People wish to pursue a Ph.D. degree

People always get sick and turn old. Emotionally, we should accept whatever happens because everything
follows the rules of nature. However, I will never stop trying to negotiate with nature and striving for
happiness. My earnest interest in the mechanisms of diseases and healthcare solutions is influenced by my
family. My parents were both doctors and are now working for biomedical companies (Novartis and
Sanofi). I am proud of them, but, at the same time, I can see the limitations of current medical treatments.
Therefore, I want to be a biomedical engineer and a researcher, in order to provide innovative solutions to
diseases like cancer. I finished my bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree at Penn State University; I am
now studying biomedical engineering in the Master of Engineering program at the Cornell University; I
have had four major bioengineering research experiences. Now, I wish to pursue a Ph.D. degree in
biomedical engineering in the direction of drug delivery, so that I can be an excellent researcher.
I studied engineering science and mechanics, physics, and biomedical engineering at my
undergraduate and graduate schools. Engineering science and mechanics is an honor program at Penn
State University, where I took honors courses in various engineering fields. I gained skills and insights
into bioengineering, material science, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering. In my physics
major, I acquired a mastery of electromagnetism, classical mechanics, and quantum mechanics. In my
both master’s degrees at Penn State University and Cornell University, I have studied graduate-level
biomaterials, engineering human work, neural interface, drug delivery, immuno-engineering, and Nanobiotechnology.
Enlightened by the literature concerning the application of acousto-microfluidics in circulating tumor
cell isolation, I contacted the acoustofluidics lab at the Penn State University to study microfluidic
devices as an undergraduate researcher. With the guidance of my research advisor, Dr. Tony Huang, I
completed my honors thesis on the fluorescent activated acoustic cell sorter, in which I used the surface
acoustic wave to sort micro-particles and cells in a microfluidic environment. I fabricated micro-channels
and interdigital transducers on acousto-microfluidic devices with photolithography, softlithography and
metal deposition techniques. Furthermore, I used function generator and amplifier to generate the surface
acoustic wave while observing the Hela cell behaviors in the microfluidics environment with the electromicroscope
and the fluorescence imaging. Eventually, I was able to increase the purity of the Hela cells
within a mixture of cells from 20 percent to 78 percent, with a measured sorting frequency of 720 events
per second.

Realizing that I needed more hand-on experience in cells, tissues, and genes, I secured a summer
research assistant position in Dr. Qinong Ye’s group to study gene clone technique at the Beijing Institute
of Biotechnology during the summer of 2016. In the lab, I undertook the jobs of HeLa and HepG2 cancer
cell culture, gene extraction, PCR, gene transformation, and Gel electrophoresis.
In 2016, I joined Dr. Bruce Gluckman’s group at Penn State Center for Neural Engineering to work on
the computational modeling of the sleep-wake regulatory system. The project required me to use in-vivo
data to develop modeling algorithms and then identify the neural parameters to simulate the interaction
between the thalamic and cortical population. I independently studied the anatomy of the brain, the  stochastic modeling, and the nonlinear dynamics. Based on the Neural Mass Model, I modeled pyramidal
cells with inhibitory and excitatory feedback loops in MATLAB software and analyzed the dynamical
behavior by examining the Jacobian matrix and eigenvalues. The alpha brain wave and epileptic-like
activity can be demonstrated with the model and are resulted from the dynamical phenomenon including
stable equilibrium, limit cycles, and homoclinic cycles.
For the complexity of the biological systems, I believe that computational modeling is important in
interpreting system behaviors. This year, at Cornell University, I have had the fortunate opportunity to
work with Dr. Putnam on a phage therapy modeling project. I proposed models to computationally
simulate the dynamical behaviors between bacteriophage and bacteria on skins, in the GI tract, and within
cells. The models include bacteriophage adsorption and bacterial lysis events, bacteria resistance
mutation, adaptive and innate immune responses, resource competition between bacteria strains, and coevolution
processes. Therefore, I examined the effect of release rate (zero order, first order, or pulsed
dosing) of bacteriophage from a micro-gel delivery system on the efficacies of phage therapy and
subsequently proposed optimized phage delivery solutions.
I am very interested in the research of Prof. W. Mark Saltzman, Prof. Rong Fan, Prof. Tarek Fahmy,
Prof. Kathryn Miller–Jensen, and Prof. Themis Kyriakides. I have sought the input of Prof. Saltzman and
Prof. Fan, and attended presentation of Prof. Saltzman.
Prof. Saltzman’s research into the in vivo gene editing is particularly attractive. This technology,
combined with Nano-technology, can have a gigantic impact on cancer immunotherapy. I want to study
the delivery system of the suicide and therapeutic gene to treat the diseases, especially cancer.
The single-cell analysis from Prof. Fan’s lab motivate me with its broad application in cancer
immunotherapy. I believe that I can apply my computational modeling skills, microfluidic device
experience, and gene clone experience to study the cancer cell dynamics at single cell level, and
contribute to precision medical technology.
I also find the bio-inspired design of materials studied by Prof. Fahmy to be very interesting due to
innovative particles’ ability to interrogate and modulate the immune responses. I look forward to joining
the lab to take advantage of the comprehensive relationship between bio-materials and immunology.
My research experiences and knowledge in math, physics, and engineering will accelerate my future
Ph.D. study in biomedical engineering. My desire to take care of the community and to become more
knowledgeable will provide the foundation to persist through obstacles that I may encounter during my
study. With guidance from top-notch faculties and abundant inter-disciplinary collaboration opportunities
at Yale University, I look forward to gaining a mastery of drug/gene delivery and immuno-engineering at
Yale, and becoming both an entrepreneur-minded and a community-focused biomedical innovator.

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