How did you first become interested in science?
I’ve always been interested in science and engineering. Until age five, I wanted to be a train driver. From the ages of five to ten, I wanted to be an astronaut. At the age of ten, I was first introduced to nanotechnology through a sort of spy novel by English author Anthony Horowitz. I thought that sounded cool.
Could you describe your work in the Molecular Foundry?
It’s a direct continuation of what I was doing in my Ph.D. Most postdocs use electron microscopy as a tool. I am more interested in improving the methods of electron microscopy. I try to find ways to automate it so we can get a lot more data out of it. That can open up the technique to people with less experience. An electron microscope is a lot like a normal microscope, but you replace light with high-energy electrons. The high-energy electrons have a wavelength that is shorter than light. You can see individual atoms and look at subatomic particles. It can be used to understand how a protein works, gain a better understanding of the human body, work toward solving diseases, and improve drugs.
Do you plan to participate in this year’s research SLAM?
This is my first year doing it. I joined for the fun of it. In school, I took part in speaking competitions. I plan to speak about my work, focusing on the machine learning aspect of it. I expect to spend ten to 20 hours preparing for it during the next couple of months.