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Quan T

- Research Program Mentor

M.D. Candidate candidate at Stanford University


Immunology, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology


Hi! My name is Quan and I'm a third-year medical student at Stanford University. I'm currently taking a gap year to complete a Medical Scholars Fellowship. My research for the fellowship involves engineering immune cells to express an enzyme that will chew through tissues so that the immune cells can get into solid tumors better. I am also a coordinator for one of the Stanford Cardinal Free Clinics' (CFC) Specialty Clinics. CFC provides free medical services to uninsured individuals in the county. When I was in high school, I couldn't decide if I wanted to be a social worker, scientist or doctor. I now know that I still want to incorporate aspects of all three jobs in my future! If you're interested in learning more about my academic journey, I'd be more than happy to discuss and provide advice! I have completed the iCLEM internship at the Joint BioEnergy Institute in 2011, the Amyris internship in 2012, the SynBERC REU internship in 2013, the Amgen internship in 2015 and the MARC Scholars Program in 2016. All of which involves a lot of different and exciting research! If you would like to discuss how to apply for internships and college preparedness, we can chat about those topics as well. On my free time, I enjoy hiking, playing basketball with my little cousins, baking macarons and watching Korean drama.

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.

Project 1: Failed Self-Tolerance: When Our Immune System Attacks Us

The immune system is like a little army within our body that prevent us from getting diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites and more! It also helps in eliminating cancer cells. However, sometimes, the immune system can make a mistake and attack our own proteins and cells, leading to autoimmune diseases such as Lupus Erythematosus, Type I Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis and more. For this project, students can explore one or multiple autoimmune disease(s) of their choice. Students will learn to read primary literature relating to the pathophysiology of the autoimmune disease(s) and write a review paper summarizing current scientific work on the autoimmune disease(s). Alternatively, students can choose to hone their scientific communication skills by preparing a 15-minute presentation on the autoimmune(s). Students will then receive individualized feedback to improve public speaking and presentation skills.

Project 2: Vaccines: Leveraging the Power of the Immune System

Smallpox is a terrifying disease that has long been eradicated thanks to the development of the smallpox vaccine. Vaccines can protect us from all sorts of diseases, such as smallpox, polio, hepatitis B, measles, the annual flu and…COVID-19! There are developments of cancer vaccines as well. But how exactly do they work? What are the different kinds of vaccines preparation available (e.g. subunit vs live attenuated vs mRNA vaccines)? In this project, the students will explore the biological basis behind vaccines and summarize the major vaccines developed in human history. Students can choose to write a review paper or do a 15-minute presentation to complete the project.

Project 3: Cancer: The Potential Killer Within Us

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. As the life expectancies of populations go up, so do cancer rates. How do cancers form? How can they end up killing us? There are many types of cancers including melanoma, breast cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, etc. Students may choose to study a specific type of cancer. In this project, students will gain a basic understanding of what allows cancer to develop and then dive deeper into their cancer of choice. Students may choose to write a review paper or do a 15- minute presentation. Note: Prior knowledge of immunology or cancer biology is not required! All that I ask is for students to be excited to learn and passionate about the topic they choose. We can work together to build the groundwork for independent work. We can have initial sessions on how to read a scientific paper or how to search for reliable sources.

Teaching experience

Teaching Assistant (UC Berkeley): Led weekly review sessions and office hours for the Intro Biology course as part of the Biology Scholars Program. Teaching Assistant (Stanford Institutes of Medicine Summer Research Program and EXPLORE Program): For two summers, I was a TA for SIMR and the EXPLORE program. Both are summer programs for high school students to explore science fields. As a SIMR TA, I facilitated the initial week-long boot camp and provided mentorship to 8-10 students as they completed their research projects. I helped students prepare scientific posters for the final conference/poster session. Teaching Assistant (Stanford School of Medicine): I am currently one of the Immunology course TAs for first-year medical students. I lead weekly review sessions, grade problem sets, and prepare review materials for my assigned week. This is my second year as a TA for the course.


Work experience

UCSF (2016 - 2018)
Staff Research Associate
MARC Scholars Program (2014 - 2016)
Scholarship Recipient
Amgen Program (2015 - 2015)
SynBERC REU Program (2013 - 2013)


University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley)
BA Bachelor of Arts (2016)
Molecular and Cell Biology
Stanford University
M.D. Candidate candidate

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