Behind-the-Scene: Jiujun Cheng

Dr. Jiujun Cheng is the Director of Technology Applications at Metagenom Bio. He received his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry at the Yan’an University in China. He then did a Master’s of Science in Biochemistry at the Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry, Chinese Academy of sciences. He then moved to Europe and completed his PhD in Biochemistry at Swansea University in the United Kingdom. Cheng (which is what he goes by) is also working as a Research Associate at the Department of Biology at the University of Waterloo.

I asked Cheng several fun questions and these are his answers.

What is your role in Healthy Hydroponics and what do you do?

I extract DNA from hydroponic samples, design PCR primers, amplify DNA-based markers, and sequence the markers by next-generation sequencing technology.

From your perspective, what is the most exciting thing about Healthy Hydroponics?

I enjoy the challenge to extract marker DNA from various types of samples, especially those which have very low biomass. I am also pleased that I am able to generate high-quality sequencing data for profiling hydroponic microbiomes.

What are your interests/passions outside of work or academia? 

I like spending time with my family and reading books.

If you could learn one new skill, what would it be?

I would like to learn some carpentry skills.

Do you have any pets?

I used to have two adopted shorthair cats. The older one passed away last year at the age of 15 years. I will adopt another one or two soon.

What is one city that you wish to travel to and why?

I hope to visit Rome one day to see the amazing arts and architecture.

What made you want to study?

I am fascinated by the cyanobacterium, Gloeothece, during my PhD study. It can fix atmospheric nitrogen to ammonium either in dark or light. The rate of nitrogen fixation is regulated by nitrogenase synthesis and modification. 

Have you completed anything on your “bucket list?”

I am pleased that I’ve travelled to five countries in Europe.

Do you have a favourite bacteria or microorganism and why?

Sinorhizobium (or Ensifer) is a soil-dwelling microorganism. It can establish a nitrogen-fixing symbiosis on legume roots and converts atmospheric nitrogen to ammonium which is beneficial to host plants.

What is your motto in life?

Have courage and be kind.

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