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To mix things up a little, STAT did a Q&A with a judge on a Chinese game program called “The Super Brain Show,” the country’s most popular television series. Robert Desimone also happens to be one of the world’s leading neuroscientists and director of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research, which has outposts at Tsinghua University, Peking University, and Beijing Normal University. He talked about how China’s science is changing, the risk of joint ventures, and a controversial warning about U.S.-funded scientists’ foreign ties. This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

China has a reputation as a place where anything goes in biological research. Is that fair?

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