Vol. 4 No. 4 December 2005

Poster Session 

Dedon Interview

BME Elsewhere

Novartis Tour

Alumni Notes

Student Research

Printable Version

The BioTECH Quarterly

BMES Executive Board Alumni Notes: Life after MIT


Melissa Lambeth Kemp, Ph.D.
* S.B. in Nuclear Engineering ’97, BME minor
* BMES Co-Founder ’96-’97
* Currently a Postdoctoral Associate at Lauffenburger Lab in BE at MIT.
* Life after MIT:
   Graduate school in Seattle, WA; returned to Cambridge in 2003.


Jonathan Coe
* S.B. in Mechanical Eng. ’02
* BMES VP of Publications ’01-’02
* Currently a Design Engineer at Ethicon Endo-Surgery (Cincinnati, OH), a Johnson & Johnson Company.
* Life after MIT:
   MSME at Georgia Tech before starting in industry in 2004.

Tomo Iida
* S.B. in Chemical Engineering ’02
M.Eng. in Biomedical Eng. ’03
* BMES Secretary ’01-’02
* Currently a Diplomat in Embassy of Japan in Greece, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
* Life after MIT:
   After graduation, I worked at Life Science Laboratory of SONY Corporation in Tokyo as a research engineer developing a DNA disk that could be used for entertainment purpose. (You know, SONY likes to produce something creative and fun, not for medical use.) I liked the job and the environment, but my curiosity for the world outside of science and engineering has emerged enormously soon after I started to work in the real world.
    So, I switched my job to become a diplomat. Now I am assigned to Embassy of Japan in Greece and engaged in the facilitation of Japan-Greece economic affairs. Quite a different life, but I love it very much. Indeed, I miss thinking about gene expressions and pipetting once in a while, but I feel great to expand my knowledge and experience to diplomacy and its associated political, economical, and cultural issues.
    The best thing I learned from being at MIT is not to be afraid of challenging new things. As Einstein says, curiosity and actions are the driving force to make one’s life full. So, I strongly hope that fellow BMES students listen to what their hearts tell them and live happily, whatever career they choose to have. All the best to all of you.

P.S. Tomo got married this past September!

Julie Watts
* S.B. in Chemical Engineering ’02
* BMES VP of Research ’01-’02
* * Currently a Market Assessment Manager at Clearview Projects (Brisbane, CA)
* Life after MIT:
   Life has been great in San Francisco! I love working for Clearview Projects, which is a biotech consulting company that also helps biotech companies form partnerships. I’m learning a lot from the team here.
    Prior to Clearview, I was working for a tissue engineering start-up company doing project management. It was a great experience, too! There are so many biotech events out here, and it’s good to start building a network wherever you live. There is even a group called BioE2E (Entrepreneur to Entrepreneur) that was originally founded by the MITCNC (Club of Northern CA).
    In my free time, I race catamarans (small sailboats) with my fiancé, play soccer, and hike. There is a lot to do in the bay area!


Faisal Reza
* S.B. in Physics, Feb. ’03
S.B. in Science, Technology, and Society, Feb. ’03
Minor in Chemistry
Minor in Biomedical Engineering
* BMES Member-at-large ’00-’02
Crufty alum ’03-
* Currently remaining in academia, in interdisciplinary research positions at Duke University (Durham, NC) similar to those espoused by MIT BMES:
Doctoral candidate in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics; Masters candidate (en route) in Biomedical Engineering; Certificate candidate (en route) in Biomolecular and Tissue Engineering
* Life after MIT:
   I continued computational biology and bioengineering research and teaching at MIT and Harvard University before pursuing graduate studies at Duke in these disciplines.
    My research focuses on synthetic systems bioengineering, at the nexus of these disciplines. I use computational approaches to model and prototype the architecture of existing biological systems and engineering approaches to design and implement synthetic biological systems in a complementary manner. This research is generously supported by a Bioinformatics Award through Duke University and a NIGMS Biotechnology Predoctoral Training Fellowship through the NIH.
    MIT’s new S.B. in Biological Engineering will be a boon to future undergraduates who find themselves at the crossroads of the basic biosciences, engineering, and technology. Though I miss having such an opportunity when I found myself at these crossroads, such feelings are tempered in knowing that MIT’s biological engineering initiatives today exceed those of yesterday.

