A man poses in front of a gray background.

Graduate Student Spotlight: Xin Sui

Categories: Students

Chemistry Graduate Student Xin Sui describes his research and answers 20 random questions as part of the Graduate Student Spotlight series.

Originally from China, Xin Sui technically joined MIT in 2020, though due to the pandemic, he didn’t physically arrive to campus until summer 2021. A member of Professor Xiao Wang’s group, Xin works on developing new in situ sequencing methods to map the brain, especially the connectome, which is a comprehensive map of cell-type resolved neural “wiring diagram” in the brain.

“I am especially interested in developing novel chemical tools that dramatically enhance assay throughput and scalability to delineate the connectome landscape,” said Xin. “I hope those new methodologies could be applied to understand the molecular basis of different brain functions, such as working memory maintenance, emotion, touch, motor skills, vision, and every process that regulates our body.”

As the subject of this month’s Graduate Student Spotlight, Xin shares the most interesting place he’s visited, the bit of trivia he knows that is interesting, yet useless, the most heartwarming thing he’s ever seen, and more.

  1. What is the best vacation you’ve ever taken?
    A road trip with my family in California for 2.5 weeks at the end of 2018. After my exchange semester at UC Berkeley ended, my family and I started our road trip from Berkeley all the way down to San Diego.
  2. What bit of trivia do you know that is very interesting but also very useless?
    Perfumes and excrement are the same chemical substance. Skatole in small concentrations has a pleasant flowery smell and is used in perfumes. However, large concentration of skatole smells like excrement…
  3. What’s the best TV show you’ve ever seen?
    Breaking Bad.
  4. Where is the most interesting place you’ve been?
    Point Reyes in California. Here we can see bioluminescence on a dark night at certain times of the year. Bluish white flickers are clearly visible when paddling the water, as beautiful and amazing as the picture in the movie “Life of Pi”. Surely an amazing show for all the kayakers.
  5. What are you most looking forward to in the next decade?
    Full self-driving cars.
  6. What one thing do you really want but can’t afford?
    Ocean or beachfront luxury homes.
  7. What would be your ideal way to spend the weekend?
    Lying on the beach to simply admiring the afterglow parade of colors in a sunset.
  8. If you could know the truth behind every conspiracy, but you would instantly die if you hinted that you knew the truth, would you want to know?
    Nothing worth losing my life. Why bother knowing all these conspiracies. Just don’t worry be happy.
  9. What food do you crave most often?
    All kinds of seafood.
  10. What are some small things that make your day better?
    Temperature-control smart mug
  11. Who is on the guest list for your ideal dinner party?
    I would like to be surrounded by friends and loved ones who appreciate me, not for what I’ve accomplished but who I am as a man.
  12. If you had unlimited funds to build a house that you would live in for the rest of your life, what would the finished house be like?
    I would like contemporary (modern) design, having clean lines, geometric shapes, and uncluttered spaces. I would like large expanses of glass. Also, it must have smart home automation.
  13. If money and practicality weren’t a problem, what would be the most interesting way to get around town?
    Hot air balloon.
  14. What bends your mind every time you think about it?
    Death. Think about the world a thousand years after my death and everything in the universe has nothing to do with me.
  15. What is the most heartwarming thing you’ve ever seen?
  16. If you could pick any career other than the one you’ve chosen, what would it be?
    If I don’t consider all realistic issues, I would like to be a technology reviewer/YouTuber because I can be exposed to a variety of new high-tech and electronic gadgets at the first time.
  17. What inconsequential super power would you like to have?
    A superpower that can help me distinguish, “is he/she telling the truth?”. I don’t want to know what people really think of, but I just want to know whether what they say is true or not.
  18. What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?
    If we are talking about unrealistic things, then I would say flying to space and see if we can find the border of the universe. Talking about a realistic thing, I would say deep-sea diving.
  19. What’s something common from your childhood that will seem strange to future generations?
    Magnetic tape.
  20. What could you give a 40-minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?
    Many things: photography, Apple products, and all kinds of high-tech and electronic gadgets.

Many thanks to Xin for these thoughtful answers. Stay tuned for more Graduate Student Spotlights in the months to come!