• Prof. Dr. Shuyan Liu in front of Charité Berlin, Brain City Berlin

    Prof. Dr. Shuyan Liu, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin

Brain City Ambassador Prof. Dr. Shuyan Liu came to Berlin as an exchange student in 2010 – and she stayed. As a Junior Professor of Global Mental Health at the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, she is globally networked.

Global mental health, digital health, environment and mental health, loneliness and people’s alcohol consumption behaviour – these are all highly relevant issues for society. Prof. Dr. Shuyan Liu has found them as her career focuses. The Junior Professor of Global Mental Health at the Charité is particularly interested in understanding how our environment (i. e. socio-cultural and physical-environmental circumstances ) shapes human mental health; “Above all, I am interested in understanding the ubiquity of loneliness and its impact,” says the Brain City Ambassador.

Shuyan Liu started with broad questions related to the environment during her Bachelor's studies in China. “I then studied the ecology of stress in my Masters, before taking a more neuroscience direction for my PhD.” In her postgraduate career, Shuyan Liu finally found her current research focus. Among other things, she is currently investigating, as part of a project funded by the Berlin University Alliance (BUA), how the population density of urban areas  affects global health – and how cities as living spaces should be designed in the future. As head of the research group “Environment and Mental Health” at the Charité, she is also involved in various projects on how environmental situations (e.g., global migration trends and a global pandemic) affect our mental health.

In accordance with the global relevance of her topics, Shuyan Liu has built global scientific networks. Research links exist with the Freie Universität Berlin, as well as with the Heidelberg Institute of Global Health (HIGH), Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Stanford University School of Medicine, University of Nairobi, Africa Research, Implementation Science and Education (ARISE) Network and Shanghai Mental Health Centre.

Berlin is not only a vibrant location for creatives and start-ups, but is also magnetically attractive to scientists.

Shuyan Liu came to Berlin in 2010 – initially as an exchange student. And she stayed. “Berlin, together with other locations such as the HIGH, the Centre for Global Health at the Technical University of Munich and the Global Health Hub Germany (GHHG), is a major player in promoting transformational approaches to mental and physical health. The scientific culture of Berlin supports innovative approaches that are strengthening a science-policy-society interface for global health.” Examples include the annual World Health Summit (WHS) in Berlin – a  leading international forum for global health, the interdisciplinary research platform German Alliance for Global Health Research (GLOHRA), the transdisciplinary dialogue platform Humboldt Forum as well as the BUA, the joint Excellence Initiative of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin with the Charité.

Shuyan Liu also gives thanks to the the city: “Berlin has been at the centre of many revolutionary transformations, both good and bad, that have impacted the entire world. Through the lessons of history the city is now a living embodiment of freedom, open-mindedness, tolerance, mutual respect, and diversity. Berlin is not only a vibrant location for creatives and start-ups, but is also magnetically attractive to scientists.”

Early career scientists who want to start a career in the city are advised by Shuyan Liu first to identify their interests. “Establish a plan, appreciate those who are dear to your heart. Find yourself a mentor whose advice and wisdom helps you to see clearly where you want to go while acknowledging that we make progress together because we are part of the research family!” (vdo)

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