Zihao (Jim) Yuan: Humans of BioSciences

Meet Jim Yuan, an undergraduate student who has a passion for biology and fundamental mechanisms that drive the functioning of organisms.

Jim Yuan
What drew you to study biology?

I started out as a kid who liked to read and learn about animals in general, and being interested in the diversity and beauty of organisms. Later I became interested in the fundamental mechanisms that drive the functioning of organisms, especially in genetics, which seemingly underpins every aspect of life.

What did you enjoy most about studying at the University of Melbourne as a UMEP student, and now?

During VCE I did the University of Melbourne Extension Program (UMEP). The best part about UMEP was the privilege of being able to learn from lecturers who are the top researchers in their fields whilst being a high school student, without feeling too stressed about obtaining a perfect grade (the conversion to VCE aggregate decreases the difference). Then and now, I enjoy the opportunities to perform experiments as part of the subjects, as well as the research opportunities that followed

What biosciences subjects are you studying now? What do you enjoy most about these subjects?

In the current semester I am studying Genes: Organisation & Function as part of my genetics major; in previous years I completed Principles of Genetics, Experiments in Genetics, Evolutionary Genetics and Human and Medical Genetics. For me, the most enjoyable aspect of these subjects is how they are linked to my casual research position. Being able to learn something in a course and immediately apply it to my work, or the other way around, is a pleasure.

What advice would you give to VCE students thinking of studying biology?
  1. Whether you are in an exam or writing any science/biology communication, be as specific and detailed as you can.
  2. Don’t feel that you are in the wrong field just because some particular content is not very interesting for you. If you like biology, you will identify facilitating content that you feel passionate about.
  3. Talk to current students about studying biology so you can get a feeling for the pathway that is right for you. I went straight into UMEP and later the Bachelor of Biomedicine because I knew that was exactly what I wanted.

The University of Melbourne Extension Program (UMEP) in biology gives high achieving Year 12 VCE students the opportunity to advance their education by studying first-year university subjects in biology while still completing their VCE. Students attend workshops and practical classes with university students at the Parkville campus, and may either attend tutorials and lectures on campus or at a school centre supervised by a VCE teacher trained in UMEP teaching.

'Humans of BioSciences' is a special new series to introduce the School of BioSciences' undergrad and postgrad students, our academics, professional staff and associates.