Dr. Xiaoqiu Dou

Current professional background

I am currently a researcher at the Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China.

Field of research

Physical chemistry and material science, my research specialities include the development of stimuli-responsive supramolecular hydrogels, the utilisation of structures found in rose petals to improve cancer cell detection efficiency, and the development of 3D cell cultures.

Purpose of your last research visit

I have used my time in Siegen to conduct some post-doctoral research into various research projects. One of those projects was using the natural structures found in rose petals to improve the detection efficiency of cancer cells in the bloodstream. We use structures found in rose petals and other natural materials because they are difficult to replicate artificially. By detecting cancer cells in the blood stream, we are able to detect the stage at which the cancer is at the beginning, which is very useful for determining the best course of treatment.

Another exciting project is developing 3D cell cultures for drug testing. Traditional drug testing utilised 2D cell sheets, which did not resemble the 3D cell spheroids found in actual tumours. Through my research here in Siegen I was able to form 3D cell structures inside cultures, which more closely resemble the structures found in actual tumours. This will hopefully make the testing of certain types of cancer drugs more efficient.

Relation to the University of Siegen andthe local host

I got to know Prof. Dr. Schönherr through my PhD advisor, who was himself a PhD student of Prof. Dr. Schönherr. In 2016 I received a Humboldt Scholarship which enabled me to come to Siegen to complete my post-doctoral work. I stayed in Siegen until January 2018, when I returned to Shanghai.

Future projects and Activities

The University of Siegen is currently working on a project application to set up a permanent joint research programme with some research clusters in Shanghai. If this application were successful then we would be able to receive further funding, enabling more research collaborations between both institutions. We also have many more aspects of our research which we hope to continue investigating, such as the impact of the chirality (a kind of cell orientation, such as a left or right handed screw) on treatment methods.

Impressions of Siegen

Siegen is a nice small town, I like it very much, it is quiet here. In Shanghai there are traffic jams, and on the bus its very crowded, every day on the bus in Siegen I can have a seat and a short sleep. With regards to my research, I can totally focus on it without having to worry about maintenance of lab equipment et cetera. This support means that and the outcome speed is a bit quicker than in China.