TRP Student Receives Prestigious 2022-23 GSEF Merit Scholarship
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MHSc in Translational Research

TRP Student Receives Prestigious 2022-23 GSEF Merit Scholarship

TRP | August 2022

Xianyi (Lance) Liang, Translational Research Program student receives the sought after University of Toronto, Temerty Faculty of Medicine Merit Scholarship for International Students

The GSEF Merit Scholarship for International Students continues the award’s long-standing tradition of recognizing outstanding students who demonstrate a high standard of achievement. This scholarship, awarded by the Office of Vice Dean, Research and Health Science Education through the Temerty Faculty of Medicine provides a wealth of innovative academic opportunities, continually attracting outstanding students from around the world.

This is one of twenty annual scholarships valued at $5,000 each to international master’s students starting their second year of studies and who have demonstrated the highest degree of academic excellence. Candidates are nominated by their Graduate Unit and the scholarships are adjudicated by the Temerty Faculty of Medicine Graduate Awards Committee.

We’re proud to announce that this year, Lance Liang, a Translational Research Program student is on the recipient’s scroll for his exceptional accomplishments and passion to be the change he wants to see in the world.

We spoke to Lance about his journey, the experiences that won him this scholarship, and his future aspirations. Read on to learn more about Lance and why this award matters.

My name is (Lance) Xianyi Liang, and I am a Chinese international student. Before becoming a TRPer, I studied obesity and type-2 diabetes as a researcher at Peking University in Beijing.

I suffered from anorexia in middle school and have lived with disordered eating behaviors ever since. My personal objective in conducting obesity-related research was to learn more about diet, obesity, and physical and mental health.

However, I was somewhat dissatisfied with what I was doing in the lab, as it was extremely paper-driven. I had a great time exploring basic science, designing research, and publishing papers, which was enjoyable and rewarding, but I sometimes doubted the significance and impact of my research. I didn’t believe that the work I was doing was helping real people and recognized a significant gap in knowledge translation.

I began exploring other opportunities in the field, and that’s when I learned about the incredible translational research program at the University of Toronto, where I am now a student. During my first year in the TRP, I have had numerous awe-inspiring experiences, and I am beginning to appreciate the “difficulty” and the process of rephrasing the difficulty to ensure a real-world impact. So, here I am, fully aware of how little I know about the healthcare system in the real world, with the hope that one day I will be able to effect real change.

Here at the TRP, I continue to focus on eating disorders and disordered eating, but this time I hope to assist real people suffering from an unhealthy relationship with food alongside my amazing TRP colleagues. Our current project is centered on the creation and development of an intervention that will enable those with eating disorders to receive adequate care. We hope that this project will increase recognition and comprehension of eating disorders in order to prevent their development and reduce the risk of adverse long-term health effects.

I am ecstatic to be awarded this merit scholarship for international students. It can be challenging to be an international student in a new environment. Having this financial assistance will not only alleviate my monetary burden but also give me a great deal of psychological encouragement and support.

I will continue to be involved in eating disorder research in the future. I intend to apply artificial intelligence and machine learning to the diagnosis, treatment, and care of eating disorders. Using machine learning and brain imaging to improve the early detection of anorexia nervosa.

We’d like to congratulate Lance on this wonderful achievement and wish him all the best for his future endeavours.