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This is a podcast from the Nuffield Department of Medicine (NDM). Today we spoke to Xi Li about his experiences as a student at the University of Oxford.

Hi Xi

XL: Hi

Q: Why did you decide to study for a DPhil?

XL: Well it’s quite a coincidence. I was a medical student so in the final year being a junior doctor, I have seen a lot of cancer patients, and very limited clinical treatments are available to those cancer patients. So that makes me feel interested in medical science the research in cancer.

Q: Can you tell us about your research?

XL: Sure, so my research is about HPV related hepatocellular carcinoma. So basically, there are more than 300 million people infected by HPV and about 1/3 of the disease burden is in China.  And in chronically infected patients, a great proportion of people will develop cancer. Currently, the treatment is just available to some of the patients and the prognosis is not very satisfactory. So we're working to use immunological ways to recognise and characterise this specific type of cancer.

Q: What made you interested in your particular field of research?

XL: When it comes to HPV related hepatocellular carcinoma so a lot of patients will develop to cancer from chronic infection and very limited treatments are available to the patients. Especially as it depends on a variety of parameters, such as the patient’s cancer location, their general condition etc. So, we will like to recognise this disease from a logical view to potentially find a new way to treat these patients, to use our own immune system to kill cancer and to clear the virus ideally. So this makes me interested in this.

Q: Why did you apply to Oxford?

XL: Before applying to Oxford, I had a two-month rotation here in professor Tao’s lab. That's where I found my interest in medical sciences. It's also my first time to capture medical research, and I find it really interesting, and it can provide some new therapeutic approaches to the disease, which is hard to find in the clinic. So that's one of the reasons why I decided to apply for this degree at Oxford.

Q: What has surprised you about oxford?

XL: There are many things that have surprised me at Oxford but the best of two things here is that, first, many people around me in the department are very kind, they are very professional in science. Whenever you have a problem, they are always willing to help which helps me to learn more knowledge here. The second thing is that the tradition at Oxford is very unique. Before coming to the UK, I didn’t know the college system in the university but Oxford has preserved this tradition in a very good way and I am enjoying it very much.

Q: What are the best things about studying here?

XL: In academia, the best thing for me is that there are many great people around me. Whenever I have a question, they are always willing to help me. In this way, I learned a lot of knowledge and in my personal life, I like Oxford a lot, because I can enjoy the unique Oxford life here like punting. I’ve never tried this before when I was in other countries or in china but this is really relaxing for me.

Thank you very much, Xi.

XL: Thank you.