For my entire life, I have been captivated and motivated by the magic of learning newscience and mathematics concepts. The curiosity behind my childhood experiments—buildingprimitive electromagnets and performing salt water electrolysis—continued to blossom duringmy undergraduate education at Brown, where I focused on determining how much electricity asingle organic molecule could conduct. I have developed a great appreciation for engineeringresearch. I find it is a natural and satisfying extension of my academic training.
For me, writing adoctoral thesis would be the ultimate culmination of a lifelong passion for science andengineering. I hope to eventually produce biomedical engineering research capable of mitigatingthe great distress associated with brain diseases. Though a scientist at heart, I gain a deepsatisfaction from healing and improving the lives of others. To me, this is truly the most fulfillingapplication of my studies.The knowledge I have gained through my undergraduate and graduate studies has left meprepared and eager to pursue a doctorate. Preparation for graduate study in the biomedicalengineering PhD program at Yale, with focus in imaging, includes my undergraduate/master’scoursework, my research in single organic molecule conductance, and serving as a graduateteaching assistant.My undergraduate education was focused on building problem-solving skills andmathematical competency. The degree (Applied-Mathematics Biology) allowed me the freedomto take a variety of classes in different disciplines.
In addition to taking applied mathematicsclasses in statistics, quantitative biology, and differential equations, I have worked on somephysics (quantum and electromagnetism), computer science (Java programming andalgorithms/data structures), and general and organic chemistry. I completed additionalcoursework in neuroscience and biology that has given me perspective on medical applications of my electrical engineering knowledge, and a strong interest in the field of biomedicalengineering.I have continued to build a mathematical foundation in both real and complex analysis inmy master’s degree. The most relevant graduate engineering classes taken in my master’s degreeinclude scientific programming in C++ and digital signal processing. I believe that mybackground in a diverse range of subjects has prepared me to work efficiently oninterdisciplinary problems, such as my work on single molecule conductance, where I had tocombine knowledge of physics, chemistry and EE. Additionally, I believe that my extensivecoursework and experience in programming and mathematics gives me a very strong backgroundto conduct research in imaging.
My past research focused on studying the conductance of a single diamine/dithiolmolecule. In my research I built and programmed an apparatus to analyze nanoscale currentsthrough 1,8-Octanedithiol. The apparatus worked by making a gap, often referred to as a breakjunction, in which one molecule could fit, forming a single molecule resistor. Using a thin goldwire mounted on a piezoelectric device, the wire tip would make temporary contact with the goldplate, and would then be slightly pulled back to form the break junction.
I also studied how theoxidization of 1,4-Benzenediamine changed its molecular conductance—the addition of oxygenatoms appeared to cause a significant increase in conductance from regular 1,4-Benzenediamine.My academic plans for graduate study at Yale would include research in magneticresonance methods and bioimaging, with relevant coursework. I hope to use electricalengineering techniques, programming, and mathematics to gain insight into molecular processesof the human brain. I am most interested in the research of Professor Hyder in Yale BME. Fromcorrespondence with Professor Hyder about his research, it has become evident to me that Professor Hyder’s work in using bioimaging to visualize molecular processes of the brain isdefinitely the type of research I want to pursue in the duration of the PhD. I feel that theinterdisciplinary nature of Professor’s Hyder’s research, combining knowledge from chemistry,physics, and engineering, matches my own interdisciplinary background. I am particularlyinterested in working on Professor Hyder’s project in the computation of a human brain energymap based on BigBrain data, as I believe that computation of such a map has far-reachingapplications for the treatment of brain disorders. Given my background in scientificprogramming and electrical engineering, I believe that the computational nature of this projectmakes it a good research fit for me.
Throughout my education, I have dreamed of combining the two fields that I am mostpassionate about—electrical engineering and neuroscience—to conduct research that caneventually be used to improve the lives of people suffering from certain psychiatric ailments, andI believe that working with Professor Hyder would allow me to make this dream a reality.In the first year of my master’s degree, I was a graduate TA for an introductory circuitsclass (around 100 students). My responsibilities included writing homework solutions, holdinghours, coordinating a team of graders, and grading exams. I also had administrativeresponsibilities, and met regularly with other graduate TA’s and professors to make sure that theclass was running smoothly. I feel that teaching/TA work was one of the most important aspectsof my master’s education and personal development as a student, and I look forward to doing itin the future.
I find teaching to be extraordinarily rewarding. One reason I want to continue mygraduate education is to become a professor. Throughout my academic career, I have alwaysmade the effort to be an effective and enthusiastic instructor—to me, it is immensely satisfying to see that a student has understood a concept. I find that I thrive best in the environment ofacademia—the exchange of knowledge and ideas is one of the most enjoyable aspects of beingboth a student and teacher. Additionally, I hope to continue research in BME and to makeresearch advances in the treatment of brain disorders.I believe that Yale BME, with its vast resources for bioimaging research, would give methe opportunity to produce meaningful research to help treat debilitating brain disorders anddiseases.
In my work, I hope to alleviate or treat the great burden and suffering that thesediseases can cause.