Qin Xi joined PCU in summer 2022 to study for her PhD. Her research is on the economic evaluation of predictive genetic testing.
From Beijing to Yale
I have been interested in health care since I did my Bachelor’s thesis, which was on China’s public and private health insurance market. My B.A was in economics at Peking University.
Then I studied epidemiology at Yale for my M.S. And during my Masters study, I worked as a research assistant for several projects.
Accidentally, I started to do simulation modeling as part of the work and found it a fascinating methodology for expressing ideas on topics of my interest.
Another chance led me to health economics, especially studies involving cost-effectiveness analysis – I found it a perfect way to combine my interest in economics and health policy as well as methodological and technical aspects.
It also provides some of the career options that I find myself very interested in – both research work in academia and more practical work in industry. Then it became a natural choice to conduct further study in this field.
Selecting a PhD topic at PCU
When I came to PCU, I first wanted to do some topic related to cancer and talked to my supervisor – Professor Stephen Morris. Steve encouraged me to dig deeper and provided me with several potential directions of interest.
I found predictive genetic testing to be the most intriguing – how the genes we carried with us since birth influence our entire life, and how do human efforts reverse some unfavorable traits?
I think economists think on a ‘macro’ basis, and geneticists on a more ‘micro’ basis. Such different perspectives are interesting to me and inspired my own way of thinking, both in and out of the scope of academic research”.
I was a little ‘scared’ when I first travelled across the oceans (first the Pacific and now the Atlantic) and settled down in a new country. Cultural transitions were especially hard at first – people communicate in such different ways – even email greetings are different!!
However, it became better with all the friendly people around me. They are willing to help and welcoming.
I realized that communication is not difficult with sincerity – people may talk, behave and interact in different ways, but as long as we talk as openly as possible and with an attitude of mutual trust and understanding, cultural difference is not a big issue.
Life outside work
I like to travel – as a railway and aviation enthusiast. Another thing I enjoy doing in my spare time is reading detective novels – I’m a huge fan of Agatha Christie. Recently I’ve started to learn Japanese and enjoyed it very much.
Personally, I would be very interested to research the economics of pharmacogenetics, especially its application in mental health. I would also be interested in the economics of rare diseases, like Pompe disease, for example. I worked in a group on rare disease care when I interned at Sanofi. I’m keen to know how people address this topic in academia.