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We Are Lilly Scientists...

  • Meet Lilly biologist Ling Liu, Ph.D., a senior research fellow in our discovery research group.

  • Ling looking at pictures of herself with high school friends

    Ling Liu was born in the Chengdu, Sichuan province in China. She started high school in 1977, the year Chinese leader Deng Xiao Ping restarted the national college entrance exam after a 10-year ban on college enrollment due to a political movement. "This was a time of great academic reawakening," says Ling.

  • Lilly scientist Ling Liu (left) and her best friend, Youchen Wei, 1978

    In 1978, Ling’s best friend shared a biography of Marie Curie with her. Science intrigued the two girls. But most of all, Marie Curie’s story helped them realize that women can be scientists too. "We both found science so interesting and meaningful," says Ling. "We dreamed of becoming scientists whose discoveries could help people."

  • Ling (right) with her mother, 1975

    When Ling was 12 years old, her father was diagnosed with lung cancer. "Doctors told us that there were no good medicines for his disease," says Ling. "He passed away five months later, so I can understand how badly patients and their families need efficacious medicines."

  • Ling with her classmates at Sichuan University, 1983

    Ling received her bachelor's degree from Sichuan University. "But I really wanted to go to Beijing for my graduate studies," she says. "My mother was very supportive -– she wanted me to follow my dreams." Ling left home and attended the Chinese Academy of Science in Beijing, where she studied genetics and biology. She then went on to Western University in Canada where she received her Ph.D. in molecular biology. "My training really opened my eyes to the work scientists can do."

  • Ling with a cardboard cut-out of Albert Einstein, Lilly Science Expo, 1997

    "This photo was taken two months after I joined Lilly as a biologist," says Ling. "I wanted to work at Lilly because the interviewer said that I would have the opportunity to shepherd a medicine from the laboratory bench to the bedside," a promise that remains true after 19 years at Lilly. "I’ve worked with other scientists to discover several molecules that have advanced to testing in clinical trials in patients."

  • Ling works to discover novel medicines at Lilly Research Laboratories

    One of Ling's career highlights came earlier this year with the approval of one of our newest medicines. She was a key member on the team of Lilly scientists who worked to discover and develop Taltz® (ixekizumab). "That is what we do here at Lilly," says Ling. "We apply cutting-edge science to discover and develop novel medications that we hope will help patients."

  • Ling with her two daughters, Jocelyn and Jessica, and her husband Wen

    "My family has always been supportive of my work," says Ling. "My husband has a busy career too. He is a biomedical research scientist. My daughters are also pursuing professions focused on helping people in need," says Ling. "Of course, we are very proud of them both." Her elder daughter is studying pharmacy at Purdue and hopes that one day she will be able to dispense medications her mother helped discover at Lilly. Her younger daughter is a freshman at UCLA.

  • "I'm living out the dreams of that young girl in China," says Ling. "I drive to work every morning grateful for the opportunity to be a scientist working to discover new medicines for patients."