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Pingxin was born in Changsha on September 9, 1985, to Rui Zhang, a doctor, and Zhiping Li, an engineer. She grew up in Changsha, the city of spicy food that she loved so much. Early on she showed evidence of the lively spirit that was her signature throughout her life. She was a happy kid, always with a big shining smile, also a tomboy - playing basketball, jumping rope, riding a bike to school. She was such a strong little girl that you’d see her carrying other kids on her bike to school.

平心于1985年9月9日生于长沙。母亲张蕊,是长沙市妇幼保健院的一名医生。父亲李治平,是一名工程师。平心从小就是个阳光灿烂的孩子,爱吃爱玩,乐观向上,随时看到她都是开心的笑脸,无忧无虑的样子。她在院子里和小伙伴们打篮球,跳橡皮筋,嬉笑打闹,满头是汗的样子,还能清晰浮现在眼前。早上她骑车上学,有时后座上还驮着个比她大一号的孩子,很小就能看出她热心仗义,爱照顾人帮助人的性格。

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She was an extremely smart kid, a child prodigy you may call. At age twelve, she was selected from tens of thousands of students to be placed in a gifted program in the High School Attached to Hunan Normal University. It was there, she fast tracked middle school and high school in just four years, and got admitted to the prestigious Fudan University at age 16. It was also there, she met the love of her life, Zhengyu.

她也是位天才少女,小神童。小学毕业那年,她经过层层选拔,考取湖南师大附中的超常班,用超出同龄人的勤奋和聪颖,四年读完了初中高中。小小年纪,一个人河西住校,离家公车也要一个多小时,特别独立。十六岁时,就考取了复旦大学。当时在我们院子里是件很轰动的事情。她从来都不让长辈操心,是家人的骄傲和自豪,平辈和弟妹们心目中的好榜样。也是在师大附中那几年,她遇到了她生命中最重要的那个人,何征宇。

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In August 2005,  Pingxin moved to the U.S. and started her PhD program in Genetics at Pennsylvania State University with a full scholarship. She was not even 20 then, the youngest among graduate students. It must have been challenging to start a new life in a new country, across the ocean, all by yourself. Yet, Pingxin was independent and optimistic. This vigorous and cheerful girl actually quickly became the unifying force among the Chinese student community. People dubbed her the “leader”. She organized many gatherings so nobody felt left out: fishing, bbq, playing cards, etc. Looking back, she touched upon so many lives at their critical point of transition. She established the bond of friendship connecting people, so they didn’t experience loneliness and boredom away from home. Life was happy with her around.

2005年8月,平心复旦大学生命科学系毕业,拿到了宾夕法尼亚州立大学的全额奖学金,开始她的遗传学博士项目。博士入学时,她20岁不到,是最小的一个,也是大家眼中的小妹妹。而这个年纪最小的女孩儿却被宾州大同学们尊称为“领导”,因为乐观活泼,机灵体贴的她,总是能想到好玩的事情,也总是替别人着想。有了平心,就有了各种吃吃喝喝的聚会,打牌钓鱼等腐败活动,她把大家凝聚在一起,让研究生生活不再枯燥乏味。看到网上大家写的悼词,有很多同学朋友吃过她做的美味佳肴,得到过她快人快语的贴心建议和雪中送炭的帮助。她永远是朋友群中的中坚力量,她乐观开朗,谈笑风生的样子,也会永远烙印在我们心底。

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She was always diligent, spending a lot of time in the lab on weekends. She published 8 papers during her PhD years with 4 of these papers now cited over 100 times. Pingxin worked on the PAD4 knockout mice and showed that PAD4 is essential for an important innate immune function against bacterial infection. That paper published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine is now cited over 300 times. Pingxin was recognized for her excellent work as a winner of the Berg Prize in Molecular Medicine in 2007.

Despite her achievements, one of Pingxin’s graduate school friends remembered her saying that, she looked forward to a life as wife and mother the most, a simple and warm life. Indeed, the next chapter of her life is dedicated to her family, and that started with Zhengyu graduating from Beijing Institute of Technology and finally moving to the U.S., with a PhD program at Georgia Institute of Technology.

她的研究生同学回忆说她很勤奋,精力充沛,周末总是花很多时间在实验室。她做实验手很巧,很细心。博士期间发表了8篇论文,其中有四篇引用超过100多次,发表在《实验医学杂志》上的一篇论文引用超过300次。平心的出色成就也让她荣获了2007年分子医学的伯格奖。

尽管平心学业有成,她曾经和朋友说过,其实她最期待的生活就是相夫教子,平淡而温馨。2007年征宇从北京理工大学毕业,开始在乔治亚理工学院攻读博士。两人各自辗转几年,终于又在美国团聚。

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She once said, “if you find that person, tie the knot early and young, so that your wedding pictures will look good.” Lucky for her, she met that person when she was just 12. At age 24, She got married with Zhengyu in August 2009 at State College, Pennsylvania.

After graduating from Penn State, she moved to the Atlanta area, to be close to Zhengyu. She started working as a Post-doctoral researcher in the Medical School of Emory University in 2010. Following Zhengyu’s graduation and job offer from Google, they relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area in October 2012.

