Jenny Lai

Jenny Lai

Plymouth, MN

“Conducting research at The University of Tokyo as an Amgen Scholar has had a tremendous impact on my future.”

Host University: The University of Tokyo
Home University: Harvard University
Amgen Scholar Year: 2015
Major: Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology
Expected Graduation: 2017

Academic and Professional Ambitions

What inspired you to major in science?

“As a child, I was afraid of uncertainty—the uncertainty of life and diseases. As the years passed, my fear turned into curiosity. Why isn’t there a cure yet? What treatments currently exist, and how do they work?  I wanted to be a scientist so that I could solve the problems that persisted. Furthermore, I grew up in a large family, which shaped my love for children. As a result, I want to be a neonatologist which combines my love for children and interest in biology.”


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

“Conducting research at The University of Tokyo as an Amgen Scholar has had a tremendous impact on my future. Not only did I learn many laboratory and research techniques that I will use in the future, but more specific to my laboratory experience, I was able to gain a holistic perspective of how biological research can directly improve patients’ lives. This has helped me confirm my decision to strive for an M.D. – Ph.D. as I have seen the way in which research and medicine coincide and reinforce each other.”


Why did you apply to the Amgen Scholars Program?

“The Amgen Scholars Program in Japan interested me as it allowed me to learn not only research, but also a different culture and to be independent. Globalization is important for collaboration and greater understanding of science, which is why the Japan program, which accepts people from all over the world, was attractive to me. I was able to learn the Japanese culture, and other cultures from my fellow scholars.”


What aspects of the program are you most enjoying this summer?

“Besides the lab environment and fascinating research I conducted, I also enjoyed getting to know the other scholars and having adventures together in Japan. Simply hopping on a train after work and seeing where the night takes us and wandering through both the bright and loud, and dim and peaceful parts of Tokyo have been some of the most memorable moments this summer.”