December 8, 2017
Our eleventh featured Ambassador of the week is Pei-Lun Kao.
Pei-Lun is a fourth-year student majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He went into the Biology because of his aspirations to make contributions to the scientific field. “[I want] to help the people and the society, whether it be a disease they are suffering from or agricultural crops that are dying due to infections.”
Pei-Lun has been working in Dr. Li-Jun Ma’s laboratory since the first semester of his sophomore year. He was trusted with his own project his second year at the lab, which involved screening elicited undifferentiated totipotent plant cells for phytochemicals that may be used to inhibit the growth of an opportunistic fungi: Fusarium oxysporum NRRL 32931 human strain.
This fungus is able to cause disseminated infection throughout immunocompromised patients leading to a high mortality rate. His research focuses on designing experiments to optimize and validate screening procedures on several selected cell lines to identify that they indeed have the biological effect in suppressing the growth of F. oxysporum human strain. “I am mostly interested in drug discovery, diseases related research.”
In order to save money on tuition and get a head start on job hunting, Pei-Lun began planning his schedule at the beginning of his junior year with the goal to graduate a semester early. He is the very first STEM AP student to be graduating from the program. He has been part of STEM AP since the beginning where he has met like minded individuals. He remained in it the program all four years of his undergrad, and is now graduating a semester earlier than his peers.
In the near future, Pei-Lun will be applying his knowledge and experiences by working in a research lab, then attending a graduate school after a year or two of building on his laboratory skills.
Despite being a hard worker, Pei-Lun still make time for relaxation. “I enjoy listening to music outside of classes, since music allows me to relax”. He also enjoys reading STEM related articles and news on recent scientific findings. He is a mentor and constantly offers support to student in the lab.