Entomology graduate student is devoted to learning more about insect biology and adaptations

Zinan Wang is dedicated to better understand the genetic and molecular mechanisms of an insect and their ability to adapt to diverse and extreme environments.

Zinan Wang

Name: Zinan Wang

Hometown: Jingdezhen, China, the city also known as “the Porcelain Capital of China.”

Previous education: BS at Beijing Forestry University in Beijing, China; MS at Louisiana State University in Louisiana.

Major professorHenry Chung

What are you researching? I study the genetic mechanisms underlying the evolution of a waxy layer on an insect’s body surface called cuticular hydrocarbons, which have roles in preventing water loss and, therefore, resisting desiccation.

Why study entomology? I am so intrigued by an insect’s fabulous adaptations to diverse and extreme environments such as the extremely arid desert and the cold Antarctic. The deep understanding of the genetic and molecular mechanisms underlying these adaptations can help predict how species evolve to cope with changing environments like global warming. Recent advances of molecular biology techniques also allow easier genetic manipulation in insect species and further promote entomological studies with deeper understanding of the genetic mechanisms underlying different traits.

What or who inspired your interest in entomology? The lectures and research from my bachelor’s and master’s studies in entomology made me realize how amazing insects are. The more I learn, the more I feel I do not fully understand many aspects of insect biology, which is why I am motivated to keep learning.

What is your favorite activity or responsibility as part of your graduate studies? Conducting experiments in the laboratory. I enjoy the moments when I obtain data from experiments to test my hypotheses.

What is your favorite thing about MSU? The diverse resources here for supporting scientific research, including plenty of brilliant professors and graduate students and technical support from different departments.

What is your favorite insect? Fruit flies (Drosophila spp.) are one of my favorite insect groups because not only do they have diverse morphology but also various physiological evolutions. These tiny flies have been the model to answer many biological questions. The implications from fruit fly studies provide me chances to better know the biology and nature of all animals, including us, humankind.

What is your favorite way to spend your time outside of your studies? I like watching science fiction movies or TV series, which imagine how science and technology may evolve and change our life.

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