Chemistry Graduate Student Mengshan Ye describes her research and answers 20 random questions as part of the Graduate Student Spotlight series.
Mengshan Ye came to MIT in 2017. She grew up in Yuyao, a small city in eastern China with 7000 years of history. As a member of Professor Dan Suess‘ group, Mengshan’s research focuses primarily on the iron-sulfur clusters, which play an important role in enormous biological process. She is currently investigating site-differentiated [Fe4S4] clusters, postulated synthetic analogues to the biological iron-sulfur clusters, especially the organometallic intermediate in radical S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM) enzymes. Studies of the spectroscopic features and reactivities of these clusters may advance our understanding of the native enzyme systems.
As the subject of this month’s Graduate Student Spotlight, Mengshan shares the movie universe she would least like to live in, the book she knows the most quotes from, her vision for the perfect bar, and more!
- How did you decide to do the work you are doing now?
I’m always interested in synthetic chemistry because I will have a feeling that I am creating a new world. And it’s cool if I have chance to approach iron-sulfur clusters that are among the most complicated and elegant clusters in biological system. More iron, more chances!
- When you are old, what do you think children will ask you to tell stories about?
Children always like games. I guess they may ask me what games we are playing now.
- What movie, picture, or video always makes you laugh no matter how often you watch it?
A collection of the TV News Bloopers fails.
- What’s the most interesting documentary you’ve ever watched?
A bite of China. A kind reminder: do not watch it when you are hungry.
- What movie universe would be the worst to live out your life in?
It’s the distant future in the movie The Wandering Earth, where the sun is aged and people are trying to propel the earth out of the solar system to survive. At that time, humans have to live under the earth due to the harsh weather on the ground.
- What’s the most ridiculous animal on the planet?
Sloth for its extremely languid and sluggish pace.
- What scientific discovery would change the course of humanity overnight if it was discovered?
Controllable nuclear fusion.
- What would your perfect bar look like?
When you open the door of one side of the bar, you are surrounded with loud music and exciting people. And when you step into the other side, the world suddenly becomes quiet and allows you to drink alone for whatever reasons.
- What movie or book do you know the most quotes from?
Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
- What unethical experiment would have the biggest positive impact on society as a whole
Human gene editing experiments. I would say it’s one of the most unethical and dangerous experiments now. It may have the biggest positive or negative impact. Time will tell.
- What food do you crave most often?
- What did you believe for way too long as a child?
Watermelon seeds will cause a watermelon to grow in the stomach if you eat them.
- What’s the most amazing place in nature you’ve been?
Heavenly Pit in Chongqing, China.
- What’s the best thing about the place you grew up?
My hometown has the best myrica rubra in China!
- What is your guilty pleasure?
Eating desserts at night.
- What is the silliest fear you have?
I actually have many silly fears and I really do not know which it’s the silliest. When sitting under the ceiling fan, I’m afraid if the fan would drop and hit my head. When sleeping on the top of a bunk bed, I’m always worrying if I would fall out at night. And then if I sleep in the lower level and stare at the top bunk, I would think if it would suddenly get cracked and the person on the top bunk drop onto me.
- Do you like reality TV shows? Why or why not? If so, which ones?
Yeah. It’s interesting to see a different life track that I may never be able to experience. My favorite TV show is Super Vocal.
- What song always puts you in a good mood?
The Greatest Show.
- What apps have changed your life a lot?
Looking back my last year in my undergraduate, I would say apps for food delivery really changed my lifestyle.
- Where would you like to travel next?
Many thanks to Mengshan for these thoughtful answers! Stay tuned for more Graduate Student Spotlights in the months to come!