Students + Campus

UCLA summer program strengthens research, cultural ties with China

Chinese students receive cross-disciplinary training in science, technology

A group of Chinese undergraduates is about to get a crash course in what it's like to be an American college student — complete with dorm living, beach trips, blogging, nature hikes, nighttime concerts and, of course, some of the finest science and technology instruction in the world, here at UCLA.
The 77 students, who come from China's most prestigious universities, are part of UCLA's newly inaugurated Cross-disciplinary Scholars in Science and Technology (CSST) program, which promotes international educational exchanges, strengthens research ties with other countries, and fosters a cross-disciplinary approach to the study of science and technology by bringing the best and brightest international students to UCLA.
Beginning July 14, the Chinese students will spend their days working in cutting-edge laboratories and research facilities at UCLA's California NanoSystems Institute and elsewhere on campus with renowned scientists and professors from a wide range of campus departments.
The 10-week program will also give many of these students their first taste of American — and Southern Californian — culture, with lectures on California history, Hollywood and the entertainment industry, and the ethnic diversity of Los Angeles. And to make sure they don't miss a single opportunity to take advantage of the city's cultural and recreational offerings, they'll visit the Hollywood Bowl for an evening show, go hiking at Mt. Baldy and take trips to the beach on the weekends.
"We here at UCLA are very excited about the growing trend towards a global scholarly community," said Ren Sun, the program's director and associate dean of graduate studies at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "Thanks to the inauguration of CSST this summer, UCLA's exchange with China has grown to include additional universities, inviting top research students to study and utilize the world's top facilities at UCLA. Truly, CSST brings hope for a bright future of research advancement through international collaborations."
The CSST program, which encourages dialogue across the traditional boundaries dividing the sciences, is based at UCLA's California NanoSystems Institute, a model for cross-disciplinary collaboration because of the very nature of nanotechnology, an emerging science that draws from a number of different fields.
Sun and three other CSST faculty advisors — computer science professor Jason Cong, bioengineering associate professor Ben Wu and microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics professor Hong Zhou — are members of the California NanoSystems Institute.
The Chinese undergraduates, who are currently between their junior and senior years, hail from a number of top-tier universities, including Fudan, Nankai, Nanjing, Peking, Zhejiang and the University of Science and Technology of China.
After successfully completing the CSST summer research program, and with the support of their summer research mentor, the students may be eligible to return to UCLA to complete their bachelor's thesis and become candidates for UCLA doctoral programs.
The UCLA Cross-disciplinary Scholars in Science and Technology program seeks to strengthen ties with other countries by inviting highly accomplished trainees to complete their studies at UCLA. The CSST utilizes UCLA's strength in interdisciplinary research to provide a unique training environment for future leaders with broad vision. The program offers recruitment, selection, admission and training for international students interested in Ph.D. programs in various departments and research units across campus, including the life sciences and physical sciences divisions, the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, as well as for postdoctoral fellows and visiting students. For more information about CSST programs for graduate study, postdoctoral scholars and faculty exchange, visit

The California NanoSystems Institute is an integrated research center, operating jointly at UCLA and UC Santa Barbara, whose mission is to foster interdisciplinary collaborations for discoveries in nanosystems and nanotechnology; train the next generation of scientists, educators and technology leaders; and facilitate partnerships with industry, fueling the economic development and the social well-being of California, the United States and the world. The CNSI was established in 2000 with $100 million in funding from the state of California and an additional $250 million in federal research grants and industry funding. At the institute, scientists in the areas of biology, chemistry, biochemistry, physics, mathematics, computational science and engineering are measuring, modifying and manipulating the very building blocks of our world — atoms and molecules. These scientists benefit from an integrated laboratory culture enabling them to conduct dynamic research at the nanoscale, leading to significant breakthroughs in the areas of health, energy, the environment and information technology. For additional information, visit

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