Zhaoyu Li

May 06, 2020

Portrait: Zhaoyu Li

Zhaoyu Li    

Henan, China

PhD, Computer Science

Faculty Advisor
Yi Shang

Where did you complete your undergraduate study?
BS, Beijing Jiaotong University and University of Missouri; MS, University of Missouri 

Why did you choose Mizzou for your graduate program?
At the very beginning, I came here as an undergraduate student in Computer Science. As I learned more and more in this field, I realized the importance of knowledge to solve problems in the real world. The people here are so nice, and the projects here are so challenging and meaningful. I strongly felt this is the right place for me to continue my graduate study to hone my skills and get chances to make contributions in the real world. 

Tell us about your graduate research.  What are some potential outcomes or applications?
My current graduate research is mainly about protein structure prediction using deep learning techniques. Protein structure prediction is of great importance in bioinformatics and computational biology. It can help to discover new drugs for disease, make vaccines, etc. The traditional methods to do protein structure prediction (like NMR or X-ray) are very costly and time-consuming, and we are providing help to reduce the cost and accelerate the process. For example, our applications can do structure prediction for COVID-19 related proteins, and those results would be very helpful to know the properties of this virus and discover vaccines. 

What are some accomplishments you’ve achieved at Mizzou that you’re especially proud of?
I have got a lot of opportunities to publish and go to conferences to show our research and also learn from others. As a researcher, it is necessary to show your work to others in the same field to get feedback, which can help to make the research better. I also cherish the fellowships with my advisor and lab mates very much. They are not only the coworkers but also the friends in my daily life. I always believe friends are the most important because other things will fade but friends will not, and with those people we can keep making progress together.

What do you hope to do after you complete your degree?
I’ll still dive into the field of Computer Science. There are many real-world problems to be solved and computers can greatly help, especially by the development of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. That is also the main reason of starting my graduate study. I have spent time and effort in this field, and I will give back to the industry to make real products to solve problems and make life better.