Member Spotlight

Ching-Ju (Ruu) Hsu


A love for crime TV shows inspired Ruu to develop an interest in science from a young age. As she watched the forensic scientists in CSI, NCIS, and Criminal Minds use science to solve crimes, she resolved to become a scientist herself. Biomedical science, like forensic science, allows her to work with human samples, which is her favorite part of doing medical research because it enables scientists to learn directly from the patients. While earning her Bachelor’s degree at China Medical University, she began researching stem cell therapies for Parkinson’s disease.

Ruu came to Los Angeles from Taiwan in 2017 to begin her Master’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine at USC Keck School of Medicine. Here, she joined Dr. Zlokovic’s lab, where she researched the breakdown of the blood-brain barrier in Alzheimer’s disease.

While Ruu is an experienced neuroscience researcher, she recently decided to change her focus after learning that her father was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. In September, she will be starting a new position as a lab technician supporting the USC Convergent Science Initiative in Cancer (CSI-Cancer). She is particularly interested in genomics and precision medicine.

As a woman in STEM, Ruu feels frustrated by some of the gender stereotypes within Asian culture, such as the concept that women should not pursue higher education and should instead sacrifice their career goals for their families. She is grateful to come from a very supportive family that understands her goals and she is inspired by other female scientists who have made important contributions to their fields.

Ruu likes being surrounded by the film industry in Los Angeles, and in her spare time, she likes to see Broadway shows and movies. She also enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, and exploring the city.

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