Hometown: Hong Kong
What is your research focus, and how might your research change the world?
My current research focuses on studying cell wall glycosylation in Candida albicans using CRISPR/Cas. C. albicans is the most prevalent fungal pathogen and cause dangerous infections in immunocompromised patients. Yet the study of its biology and the development of antifungal treatment has been deterred because of the limitation in technology and complication of its genome. By optimizing the CRISPR/Cas system, the investigation in C. albicans can be immensely accelerated.
How does it feel to earn this fellowship, and how will this fellowship enhance your research?
I feel greatly honored to be receiving this fellowship because I did not think I was competitive among all the other applicants with impressive backgrounds and research interests. By receiving this fellowship, it will ease my financial situation when I am in graduate school, especially in San Francisco. Also, it will give me an edge in joining labs during graduate school.
What advice can you share with other students applying for the NSF GRF?
When I am writing my application, I received a lot of advice from different professors on the research proposal. Different faculty members in the department are experts in their research area, and they are always more than happy to talk about science. Once I had a preliminary concept on the research proposal I wanted to write about, I started talking to different professors about how to perfect and control the experiments. Also, the characteristics the committee are looking for is the potential in students. The most important part of the application would be knowing how to present yourself and show your interest in your research.
How did your experience as an undergrad at Stony Brook help you become competitive for this award?
Being an undergraduate student provides me with an encouraging environment. Being surrounded by people who are also interested inspires me to follow my career goal. The science community is very helpful, people share ideas and provide advice to each other from a different point of view.
Where will you attend graduate school this fall? How has receiving the GRF influenced your choice?
I am attending University of California, San Francisco, for the Tetrad program which is an umbrella program covering four molecular biology fields, Biochemistry, Genetics, Cell and Developmental Biology.