Daniel Chen is double majoring in both Informatics and Microbiology (where he is pursuing departmental honors). He currently conducts research under Dr. Yapeng Su and Professor Jim Heath in the Heath lab at the Institute for Systems biology. His research is focused on utilizing the single-cell multi-omic paradigm to analyze COVID-19 peripheral blood mononuclear cells to identify the disease state effects of SARS-CoV-2 on patient immune systems. Such research has also branched out into investigating heterogenous patient responses to COVID-19 in convalescence along with interrogation of patient epigenomes to identify the early-stage immune cell subpopulations responsible for humoral immunity formation and the epigenomic changes that may guide such. In combination with Chen’s previous research investigating melanoma subpopulations using single-cell transcriptome (scRNA-seq) and epigenome (scATAC-seq) data, his current research projects have continued to push and develop his passion for biomedical informatics particularly when applied to clinically relevant problems.
Chen has previously been awarded the Levinson Emerging Scholars award and the Mary Gates Research Scholarship (for both Winter and Autumn 2020), and is also listed on the Annual Dean’s List. Outside of class and research he enjoys hiking in nature preserves and crocheting amigurumi animals. After his undergraduate studies, Chen intends to pursue an MD-PhD centered on leveraging computational resources and advances to solve human medical challenges such as cancer and infectious diseases. He particularly looks forward to identifying best practices and applications for such research to develop more accessible medical solutions for the given problem.
Daniel’s near-term and long-term goals: I plan on initially earning an MD-PhD in either Bioinformatics or Bioengineering. Then I hope to pursue a faculty position at a university to conduct translational research in biomedical-informatic oriented fields.
Daniel’s tips for future applicants: Reach out to the OMSFA staff members because they do an amazing job in providing advice and resources on the application. Definitely take advice with a grain of salt and speak to what personally drives you which may require some time to just sit-down and really dig deep into what is the unique, personal reason your pursuing your current goals, what are they and what do they lead to (i.e. what are your future goals; why is what you’re doing now helping your career).