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Education / Graduate Education / Current Students / SMD International Students


The World at SMD

SMD is home to a number of international students, with four pursuing a PhD. As a trainee, you’ll join a welcoming and diverse community from many different backgrounds and more than (number) countries.

Hear from a few of our current trainees joining us from Vietnam, China, India, and Malaysia about why they chose Rochester, as well as what life is like as an international student at our institution.

Get to know our international students:

Gayathri Guru Murthy, M.S. Student
Bengaluru, India

Gayathri Guru Murthy

All the professors that I have interacted with are very supportive. They really listen to you."

Gayathri Guru Murthy is from Bengaluru, sometimes known as Bangalore, in India. Gayathri is a graduate student at the University of Rochester pursuing the immunology track in the MS Microbiology Program. She is also considering getting a PhD.

Gayathri’s educational journey

She was working on her undergraduate research thesis when she first attended the University of Rochester in 2018 as an undergraduate student in the Biochemistry and Biophysics Department. Gayathri returned to Rochester in 2019 to pursue a Master's in Microbiology and Immunology after earning her Bachelor's Degree in India. Her current research focuses on maternal-fetal medicine, women's health, and the immune system during pregnancy. Her objective as a scientist is to eliminate misinformation by becoming an expert in her field, a skilled communicator, and informing the public about immunology and the human body.

What is the experience like as an international student at the University of Rochester?

As an international student, Gayathri appreciates the supportive, collaborative, and helpful environment on campus. In addition, she always has support from her professors and fellow students, encouraging her to continue her education here.

"All the professors that I have interacted with are very supportive. They really listen to you and help you."

What on-campus organizations is Gayathri a part of?

She participates actively in the University of Rochester's Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). She manages the SACNAS Instagram account, where she posts about the society's dedication to fostering the professional success of Native American and Hispanic scientists. Gayathri is also very passionate about the society's mission and values the unity of the student community.

"SACNAS has helped me find like-minded people and is a safe space for everyone."

What are Gayathri’s favorite things to do in Rochester?

She loves the food in Rochester and the variety of choices she has. The main reason for her enjoyment of cooking is Rochester. She also appreciates local events and parks, especially Highland Park.

Yue Peng, Ph.D. Candidate
Beijing, China

Yue Peng, MD

There are more events than I thought there would be… there is always something that’s going on.” 

Meet Yue Peng from Beijing, China. Yue is a PhD student who studies lymphatic function and researches rheumatoid arthritis with our Pathology Residency Program in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. Yue decided to pursue a PhD at the University of Rochester after finishing her undergraduate studies at Nanjing University, and earning her master's degree at New York University.

How did Yue hear about the University of Rochester?

Yue became interested while studying at Nanjing University after learning about a fellow student’s positive and rewarding experience at the University. Her passion for education and groundbreaking medical research led her to pursue her PhD at the University of Rochester.

What ultimately made her want to attend?

When deciding on PhD programs, Yue ultimately chose to attend the University of Rochester because of her positive experience during her interview process, praising the welcoming atmosphere. Additionally, Yue values quality education, and the University’s high ranking in the U.S. News & World Report: Best Colleges helped support her decision.  

What is it like for Yue being an international student here?

Yue is impressed by the variety of events in Rochester and values the sense of community that the University of Rochester provides.

“There are more events than I thought there would be… there is always something that’s going on.” 

What are some of Yue’s favorite things to do in Rochester?

Despite Yue’s years of living in big cities such as China’s capital of Beijing and New York City, Yue doesn’t favor the hustle and bustle of city life. Instead, she prefers the slower pace of life and the bucolic landscape of Rochester, with its abundance of outdoor sports and activities such as skiing and hiking, which is the best way Yue gets her exercise. One of her favorite hiking destinations in the area is Letchworth State Park.

Linh Le, Ph.D. Candidate

Linh Le, MD

Rochester has an amazing food scene. There are a lot of really good restaurants."

Get to know our international student, Linh Le, from Vietnam. Linh is a graduate student in the Neuroscience Graduate Program. This program has allowed Linh and many other graduate students to design their curriculums to broaden their perspective of neuroscience.  

Linh’s educational journey

Linh started her academic career by majoring in accounting and business, but soon changed to biology. After she switched, Linh began researching infectious diseases, focusing on how air pollution affects human lungs. She was initially drawn to this research due to the emerging health crisis in Vietnam brought on by exposure to air pollution. However, Linh expanded her interests during her education journey by enrolling in neuroscience classes and developed a fascination for understanding the human brain.

"I really really love how intricate the brain is." 

What made her want to attend the University of Rochester?

After reading about Professors Ania Busza, MD, PhD, and Carrie Dykes' study on Alzheimer's disease, Linh was motivated to attend the University of Rochester. Her dedication to pursuing a degree at the University was motivated by her passion for neuroscience, her concern for degenerative brain disorders, and her desire to improve patient outcomes.

Linh’s experience as an international student

As an international student, Linh has always felt welcomed at the University of Rochester. Additionally, she has fostered valuable connections with her colleagues and supportive professors on and off campus.

What are some of Linh’s favorite things to do in Rochester?

The food in Rochester is one of Linh's favorite aspects of the city. She was thrilled to learn about the area's high-quality and diverse restaurants.

"Rochester has an amazing food scene. There are a lot of really good restaurants."

Duy Nguyen, M.D./Ph.D. Student

Duy Nguyen, MD/PhD Student

Meet our international student from Vietnam, Duy Nguyen. He is a Ph.D student currently enrolled in the Biomedical Genetics and Genomics Program and the Medical Scientist Training Program, both of which provide him with the opportunity to learn about and use cutting-edge experimental genetics systems. His primary focus of study is the activation of the zygotic genome in developmental epigenetics. Duy completed his undergraduate work at Amherst College before enrolling at the University of Rochester.

What made Duy want to attend the University of Rochester? 

Duy is fascinated by the research being conducted at the University of Rochester, which is one of the main reasons he wanted to pursue his PhD here. 

What is Duy's experience of working in a laboratory?

Duy studies in the Murphy lab, instructed by Dr. Patrick Murphy. His lab analyzes the processes through which genes are turned on or off as a cell changes states. In addition, they research how epigenetic marks regulate gene expression patterns and trigger cell state transitions using the zebrafish model, mammalian stem cells, and human cancer cell lines. 

What are some of his favorite things to do in Rochester? 

Outside of working in a lab, Duy is an outdoor enthusiast passionate about hiking and fishing. He appreciates that Rochester has several hiking paths nearby. Letchworth State Park is one of his favorite places to trek and explore, and Lake Ontario, one of the Great Lakes, is his favorite fishing spot in New York. 

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