Where are you from?

Hanoi, Vietnam

Why did you choose the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major?

I really like the field of synthetic biology, an emerging area that works with gene editing methods and cell therapy. Because of that, I chose my major and minor to help myself prepare enough background for future education and career. BMB is a very unique major because it is handled by both the Chemistry and Biology departments, so the course selection is actually very diverse. My major also allows me to do a lot of cool research, which is necessary for my future career.

What extracurriculars do you participate in?

Currently, I am a Student Health Service Ambassador. I worked as a Facilitator at Summer 2020 Orientation and will be a Peer Mentor in Fall 2020 for FY101 (a First-Year Experience Program). In my first semester of my freshman year, I took an EMT class and had so much fun!

What kind of research do you do?

I’m very interested in the application of synthetic biology and genetic engineering to create new gene and cell therapies! Currently, I am working on a project in Dr. Wilson Wong’s lab in the College of Engineering that expands the functions of genetically modified T-cells (a type of immune system cells) for more therapeutic applications.

How did you get your research position?

Firstly, before I even contacted any professors, I tried to narrow my fields of interest. I always read a lot scientific magazines, such as Scientific American, so I knew that I was interested in gene therapy and synthetic biology. Then, I looked online to find professors on campus who are doing research in those fields. I emailed a few of them, two of them replied back to me. A month later, I started working in a lab under the supervision of a graduate student!

How has your research tied into your classroom learning?

During my time working in the lab, I didn’t just learn new experimental techniques; I attended lab meetings regularly like other graduate students. Through the meetings, I quickly realized the importance of understanding your data. In general freshman science courses, there is a big misconception that your data should be perfect all the time. However, experimental data almost never looks perfect, so you have to “dig in” and understand what the data is telling you. I treated the experiments in my classroom learning differently and enjoyed exploring the unknowns.

Favorite dining spot on or around campus?

Marciano Commons is (arguably) the best dining hall. The dining hall is very recently renovated, and the food is so good!!

Best place on campus to study or relax?

Mugar Library is the best place on campus to study, but the secret lies in the higher floors! The higher it goes, the quieter it gets. If you get to the highest floor, the whole room can hear you walking.