Faculty of Science, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) - TSANG Tsz To Chandler (BIOL Year 3)

Faces of CUHK Science

“I have a lot of chances in learning different fields of sciences in both theoretical and practical level at CUHK Science.”

TSANG Tsz To Chandler 

(Biology, Year3)



Overseas experience paves the way for my research journey

I have chosen Biology programme in CUHK because CUHK has the most beautiful campus in Hong Kong, which allows myself to explore the biodiversity within the campus right after class! Personally, staying close to natural environment calms me down and gives me inspiration in both daily life and my study.

CUHK also provides great variety of programmes and courses for students to choose from, ranging from natural-science-based to molecular and biotechnology-based courses. For my case, I am a Biology student and minoring in Environmental Sciences because it is better to study organisms with knowledge on the always-changing environment where they inhabit in. I am also taking some molecular-based courses to enrich my knowledge in the ever-growing field of molecular biology.

In my three years of study in CUHK, I have been given a lot of chances in learning different fields of sciences in both theoretical and practical level. I was a volunteer in the Marine Science lab working on the molecular evolution of marine bacteria, which have sharpened my skills in working in a laboratory. In addition to the Nurturing Global Environment Leadership Programme that is organized by 4 Hong Kong local universities and Baylor University in Texas, I have learned a lot about land and resources management and how might us deal with environmental issues in Hong Kong. I am also honoured to be one of the participants of the first Berkeley Biosciences Study Abroad (BBSA) programme, which provided me with the chance to study and participate in a research project in one of the leading universities in biological sciences, University of California, Berkeley, for one semester. In the summer of my third year of study, I also participated in the Dedicated Research Exchange and Mentorship (DREAM) program which brought me to Germany for an internship about phylogeny and biogeography of crabs. I believe all these experiences and training have shaped me into a more open-minded and all-round biology student for the upcoming research project.

Currently, I am studying the phylogeny of the swimming crab family, Portunidae, which some of the members like blue crabs and mud crabs are crabs that we can find in wet markets (which are delicious!). They are interesting because they can be found in almost all marine habitats in the world and they exhibit incredible diversity in morphology and behaviour. However, understanding how they evolve to have such both morphological and behavioural diversities requires a credible and robust phylogenetic tree that gives us insight on the interspecific relationships between the members so that we could infer the evolutionary pathway that results in the present-day diversity.

Since I work mostly with genetics and phylogenetics in the research projects that I have participated in, we always have to sequence the organisms of interest. The unforgettable part of my research experience is definitely the "wow!" or "what?!" moment when you found something interesting in the DNA sequences from the organisms that are seemingly ordinary after some analysis. It is always refreshing to me when we find something interesting simply by studying the DNA sequences we obtained.