Saturday, December 01, 2007

Dr. Yu Junying wrote to hometown media

Dear tiptoe:

Thank you for your interest in our work. As for your question, it is a very complicated one. I don't think any one has any definite answer to that. Similar situations have been a very hot topic in research community: is the person who actually comes up with the idea and does the work get the main credit, or the principle investigator who has the money and runs the lab get it. Each person should make their own judgement independent of the media coverage as it is highly biased both territorially and racialy. Personally I think some people in China is making too much fuss about it in my case. It was my work with some help from my coauthors. However, this work would be impossible without the utmost support from Jamie, who is the principle investigator of the lab, since this whole project was extremely expensive, and we interacted intellectually throughout the whole project. There's no point in assigning the credit for the sake of science. So I would suggest you please leave this issue alone. Life is better spent doing something useful.

And if you do indeed go to see my parents, please send my regards. I simply couldn't speak the dialect, hence can not talk to them anymore.

Best wishes.

Junying Yu

Dr. Yu succeeded in producing stem cell from ordinary cell. The result was published in a paper on Science, of which Dr. Yu is the first author and correspondence author. The paper was acclaimed as a revolutionary breakthrough that potentially promised a cure for any disease known to people. A Japanese group also reported their success a few months earlier. The results achieved by the two groups are independent to each other.

While hailing for Dr. Yu's success, some oversea Chinese scholars were appalled by the last sentence in the above cited EMail. Although Dr. Yu has left China for 10 years, it's incomprehensible as to how can she not being able to speak to her parents. According to her parents in China, the last time Dr. Yu talked to her parents was 2 and half years ago.

For many Chinese, this is simply unacceptable.

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