She was born on December 30, 1930 in Ningbo, a city on the east coast of China. She had 4 brothers.
In her earlier years, she went to a private school, then to an all girls school.
At the age of 16, she was diagnosed with tuberculosis and had to stay home with treatment for 2 years.
After graduating high school she got accepted into the Department of Pharmacy and became a student at the Medical School of Peking University
After college she started working under the China Ministry of Health. She started researching different herbs and medicines. Her biggest achievements were the creations of Artemisinin and dihydroartemisinin, which were medicines for treating malaria.
Today she is 87 years old. She is married to Li Tingzhao. She has been given many awards, one of them being the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.