Ling Lin

Junior Ling Lin is an undergraduate researcher within the UNC College of Arts & Sciences double-majoring in chemistry and Asian studies. She is also a McNair Scholar and a Chancellor’s Science Scholar. Her research focuses on developing novel antiplatelet therapeutics to inhibit blood clot formation and prevent the risk of heart attack and stroke.

a young Chinese girl in a lab coat pipettes fluid into a vial
April 4th, 2018

When you were a child, what was your response to this question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Describe your research in five words.

“Stop abnormal clotting. Save lives.”

I grew up in a small rural town near the coast of China. As a child, I wanted to become a space traveler because I loved to lie on the rooftop and let my imagination wander off into the starry sky during hot summer nights. In my tiny head, I was fascinated by the idea of the universe and exploring outer space.

Share the pivotal moment in your life that helped you choose your field of study.

Growing up, science was always my forte, particularly biology. In high school, during an experiment testing the light-changing properties of different compounds, I discovered the beauty of chemistry. During the observation, I got so excited that I almost caught my ponytail on fire from knocking over a Bunsen burner. It wasn’t until I got to college that I discovered I could combine both my passion for biology and chemistry.

Ling (left) hikes with friends at Grandfather Mountain during fall break.

Ling (left) hikes with friends at Grandfather Mountain during fall break.

Tell us about a time you encountered a tricky problem. How did you handle it and what did you learn from it?
Over the summer, I worked on an independent project on the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. My experiments kept failing, and I was constantly frustrated with myself because I thought I was the reason that the experiments failed. I finally stopped beating myself up for things I had no control over and focused on what I could do to solve the problem. In stepping out of my comfort zone to ask for help, I gained a unique perspective by working with a diverse group of people from different research and ethnic backgrounds. I took this failure as an opportunity to grow, and it made me realize the importance of diversity and building a strong community.

What are your passions outside of science?

Being an immigrant makes it hard for me to stay in touch with my culture, especially when it comes to figuring out my identity. I love to read Chinese literature because I find it to be the best way for me to stay connected with my roots and learn Mandarin. I am proud to be Asian-American and celebrate my heritage. I also love hiking with my friends. Being in nature relaxes me and helps me enjoy life even more.

Women in Science Wednesday highlights UNC researchers at all levels of their careers across dozens of fields. From nursing to economics to computer science, women at Carolina excel in research, mentorship, and advocacy. Click here to nominate an exceptional scientist.