Lucy Zhang

Fanwood, NJ

Biomedical Engineering, ’23

Grand Challenge: Engineer Better Medicines

Why do I want to become a Grand Challenge Scholar?

As a Grand Challenge Scholar, I hope to pursue innovation in medicine and health, specifically in biomaterials and regenerative medicine. Since youth, I have been fascinated with how drastically age and disease can change the human body. As such, I want to work on creating novel methods to help the body heal in less destructive manners. However, making such technologies in the lab is still very different from actually implementing them. After coming to Duke, through coursework and interpersonal interactions, I have opened my eyes to the sheer number of complexities within “health.” Having good health is privilege, barring not only those without a strong immune system, but also populations with lower socioeconomic status, countries with bad infrastructure, areas with violence, and a multitude of other factors that interplay and compound to severely disadvantage certain people. In my pursuit of engineering better medicine, I hope that my time as a Grand Challenge Scholar will help me always keep in mind the ethical and societal implications of and potential barriers imposed by the materials I develop. Through the GCS support system and network of likeminded peers and mentors, I want to learn such insight and to broaden my perspective of what humanitarian work is. With GCS funding, I hope to attend conferences where I can meet and be inspired by some of the brightest minds. As of now, I am planning on taking a semester off to do research abroad in Singapore or elsewhere to better understand the differences in medicinal research worldwide. By supporting such a venture, the program will aid my efforts to expand my horizons and global awareness. In sum, participation in the Grand Challenge Scholar program would enrich my understanding of the world and my own life goals with respect to the grand challenges facing humanity.

Grand Challenge Advisor: Dr. Gaurav Arya

Tentative Thesis Topic: Self organization of DNA origami tiles on a substrate surface