Arvind Kumar

Arvind Kumar

Roslyn, New York

“Although I had research experience in statistics and epidemiology, the Amgen Scholars Program gave me my first hands-on bench experience.”

Host University: University of Tokyo
Home University: Duke University
Amgen Scholar Year: 2016
Major: Math and Chemistry
Expected Graduation: 2017

Journey to Science

How did you become interested in science?

It started with an interest in math and grew from there. In high school, I got involved with my school’s math team and was president. That experience was about learning how to think through problems and solve them in different ways, using what math we knew. Through the math team and my coursework, I began to see important ties between math and science and human health. These connections have only strengthened since college.

Academic and Professional Ambitions

What’s the larger significance of your Amgen Scholars research? What’s your ultimate career goal?

Although I had research experience in statistics and epidemiology, the Amgen Scholars Program gave me my first hands-on bench experience. I tested a handful of chemical compounds related to berberine—which was used in ancient Chinese medicine to combat diabetes and obesity—to see whether they’re as effective or more effective as berberine in improving the health of cells. After I graduate, I will be pursuing a career in medicine, and clinical research. I’ve gained early acceptance into the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York and will start next fall.

Why did you apply to the Amgen Scholars Program?

I wanted to become as familiar as possible with basic science research, which is crucial for new advances in medicine. I would like to incorporate research into my career as a doctor. Also, I was looking for an international research experience. In researching the differences among the Amgen Scholars Programs, I noticed that Japan’s programs were unique because [both host schools] accepted students from across the world.

What aspects of the program did you enjoy most?

Being able to connect with the other Amgen Scholars was a really cool experience and one of the best aspects of the program. Everyone was coming from diverse backgrounds, with different experiences in science and career goals. Being able to share those with each other was really valuable. In addition, I enjoyed getting to know my fellow lab members and being immersed in a work-hard, play-hard environment.