Ting Jia (TJ) grew up in China and became interested in medical research early on because of his parents: His father, a marine chemist, taught him how to analyze chemical components; his mother, a doctor, showed her passion for patients.
TJ began his studies at the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences (WCGS) in 2004 after “falling in love” with the PhD program. “I loved how it offered a wide range of disciplines, amazing faculty and collaborations across research institutions,” he said. In 2009, he earned a PhD in immunology. TJ currently serves as a managing director at Hillhouse Capital Management, managing the firm’s investments in biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors.
Outside of work, he enjoys hiking and spending time with his wife and three sons.
As a first-year graduate student, I took on a challenging project while doing my lab rotations. The school offered me many opportunities with other research institutes in New York City. My first breakthrough in research came with much help from Rockefeller University. I was truly amazed by what we can achieve together as a coherent and collaborative group.
The solid scientific training at WCGS really enabled me to quickly dive into the science and clinical data and analyze the advantages of certain technologies and drugs over others. The professional network at WCGS has also allowed me to access the top minds in the industry and triangulate my own analysis. In addition, the unparalleled reputations of Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center has allowed me to more easily gain others’ trust.
WCGS offers wonderful opportunities for students to understand the fundamental scientific and clinical needs. “Innovation really means connecting those two concepts, in order to find a solution that is better than what we currently have. I would encourage today’s students to get some exposure to the clinical side by talking with physicians and medical students, since many great ideas may come from these conversations.
I learned that critical thinking and having a team-oriented mindset are invaluable assets for life. The scientific training we received at WCGS is not only about the detailed knowledge in our specific fields, but also involves how we approach a problem, how we dissect a problem, and how we find resources to solve that problem.
Spend time thinking about who you are and who you want to be. Then just go for it and have fun!