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Suan Tuang

Suan Tuang

‎M.D./Ph.D. Candidate at the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology Program

Education: MIT, Harvard

2012 Amgen Scholar 

“My worldview and my perspective on the future of science is very much shaped by who I am as a Christian and an immigrant and as someone who could have just as easily been living a very different life in Myanmar.”

Suan Tuang left Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) with his family at the age of 16, and upon arriving in Orlando, FL, his family struggled amidst the economic recession of 2008. Having never even heard of MIT before arriving in the U.S., he applied and was accepted in 2010 where he conducted bioinorganic chemistry and systems biology research in cancer. Tuang is now working towards his M.D./Ph.D. at Harvard Medical School and through the MIT Chemistry Department and hopes to one day create better drugs for those in developing countries while also helping patients by showing empathy and compassion as a doctor. His doctors showed those two characteristics to him when he received an operation that saved him from a life-threatening situation at a young age, which inspired him to dedicate his life to helping others. He is a 2016 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow.

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More from Suan Tuang:

“For me, the future of science is about lifting everyone up — from those affected by the fallout from climate change to those facing the life-limiting impact of poverty. I am excited by the potential of scientific innovations to help solve the challenges our society faces now and in the future.   

In particular, I hope to impact the future of science by discovering therapies for infectious diseases in developing countries. I’m endlessly curious about therapies. It’s truly miraculous when you’re able to understand a disease and then find a therapy that can help someone or an entire population fight it. As an M.D./Ph.D. student, I’m interested in both the practical approaches to how therapies are distributed as well as how they are discovered and created. 

I am most inspired by the courage, resilience and optimism of people suffering from diseases around the world. From the patient I met during my clinical clerkship suffering from a terminal illness who never failed to put a smile on her face to the plight of my fellow Burmese people in a developing country fighting infectious diseases such as malaria and dengue fever due to a lack of effective drugs, it’s my desire to help alleviate these sufferings. Together with my faith, that’s what drives me to reach my scientific goals. 

The Amgen Scholars Program helped inspire and navigate my pursuit of a scientific career though professional enrichment opportunities both in and out of the lab. While I never considered that I could play such a large role in the health of thousands, I saw a chance to do important research. The Amgen Scholars research experience is helping me pursue a career where I can work on problems that are motivated by a clinical need. It helped me see that this could be a reality for me.”

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