A U.S.-China Odyssey: Building a Better Mouse Map

The New York Time profiles a Chinese geneticist at Yale and looks at why Chinese scientists abroad are increasingly moving back home:

Dr. Xu now leaves Yale for Shanghai about three months a year. Other American scientists of Chinese descent are moving for good, lured by a lavishly financed government campaign that offers foreign scientists ample money and a chance to make waves in what is still a small research pond.

BUT were money the only issue, Dr. Xu might not be here. For while he is a thoroughly naturalized American, Shanghai and Fudan are where he was born, and where he ultimately found his calling. He left China for the United States 27 years ago, chasing a dream he thought unattainable here.

Dr. Xu does not want China’s young scientists to be denied their dreams, and not every aspiring Chinese scientist is lucky enough to make it to Yale.

“This has made students realize it’s possible to do first-class research in China,” he said in a long interview at his spartan Fudan office, one wall covered by a scribble-filled whiteboard. “That’s a very important change in the mind-set. It makes them more willing to take on high-risk projects and ask big questions.”


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