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Yue Xiong was born in Nanchang. His father was a scholar sent to a labor camp during the Cultural Revolution, and his mother struggled to support the family. After high school Xiong worked on the farm where his family lived. When the Cultural Revolution ended, Xiong attended Fudan University. James Watson's book on the molecular biology of the gene inspired him. Interested in the China-United States Biochemistry Examination and Application program, Xiong learned English and went to the University of Rochester, where he entered Thomas Eickbush's laboratory researching DNA sequencing and transposable elements of the chorea gene. Xiong helped develop the mild-extracting method for isolating linealized and supercoiled DNA. He is now at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, looking at cell-cycle control and tumor suppression.

Tian Xu was born in Jiaxing City. During the Cultural Revolution, his parents endured "reeducation," the family moved to a shack, and Xu's schooling was negatively impacted. He took up Go to keep himself challenged mentally. After the Cultural Revolution, Xu studied genetics at Fudan University. When a famous mathematician, Shiing-Shen Chern, returned to Xu's hometown from Berkeley, Xu resolved to go to the United States. He went to Yale University, where he entered Spyros Artavanis-Tsakonas's lab. Xu resisted learning English until he entered Gerald Rubin's laboratory at University of California, Berkeley. He later became a principal investigator at Yale. He discusses his current research on cancer and the LATS and DRPLA genes, motivation for pursuing science, and the advantages and disadvantages of being a principal investigator. 

Zhaohui Xu was born in Suzhou, China. Because the Cultural Revolution dictated a child's future occupation, education options were limited, and there were few books, no movies, no television. Soon things began to change, and in junior high school Xu began science classes. He attended University of Science and Technology of China for its broader science base. Xu loved the excitement of discovery to be found in basic science, but because Chinese research facilities were so limited, he knew he wanted to go to graduate school elsewhere, eventually attending University of Minnesota. After his PhD and six years in Paul Sigler's lab at Yale, he accepted an assistant professorship at the University of Michigan. There, he works on crystal structure of the trigger factor, crystal structure of the cytosolic chaperones GroEL and GroES, and SecA and SecB.