Audrey Wang
* S.B. in Biology ’03
* BMES VP of Special Programs ’02-’03
* Currently a medical student at Harvard Medical School, Harvard-MIT HST Program (Boston, MA)
* Life after MIT:
   I spent the first year of my life after MIT working abroad as a research intern at a pharmaceutical company through the MIT-Japan Program. Needless to say, it was quite an experience, living on my own so far away from home and everything else I had ever known. I arrived in early August, welcomed by my supervisor as well as the summer heat and humidity of Osaka. Throughout my stay, I sampled various aspects of Japanese culture, cuisine, and company life.
    Before I knew it, spring gave way to the summer heat once more, and I found myself back in the US preparing for orientation week at medical school. I did not stray far from MIT, though. I am now a second-year in the Harvard-MIT HST Program, living across the Charles in the heart of the Longwood Medical Area. I currently divide my time among classes, research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and exploration of Boston.

David Yin
* S.B. in Chemical Engineering ’03
M.Eng. in Biomedical Engineering ’04
* BMES VP of Special Programs ’01-’02
* Currently a Product Development Engineer at Clorox (Pleasanton, CA)
   Life here in San Francisco is going well. I love the city and the lack of snow. Still getting adjusted to the real world and figuring out what I want to do with my life. While I enjoyed my time at MIT and highly value my engineering education, I don’t know that I want to be an engineer long term. After working for Clorox in the consumer goods industry I’ve found myself very attracted to the business, more specifically marketing, aspects of industry.
    Who knows where the future will take me, though currently the writing on the wall might be business school. I wish the undergrads involved with BMES the best of luck and remember nothing you do now dictates what you have to be in the future. Keep your eyes open and your ears to the ground. You never know what could happen!


Joshua Aronson
* S.B. in Biology ’04, Minor in Toxicology
* BMES VP of Information Technology ’01-’03
Crufty alum ’03-
* Currently a medical student at Harvard Medical School, Harvard-MIT HST Program (Boston, MA)
* Life after MIT:
   After graduating in 2004, I spent the summer before medical school working in Dr. Raphael Bueno’s laboratory in the Department of Thoracic Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital researching the use of mRNA microarrays to predict candidate oncogenes and tumor suppressor proteins.
    As the fall began and medical school started, I moved to the Harvard Medical dorm, Vanderbilt Hall, thus completing my four-plus years in Next House. In the spring, I began my thesis research in Dr. David Scadden’s lab at MGH in the Center for Regenerative Medicine. I am researching the role of osteoblasts in the regulation of the haematopoietic stem cell niche, eventually identifying secreted or cell-surface signaling proteins involved with stem cell self-renewal.
    During this past summer, I moved to Beacon Hill and spent my time working full-time in the lab. Now, in my second year of medical school, I am finishing my pre-clinical coursework and preparing to start my clinical rotations in the hospitals.

Amy Shi
* S.B. in Chemical Engineering ’04
* BMES President ’02-’03
* Currently a Ph.D. student in the Harvard-MIT HST Medical Engineering and Medical Physics (MEMP) Program (Boston, MA)
* Life after MIT:
   After spending the summer traveling with friends around western Europe and the Rockies, I returned to Boston to start my PhD in HST and Materials Science and Engineering.
    I chose a thesis lab in the fall (Prof. Angela Belcher’s lab), working on a vaccine storage project. After the first year of classes, I took written quals and then spent the summer in Boston (my first!) doing research and exploring more of the Boston that I didn’t see as an undergraduate as well as exploring parts of New England and Canada. This term, I’m taking classes over at Harvard Medical School where I have bumped into a few fellow BMES alums who have also decided to stay in the area.
    All in all, life as a grad student tends to be more flexible, more self-directed, and is in many ways like a job where they pay you to learn A LOT. Great time so far and looking forward to finishing my oral quals in the spring so I can become an official PhD Candidate and get cruising with the research.

Yun-Ling Wong
* S.B. in Chemical Engineering ’04; S.B. in Biology ’04
* BMES VP of Research ’02-’03
* Currently a Ph.D. student in Bioengineering at Harvard University (Boston, MA)
* Life after MIT:
   Working as a doctoral candidate on pulmonary drug delivery of vaccines for tuberculosis in third world countries.


