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Brian C

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at Princeton University

Expertise

Protein engineering, metabolic engineering, microbiology, biochemistry, chemical biology, bioengineering, synthetic biology, bioinformatics

Bio

Hi there! My name is Brian, and I am a chemical engineering PhD student at Princeton University. My work and life-long passion involve engineering biological systems to address the grand challenges that we face in our world today. The applicability of bioengineering spans very broadly: From engineering bacteria to commercialize new antibiotic drugs, engineering baker's yeast to produce jet fuels, engineering spider silk proteins as a new material for fabrics, engineering a novel sugar as an alternative for human breast milk, engineering virus particles for targeted drug delivery to host cells for anticancer purposes -- to infinite, boundless innovations yet to be developed! I am a firm believer that anybody (including you!) has the potential to make a significant positive impact to our world using Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM), and related disciplines. Words alone cannot sufficiently explain how much more we have yet to understand how things work in our world and to learn how we can apply what Nature has given us to better our lives! Very importantly, guidance, feedback and support are essential in motivating and inspiring young teenagers to pursue their dreams in STEM. Back in high school, I was totally lost, unsure of what I wanted to do when I grew up. However, after stumbling upon my high school's synthetic biology club that brought in bioengineering PhD students who were eager to teach and mentor us, I realized that nothing else gave me more joy than playing and messing around with the Mother Nature. Now, as a PhD student specializing in synthetic biology myself, I am very motivated to get to know you and your goals, and to assist you in bringing the best outcome from your intellectual curiosity, dedication, and effort.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Synthetic Biology and Engineering Biomolecules

After a broad survey of biotechnological innovations that stemmed from synthetic biology research, the student is assisted in identifying one of infinitely many topics within biology for research. Each session involves a review of assigned readings from textbooks and peer-reviewed journal articles, a focused lesson that is tailored towards the student's research goals, and a brainstorming session for externally communicating the student's discoveries on the research topic. Assignments include guided problem solving, training exercises for building reading comprehension skills on scientific literature, research proposal drafts, critique of scientific publications written by fellow high school students, etc. The final product from this project is a form of external communication on the student's research topic. This may include publication of a review article on a public high school-level science journal, a research presentation poster for a science fair, etc.

Genome Mining and Natural Product Discovery

A natural product is a chemical produced by a living organism that is useful to us. This category of molecules includes antimicrobial, antiviral, and anticancer agents. This project aims the student towards making novel discoveries in the natural products field by mainly using bioinformatics approach. After a broad survey of various natural products, the student is assisted in identifying one type of natural products to pursue for research. Each session involves a detailed lesson on various bioinformatics or laboratory techniques that are commonly employed in natural products research. Bioinformatics-based techniques include genome mining, BLAST query searching, antiSMASH, constructing a sequence similarity network (SSN), MEME, etc. Laboratory-based techniques include protein expression, purification, crystallization, mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, and/or cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM). The lessons are followed by a review of assigned readings from textbooks and peer-reviewed journal articles, and/or a brainstorming session for externally communicating the student's discoveries on the research topic. Assignments include guided problem solving, training exercises for building reading comprehension skills on scientific literature, research proposal drafts, critique of scientific publications written by fellow high school students, etc. The final product from this project is a form of external communication on the student's research topic. This may include publication of a research article on a public high school-level science journal, a research presentation poster for a science fair, etc.

Languages I know

Korean

Teaching experience

Besides having multiple opportunities teaching undergraduate students in an introductory-level chemical engineering course, I have also created an elective engineering course and taught students formally as the course instructor. I have also directly mentored undergraduate students (seven in total, all very passionate, enthusiastic, and pleasurable working with) in bioengineering research.

Credentials

Education

University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley)
BS Bachelor of Science (2018)
Chemical Engineering
Princeton University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Chemical Engineering

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