I come from southeast China and now am a senior at the American University in Psychology, with a minor in Physics and Pre-medical program (expected graduation December 2020). I have grown increasingly dedicated to expanding my abilities into the field of medical research and public health over the course of my undergraduate career. As an undergraduate researcher in the Psychopharmacology Laboratory, I assisted the study on effects of drug-history on the abuse vulnerability of α-pyrrolidinopentiophenone (α-PVP), a popular synthetic cathinone that is among the second largest group of dangerous psychoactive substances. I am joining a new study on the potential reversal effect of 6c (a potent protein kinase C inhibitor) on amphetamine-induced neurotoxicity via phosphorylation of protein kinase C on monoamine transporters. An understanding of the extent to which 6c reverses amphetamine-enhanced dopamine efflux and behavioral effects is informative to future development of 6c or newer analogues for treatment solutions to amphetamine use disorder. Prior to my studies in the Psychopharmacology Laboratory, I had the unique opportunity for a summer research project in the Organic Synthetic Chemistry Laboratory on the design of Lipoprotein Lipase (LPL) modulators to increase the enzyme catalytic function, which has shown promise in preventing Alzheimer’s disease caused by LPL mutations.
To bridge the gap between my research experience and the processes in the broader health sector, I participated in the World Health Care Congress 2018 as a project assistant. These ongoing involvements in health-related projects have motivated me to sponsor and develop the first annual “Stop-the-Bleed” training on the American University campus for 40+ students. We set the goal to train more people to be able to help reduce preventable death. I believe that public health is diverse; it has no borders; it takes joint forces not only to fight disease but also stigma and misinformation. Studying behavioral pharmacology of drugs of abuse and learning about its broad applications on human addiction have provided me a unique opportunity to rethink health conditions as dynamically evolving social phenomenon. As an aspiring M.D./Ph.D., I want to apply my knowledge to an area of medical interest with a strong desire to help combat stigma and discrimination due to people’s health conditions.