Nancy Benedetti
* S.B. in Biology ’05
* BMES VP of Special Projects ’02-’03
* Currently a medical student at Stanford University (Stanford, CA)
* Life after MIT:
   Medical school at Stanford has proven to be much different from MIT, and I’m not just talking about the weather, which, of course, is much more pleasant in California than in Boston. I have spent most of the first quarter adjusting to the new environment, establishing good study habits, and getting to know my classmates.
    At MIT, we are tested on problem solving that applies the material taught in class, but in medical school, we are tested almost exclusively on memorization (and a lot of it). Adjusting my study habits for rote memorization definitely took some time. Luckily, not all of my classes are based solely on memorization.
    Because Stanford is housed on one campus, we are able to take classes at other schools, so I am taking a business school class on the costs, risks, and benefits of health care. My group project is a cost-effectiveness analysis of anti-malaria drugs in Uganda. It has been great to have a quantitatively focused class and to study something other than biological science. I’ve always enjoyed learning about the economic side of medicine, and I plan to start a research project in this area soon.

Alexis DeSieno
* S.B. in Brain & Cognitive Sci. ’05
* BMES President ’03-’05, VP of Publicity ’02-’03
* Currently a Private Wealth Management Analyst at Morgan Stanley (New York, NY)
* Life after MIT:
   New York is great! After going through Morgan Stanley’s Investment Banking training over the summer, I began working in the Quantitative Strategies and Analysis group in Private Wealth focusing on “ultra high-net worth” clients. One of the things I have been the most surprised about is the type of clients we serve — lots of people from Boston who started pharmaceutical companies!
    For me, I’ve been doing a lot of catching up, since prior to this job I had absolutely no finance background (I worked in bio labs and never took 15.401). I work ridiculous hours trying to learn all of course 15 in 1 month, hoping that I sound like I know what I’m talking about.
    Outside of work I’m on the executive board of the MIT Club of NY as Editor of the MIT NY Newsletter, and I’m mentoring a high school student in Brooklyn weekly through iMentor. The future? An MD/MBA program to apply all these business skills to helping people in a medical setting — hospital administration or starting a biotech. We’ll see.
    New York is completely crazy and intense, and I can’t wait to get my first PAID vacation so I can go home to California and chill for a few days!! The main difference from college is that when you work, you have a lot less free time because you’re in the office 12+ hours per day. Time is passing so quickly, and I can’t believe I’ve been a real person contributing to society and paying bills (gasp!) for the last 5 months. I really miss MIT, so enjoy it while you still have it!.
    If you have any questions about switching from science to finance, feel free to contact me: <alexisd@alum.mit.edu>. Good luck this year!

NLili Peng
* S.B. in Chemical Engineering ’05; BME Minor
* BMES VP of IT ’02-’03, VP of Special Programs ’03-’04, Student Advisor ’04-’05
* Currently a Ph.D. student in Bioengineering at USCD (San Diego, CA)
* Life after MIT:
   Hi everyone! I’m having a blast out here in southern California! I just started my PhD track at the UCSD Bioengineering Department. Now that I’m in graduate school, I can truly appreciate how much my undergraduate background in chemical engineering has provided a strong set of skills for graduate school. Experiences such as my previous UROPs, BME internships, and communication-intensive lab courses (10.26) have taught me skills that are crucial to doing cutting-edge research. Even my MIT coursework has made my graduate coursework very manageable — I definitely don’t regret my MIT experience.
    The things that I’m still getting adjusted to are: the lack of snow (not that it’s a bad thing!), UCSD’s quarterly trimester system (it’s a very different pace from MIT’s semester system), and living in my first apartment! Last month I also took a weekend trip to the SF Bay area to visit some MIT alumni, including Max Cohen ’05. In terms of research, I recently joined a lab in which I will be doing computational modeling of the heart. I will start research rotation this winter, and I am extremely excited about this project!
    Feel free to email me at <lilipeng@alum.mit.edu> if you have questions about graduate school or southern California or the like.

Mandy Yeung
* S.B. in Biology ’05
* BMES VP of Special Programs ’03-’04, Secretary ’02-’03
* Currently a Consultant at Simon-Kucher & Partners (Boston, MA)
* Life after MIT:
   Interned at Genentech, traveled to China and Hong Kong, spending quality times with family and friends at home in California.

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