平心曾在微博上写过,“我是觉得,要是认定了就是这个人就早点结吧,趁年轻拍出来的照片还漂亮点”。幸运的是,她十来岁就遇到了她认定的这个人,24岁那年,她和征宇终于在宾州州立大学结婚,开始了她一直期盼的相夫教子的生活。

平心博士毕业后,为了结束两地分居,搬到了亚特兰大地区,于2010年开始在埃默里大学医学院从事博士后研究员工作。2012年,征宇博士毕业,拿到了谷歌公司的工作机会,两人年底搬到旧金山湾区,真正成家立业,那时候平心已经怀上早早了,我记得她还开玩笑说,两人好不容易搬到一起住,还拖了个”小三“.
 

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Pingxin and Zhengyu’s first child, Weizhi (nickname: Zaozao), was born in February 2013, followed by his little brother, Yafei (nickname: Gaogao), in March 2016, via VBAC, a very brave / risky endeavor. She was dedicated to her children. She managed to “do it all” by being very loving and organized. She took kids to library, playgrounds, museum and zoos. Zaozao’s weekends are always well planned, with playdates and fun trips around the Bay Area. Friends and neighbors who have kids of similar age often happily tag along. She carried her big diaper bag around, which magically stored everything that you can think of: change clothes, snacks, fruits, diapers, lollipops (for fussy little ones). To fellow mothers, she was resourceful and willing to help. She had endless ideas for kids’ recipes, activities, breastfeeding tips, etc. To her friends and family, she was this positive, strong and very thoughtful person, whom we could always count on.

It is important for a mom to be a good cook and Pingxin surely was. She loved to experiment with food and recreated a lot of her hometown classics. Friends lined up at her house for her smelly tofu or rice noodles. For Zaozao’s first birthday party, she made an organic, low-sugar and yet delicious cheesecake that made the little person very happy. Zaozao was not a big fan of milk and he was picky with food at certain age. Pingxin would try all she could think of, and was sincerely happy if she managed to feed him just one more ounce of milk, or one more bite of food.

As Zaozao started daycare and she had more of her free time, she was willing to pivot her life and career further towards kids’ education and future. In the past two years, she was studying for the teacher’s certificate. Her dream was to be accompanying both kids even when she is at work. She had one more subject left, History. She was still studying the night before she left us.

他们的第一个小宝贝,何为之,小名早早,生于2013年2月。弟弟亚飞,小名高高,生于2016年3月。早早出生时,历经艰难还是不得已剖腹产。生高高的时候,她四处查资料,想尝试顺产。生老大的医院不支持,她又联系了别的医生,尽管OB说过她骨盆不大只有50%的成功率,最后还是顺产成功了。她自己开玩笑说这是”这辈子到现在最牛掰的成就”。她也跟我说过,想自然顺产是给以后拼老三留条后路。她总是对未来充满憧憬。我们都以为未来还很长,还有无数可能,万万也不可能想到她的时间竟然在这里戛然而止。

所有人都知道,平心是个好妈妈。孩子们所有的大小事情,她都仔细琢磨认真安排,所有的事情都做到最好。小时候早早喝奶不好,平心会想尽办法,用勺用杯子用吸管甚至听说注射器都用上了,就是为了孩子多喝一口奶。为了给早早挑选幼儿园,她看遍了附近的所有的幼儿园,每家幼儿园都仔细询问,和老师聊,向其他家长打听。有孩子的父母都喜欢跟着早早家玩,因为平心总是有好多好主意。一块儿去阿拉斯加坐邮轮,她提前几家询价比优惠,给大家订好票,查好上船前哪里买尿布买水,备齐了孩子各种药膏,还带着几副对讲机方便几家人联系。每年樱桃成熟季节,她组织大家摘樱桃,提前了解今年哪些品种好吃,哪几家农场有而且人不多,甚至到了农场,还会把园子里树上果子都尝一尝,告诉小伙伴们哪颗树上最好吃。平心对生活有满满的热情和无尽的规划,她的这份热情,也能让身边人深深地感受到,有她的地方,总是感到温暖放心。太多的朋友得到过她的帮助,我们都习惯了有平心当主心骨。关于她的回忆里满满的都是幸福和快乐,老天一定也妒忌我们身边有这么善良能干,能给身边人带来欢乐的人。

过去两年,平心一直在准备教师资格证的考试。她想去教小朋友,这样工作的同时,也能陪伴在早早和高高左右,伴随着他们的成长。她虽达到了学术的顶峰,有无尽的才华。但她所要的,只是从容持家,相夫教子的生活,心甘情愿地辅佐丈夫的事业,为孩子们的未来铺路。

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Pingxin’s life was taken away from us too abruptly and unexpectedly. She was so young, so kind and, so FULL of life. It is hard to understand why a tragic event like this would happen to such a good person. However, this is a question without an answer. Even though Pingxin may be gone, her memory will live on in all of us forever. Her kids, Zaozao and Gaogao, will grow up strong and remember how wonderful their mother is, this intelligent, caring, and passionate person, who touched so many of our lives.

今年高高出生,是个可爱乖巧好带的天使宝宝,征宇事业蒸蒸日上,家庭幸福其乐融融。2016年的中秋,本应团圆,却成为生死别离。你走的那么突然,让所有人都无法接受这个惊天噩耗。

人生天地间,忽如远行客。只愿逝者安息,生者坚强。平心,我知道你会在另一个世界继续温暖地守护你深爱的家人孩子们。愿你的孩子们,延续着你对生活的热爱,健康成长。平心,谢谢你带给我们的光和温暖,我们永远永远想念你。

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This memorial is administered by:

Zhiping Li
Zhengyu He
Ning Qu
Yang Zhang

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