Hi! My name is Ethan Ho. Thanks for stopping by my Grand Challenge Scholar (GCS) e-portfolio!
Hometown: Taipei, Taiwan
Education: Duke University Class of 2023
Program of Study: Major in Biomedical Engineering, Minor in Chemistry, Material Science Certificate
GCS Focus: Engineer Better Medicines
I have been interested in regenerative medicine and am fascinated to see how synthetic biology could tackle unsolvable medical conditions. As a kid, I imagined how we could control cells and differentiate them into fully-functional organs. From there, I jumped into research using different biomaterials and mechanical properties to induce stem cell differentiation. Although the research experience was a small stride in achieving a fully functional organ, I felt closer to the technology and was eager to explore ways to engineer better medicine with biomimetic mateirals.
Knowing biomaterials’ potential in altering stem cells and advancing tissue implant technology, I was surprised to find out that stem cell therapeutics are not widely implemented in patient care. As such, whilst learning the different differentiation pathways of dental pulp stem cells, I also gauged the public’s perception of stem cell technology from cultural and historical perspectives. I comprehended the ethical concerns surrounding synthetic biology and misconceptions of the technology that led to some pushback in its advancement. I realized that the obstacles of tissue engineering are not only rooted in science, but the issues also encompass other disciplines.
I believe that being a GCS would allow me the opportunity to tackle biomaterial technology via an interdisciplinary approach. To better engineering medicine, it is imperative to focus on the core value that drives medicine: connecting people with technology and helping the ones in need. I seek to advance synthetic biology technology from the scientific side, but also to engage the community in addressing its ethical concerns, and to explore how tissue engineering is being applied in our lives around the globe.