Journey to Science
How did you become interested in science?
My grandfather was a pharmacologist, and he told me about his work. I have always dreamt that one day I would create my own drug and it would help people and make a difference in the world. Science is what I enjoyed most in school. While at university, I wanted to combine applied math, physics, biology and chemistry to benefit from that knowledge. I can’t imagine my life without science in it.
Academic and Professional Ambitions
What’s the larger significance of your Amgen Scholars research? What’s your ultimate career goal?
My summer project in Professor Adnane Achour’s lab focused on a protein important for the virulence of Streptococcus pneumoniae, the bacteria that causes pneumococcal disease (which can cause pneumonia or meningitis). This topic is quite important because, even now, pneumonia is a dangerous disease. I developed new computational models of this protein’s movements, which are important for its activity. After completing this project, I have become more confident that I want to continue my career in computational methods in biology. I will continue to collaborate with the group because I can continue doing it remotely. Now, after this summer, I’m (also) thinking about doing my PhD in Sweden.
Why did you apply to the Amgen Scholars Program?
I wanted to know what it feels like to conduct independent research. I had worked independently, doing molecular modeling from home on my laptop. But my home university didn’t have many opportunities to work in a lab. That’s why I was excited to be accepted into [the Amgen Scholars Program] and to learn about how a real lab works, how people communicate, what equipment they use and how they use it.
What aspects of the program did you enjoy most?
I met very creative and smart people who think out of the box. During the program, we traveled around Stockholm and the Stockholm archipelago which was an amazing experience. I hope that the connections I made in my program and at the symposium at Cambridge will help me in the future.