Faculty & Staff Spotlight: Hongli Wu, Ph.D., UNT Health Science Center

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Faculty & Staff Spotlight: Hongli Wu, Ph.D., UNT Health Science Center

Hongli Wu left her homeland China for the United States, specifically the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, to complete her postdoctoral training before making her way to North Texas in 2013 when the UNT System College of Pharmacy joined UNT World. This scientist's interests are as complex as her research. Dr. Wu will take on any Texas fisherman, even reeling in the big fish like Blue Marlin. She'll masterfully play a serenade on her accordion; and speaking of music, she blasts this feel-good rock classic when a grant is funded, and this one if one's rejected. She learned much about America from watching Forrest Gump, but being here does have some drawbacks. She dearly misses her parents and authentic food (by the way, she has a message for you about General Tso's chicken). So read on and get to know Dr. Hongli Wu.


What is your favorite aspect about your job?
Without a doubt, faculty members play a multidimensional role in higher education. As an educator, my job allows me to train the next generation of pharmacists. As a biomedical researcher, I have the opportunity to conduct research to improve human health. 

What inspired you to pursue your field of expertise?
Pharmacology is an interesting and rewarding research field. As a pharmacologist, I can develop and evaluate the effects and safety of new drugs. 

You moved from our homeland of China to Lincoln, Neb., before joining the Health Science Center. What was your biggest challenge adjusting to America?
My greatest challenge is that I had to leave my parents behind in China. As an only child, I wish I could spend more time with my family. Additionally, I really miss the authentic local food like Peking duck and mapo tofu. PS: Sorry to burst your bubble, but "orange chicken" or "General Tso's chicken" is NOT real Chinese food!

What employee benefit or activity would you like to see added to UNT World?
It would be great if a paid parental leave benefit could be added to UNT World.

What is your proudest work moment?
My proudest work moment is when the College of Pharmacy received full accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). Our very first class of pharmacy students graduated in the same year in 2017.

What is your proudest non-work moment?
Out of everything I've accomplished so far, my proudest moment was when I gave birth to my daughter Fiona. After years of trying to conceive, my fertility doctor told me that I may never be able to have a biological child. Against all the odds, my miracle baby safely arrived in 2018.  

What is a fact about you that may surprise your work colleagues?
I am a big fisherwoman. I can catch all kinds of fish like the Blue Marlin, redfish, walleye and paddlefish. All my vacations are exclusively fishing trips.

Movie?: Forrest Gump. I learned so much from this wonderful movie: American history, American humor, American spirit and American dream.
TV show?: The Big Bang Theory. Thanks to this wildly popular sitcom, I no longer feel shameful about my long-standing "nerdiness." Now, I feel pretty proud of being a nerdy scientist.
Song?: It depends. If my grant was funded, my favorite song would be, "We are the champions” by Queen. If my grant was rejected, I would listen to "You Can't Always Get What You Want" by the Rolling Stones.
Hobby?: Playing the accordion. Yes, people are still playing it. If you have kids who cry over everything, like mine, you should also learn how to play. Because nobody can be louder than the accordion. My favorite songs to play are Skaters' Waltz and Hungarian Dance No. 5.