Questions & Answers with Huijuan Li
As we celebrated Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we caught up with our colleague Huijuan Li, who is a senior sponsor of Moderna’s ASPIRE (Asian & Pacific Islander Resources and Engagement) employee resource group.
Huijuan talks about accepting failure, turning the impossible into the possible, and the important role we can play in fostering diversity, inclusion and collaboration.
Name: Huijuan Li, PhD
Role: Vice President of Analytical Development
Years at Moderna: 4.5 years
Hometown: Jingyuan, Gansu, China
In simple terms, what does your role entail?
I am responsible for a well-thought-out, science-driven, analytical testing strategy and methods to establish mRNA as well characterized vaccines and therapeutics.
How did you end up in this role and what do you love about your career choice?
Grit, drive and curiosity. It’s all about confidence in yourself and those who are around you. I enjoy everyday challenges and learning from my talented colleagues, who turn the impossible into the possible.
“Who said a cave girl cannot be a scientist?” – Huijuan Li
What drew you to Moderna originally? And how has Moderna changed since?
The potential and challenges of an mRNA platform for vaccines and therapeutics—and the need for the analytical control strategy in making it successful—drew me to Moderna originally. The capacity and capabilities that Moderna has achieved since 2016, especially during 2020, is still beyond my imagination!
What’s been your favorite part of working at Moderna?
Innovation, technology, people and ping pong games.
How do you take time away to recharge?
I enjoy time with my family—talking, eating and walking—and WeChatting with my siblings, extended family and friends across the globe. And I love going to museums, especially those with a very diverse collection, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Peabody Essex Museum.
How do Employee Resource Groups play a role at Moderna?
Our ERGs are wonderful employee-driven networks that empower team members, foster diversity, inclusion and collaboration. I am excited to see our ERGs becoming part of Moderna culture in establishing support systems around common interests, purpose and values.
What does Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month mean to you?
I am extremely proud that we are embracing and celebrating Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage. This offers great opportunities for us to learn about our history and culture in the U.S. and share that learning with others.
Which Moderna core value do you most embody—bold, collaborative, curious, relentless—and why?
Relentless and collaborative. Science is about accepting failure on a daily basis; yet, breakthrough comes with being relentless about what you do and collaborative with every person you get to work with.
What are your hopes for our industry?
I hope we can continue to innovate across diverse teams and with the convergence of technologies, promote the impact made by individuals from all backgrounds.
In addition to advancing an important mission to deliver on the promise of mRNA science for patients, Moderna is committed to belonging, inclusion and diversity and creating an environment where everyone can do their best work.
We are proud to be recognized by Science Careers as a top employer (2015-2020) and we’re always looking for smart, talented and passionate people like Huijuan. Want to join the team? See all open positions and find out more about why it’s good to be at Moderna.