For and motivated by the magic of learning

For my entire life, I have been captivated and motivated by the magic of learning new
science and mathematics concepts. The curiosity behind my childhood experiments—building
primitive electromagnets and performing salt water electrolysis—continued to blossom during
my undergraduate education at Brown, where I focused on determining how much electricity a
single organic molecule could conduct. I have developed a great appreciation for engineering
research. I find it is a natural and satisfying extension of my academic training. For me, writing a
doctoral thesis would be the ultimate culmination of a lifelong passion for science and
engineering. I hope to eventually produce biomedical engineering research capable of mitigating
the great distress associated with brain diseases. Though a scientist at heart, I gain a deep
satisfaction from healing and improving the lives of others. To me, this is truly the most fulfilling
application of my studies.
The knowledge I have gained through my undergraduate and graduate studies has left me
prepared and eager to pursue a doctorate. Preparation for graduate study in the biomedical
engineering PhD program at Yale, with focus in imaging, includes my undergraduate/master’s
coursework, my research in single organic molecule conductance, and serving as a graduate
teaching assistant.
My undergraduate education was focused on building problem-solving skills and
mathematical competency. The degree (Applied-Mathematics Biology) allowed me the freedom
to take a variety of classes in different disciplines. In addition to taking applied mathematics
classes in statistics, quantitative biology, and differential equations, I have worked on some
physics (quantum and electromagnetism), computer science (Java programming and
algorithms/data structures), and general and organic chemistry. I completed additional
coursework in neuroscience and biology that has given me perspective on medical applications  of my electrical engineering knowledge, and a strong interest in the field of biomedical
engineering.
I have continued to build a mathematical foundation in both real and complex analysis in
my master’s degree. The most relevant graduate engineering classes taken in my master’s degree
include scientific programming in C++ and digital signal processing. I believe that my
background in a diverse range of subjects has prepared me to work efficiently on
interdisciplinary problems, such as my work on single molecule conductance, where I had to
combine knowledge of physics, chemistry and EE. Additionally, I believe that my extensive
coursework and experience in programming and mathematics gives me a very strong background
to conduct research in imaging.
My past research focused on studying the conductance of a single diamine/dithiol
molecule. In my research I built and programmed an apparatus to analyze nanoscale currents
through 1,8-Octanedithiol. The apparatus worked by making a gap, often referred to as a break
junction, in which one molecule could fit, forming a single molecule resistor. Using a thin gold
wire mounted on a piezoelectric device, the wire tip would make temporary contact with the gold
plate, and would then be slightly pulled back to form the break junction. I also studied how the
oxidization of 1,4-Benzenediamine changed its molecular conductance—the addition of oxygen
atoms appeared to cause a significant increase in conductance from regular 1,4-Benzenediamine.
My academic plans for graduate study at Yale would include research in magnetic
resonance methods and bioimaging, with relevant coursework. I hope to use electrical
engineering techniques, programming, and mathematics to gain insight into molecular processes
of the human brain. I am most interested in the research of Professor Hyder in Yale BME. From
correspondence with Professor Hyder about his research, it has become evident to me that Professor Hyder’s work in using bioimaging to visualize molecular processes of the brain is
definitely the type of research I want to pursue in the duration of the PhD. I feel that the
interdisciplinary nature of Professor’s Hyder’s research, combining knowledge from chemistry,
physics, and engineering, matches my own interdisciplinary background. I am particularly
interested in working on Professor Hyder’s project in the computation of a human brain energy
map based on BigBrain data, as I believe that computation of such a map has far-reaching
applications for the treatment of brain disorders. Given my background in scientific
programming and electrical engineering, I believe that the computational nature of this project
makes it a good research fit for me.
Throughout my education, I have dreamed of combining the two fields that I am most
passionate about—electrical engineering and neuroscience—to conduct research that can
eventually be used to improve the lives of people suffering from certain psychiatric ailments, and
I believe that working with Professor Hyder would allow me to make this dream a reality.
In the first year of my master’s degree, I was a graduate TA for an introductory circuits
class (around 100 students). My responsibilities included writing homework solutions, holding
hours, coordinating a team of graders, and grading exams. I also had administrative
responsibilities, and met regularly with other graduate TA’s and professors to make sure that the
class was running smoothly. I feel that teaching/TA work was one of the most important aspects
of my master’s education and personal development as a student, and I look forward to doing it
in the future.
I find teaching to be extraordinarily rewarding. One reason I want to continue my
graduate education is to become a professor. Throughout my academic career, I have always
made the effort to be an effective and enthusiastic instructor—to me, it is immensely satisfying to see that a student has understood a concept. I find that I thrive best in the environment of
academia—the exchange of knowledge and ideas is one of the most enjoyable aspects of being
both a student and teacher. Additionally, I hope to continue research in BME and to make
research advances in the treatment of brain disorders.
I believe that Yale BME, with its vast resources for bioimaging research, would give me
the opportunity to produce meaningful research to help treat debilitating brain disorders and
diseases. In my work, I hope to alleviate or treat the great burden and suffering that these
diseases can cause.