McMaster. It's really my first job so it's a new chapter in my life.

Inside the lab

I try to take the most beautiful images of cells or tissues.

Outside the lab…

I hang out with students and talk science.

Read more Fresh Faces profiles.