Why did you choose LSM?
In high school, I did research in the field of CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing to better understand cancer. However, despite the research and process being fascinating, I found myself questioning, “How will this ever truly benefit patients? What would it look like?” I wanted to get closer to the translation point where groundbreaking science at the bench becomes something tangible that could change someone’s life for the better one day. Thus, I applied to LSM where I hoped to learn more about this intersection of science and business, ultimately aiming to help facilitate translation from bench to bedside myself one day.
Are you doing research currently? If so, where and on what, and what do you like about it?
I am currently doing research at the June Lab (led by Dr. Carl June). I am researching chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells, specifically trying to gain a better understanding of how to best stimulate & expand them in hopes of ultimately improving CAR T manufacturing. The growth of cell therapy over the years has been an unprecedented bioengineering feat – despite being an elaborate process, CAR T is biologically fascinating and clinically effective. What I like most about this research experience is that everything I am doing has a potentially direct clinical impact. There are five current FDA-approved CAR T treatments, and there is much more work to be done to improve these treatments and change more patients’ lives. Joining the global network of thousands of people passionate about these efforts has been incredibly exciting.
What main extracurricular activities do you do at Penn?
At Penn, I am involved in three main extracurricular activities: Locust Bioventures, the Wharton Investment and Trading Group (WITG), and Global Platinum Securities (GPS).
Locust Bioventures is a club that I co-founded with two LSMers and currently co-direct. The entire mission is to help exciting technologies coming out of Penn spinout into successful biotech companies. To date, we have assisted four companies, ranging from cell therapy to lipid nanoparticles to radiotracer imaging. WITG is the largest finance club here on campus with 11 different investment teams based on sector and ~300 total members. I am currently the President of WITG and lead WITG’s Healthcare Investment Team as well. GPS is an international, intercollegiate student-run fund with “pods” across eight different universities including Harvard, MIT, LSE, Penn, and NYU, where we manage our own portfolio with ~$400,000 AUM.
What is the favorite thing you’ve done at Penn so far?
It is impossible to name one favorite thing I have done at Penn thus far, but I would say that my favorite moments and fondest memories are all the unforgettable experiences I have had with friends I’ve made here at college. From the spontaneous late-night runs to Wawa to the meaningful late-night talks to the cheerful holiday potlucks to the various daily shenanigans and everything in between, the list goes on and on, appreciated far more than any grades or academic achievements. I guess you could say my favorite thing that I’ve done is despite prioritizing working hard, learning, etc., I’ve realized it is more important to make sure that I am laughing the whole way surrounded by people I love.