In what field was your PhD? How did you arrive at this specialization?
My PhD was in computational systems biology. After receiving my Bachelor’s degree in computer science, I joined a university-level graduate school for interdisciplinary research. I am interested in developing mathematical models and computational methods to study biological systems that are crucial to medicine and healthcare. At Pitt, I continue this line of research and work closely with experimentalists and clinicians to develop (poly)pharmaceutical strategies against various diseases.
What is your current research project?
I am currently involved in several projects on developing computational models to obtain a system-level understanding of the dynamics of biomolecular networks underlying different cellular processes including apoptosis, autophagy, necroptosis, innate immune responses, etc. The ultimate goals of these projects are to identify novel drug targets and therapeutic strategies in terms of drug combinations in a time-dependent manner to combat with radiation diseases, alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency, asthma, drug abuse, breast cancer, etc.
Tell us about a great experience or opportunity you’ve had in the past year.
Early this year, I was selected to present our research at the Gordon Research Conference on Stochastic Physics in Biology, at Ventura, CA. It was a great experience to meet and discuss my research with leaders in my field, as well as people in other fields.
What do you hope the next step in your career path will be?
I would like to stay in academia and hopefully find a faculty position.
If not a scientist, what would you be?
A primary school teacher.