- Advisor: Ting Xu
- Department: California Institute of Quantitative Biosciences
- Institution: University of California, Berkeley
What is your research focus?
In my Ph.D. research, I focus on gaining a fundamental understanding of how primary monomer sequence determines the properties of precisely defined polymers. The challenges are twofold. The first difficulty lies in the efficient and scalable production of synthetic oligomers and polymers with precisely controlled chain lengths and sequences. Moving beyond synthetic challenges, it is advantageous to develop and use new characterization methods to probe the intrinsic structure-property relations. In order to correlate properties within precisely defined sequences, I use an iterative synthesis approach to prepare sequence-defined oligomers in parallel with single-molecule characterizations and molecular modeling. However, compared to the tedious iterative synthesis, the robotic polymer synthesis platform and high-throughput analysis instruments at the BioPACIFIC MIP provide a new avenue to advance the science of precision polymers and our fundamental knowledge of molecular engineering for the material needs of our society. Therefore, I am interested in further exploring the sequence-property correlation in polymeric materials by combining my experience and the powerful high-throughput platform offered by BioPACIFIC MIP. After my Ph.D. study, I joined Prof. Ting Xu’s group in January 2022 to work on amphiphilic, statistically random heteropolymers that mimic the function of proteins. My current project involves a variety of topics ranging from polymer synthesis and characterization to statistical analysis and molecular dynamic modeling. The facilities in BioPACIFIC MIP including the advanced X-ray diffraction instruments and simulation tools will provide new insights for my study on the microenvironment of protein mimic polymers and enable new applications in multi-disciplinary areas of research.
What excites you about NSF BioPACIFIC MIP?
I have my career goal set squarely on obtaining a faculty position in the future, where I plan to establish a multidisciplinary and collaborative research lab as well as educate the next-generation scientists and engineers. My graduate research was recently recognized by the College of Engineering at UIUC with the 2019 Mavis Future Faculty Fellowship. The opportunity to interact with the ambitious and supportive scientists, the interdisciplinary research environment, and the outstanding facilities make the BioPACIFIC MIP an ideal setting to further my professional training. In a broader sense, my experience at UIUC and UCB have taught me the importance of learning from others. I also look forward to being mentored by the scientists at BioPACIFIC MIP and my peers in this summer school. I have benefited tremendously from working on interdisciplinary and collaborative projects with people from diverse backgrounds and I believe that the similar environment in this program will foster creativity and discovery in new avenues and benefit me a lot for my transition from a Ph.D. student to a faculty member in the future.