Dr. Ma was born in China. His first name "Zhe" means "philosophy" in Chinese, so he was bound to this word. The supporting evidence is that he got the highest score in Philosophy courses in his Department, and he traveled half of the world to get a Doctor of Philosophy!
He has had a long-term goal ever since he was a first-grader in his elementary school, to become a scientist. He probably knew nothing about scientists then, rather heard this word from his parents ("I am Dr. Ma, and I approve this message").
As Philosophy is quite comprehensive, Dr. Ma also has broad training and experience. He studied Bio-engineering (as an Undergraduate), Microbiology (as a Master candidate), Cancer Biology, and Innate immunity (as a Doctoral candidate) until he found his perfect Biology model (as a Postdoc), a virus that suppresses immunity and causes cancer, with no vaccine and limited treatment options.
After being spoiled by his postdoc mentor, Blossom Damania, for 6 years, Dr. Ma joined the University of Florida in May 2020. Dr. Ma is building a research team to investigate the battles between oncogenic herpesviruses and host immune responses. Research projects in Dr. Ma's lab will integrate his research background of Virology, Immunology, and Cancer biology to decipher the pathogenic mechanism of Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV). The lab's research goal is to better understand how innate immunity is triggered and regulated by tumor viruses and thus developing more specific therapeutic strategies for viral cancer treatment.