Dr. Huang
Dr. Huang

Huang Fellows

Class of '17 | Class of '16"

2017 Class

Elise Cai

Elise Cai

I am an undergraduate student originally from Plano, Texas, planning to major in biology. In high school, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to conduct research in traditional scientific laboratories. However, as someone whose love for science stems from both its academic side and its ability to benefit society, I believe it is just as important to understand the ethics, policy, and social implications behind my research, as it is to understand the technical science of my research. To this end, I am more than excited to have the opportunity to explore scientific research and its potential societal impacts through the Huang Fellows Program.

Yannet Daniel

Yannet Daniel

I am a current freshman from Cary, NC. Although I am on the pre-med track, I came to Duke with a variety of interests including global health and health policy. At Duke, I have had the opportunity to explore some of my interests as a research assistant at the Brain Imaging and Analysis Center. Through subject screenings and consenting, I have been introduced to the significance of ethics in scientific research. Additionally, my East African culture has always been of importance to me and I recognize the way cultural competency plays a role in practicing medicine. I cannot wait to take advantage of the interdisciplinary aspect of the Huang Fellows Program and better understand the way medicine and culture interact—the way scientific research and society can equally impact and shape each other.

Yutao Gong

Yutao Gong

I am Yutao Gong, born on a small island called Chongming on the Yangtze River in Shanghai, China. Probably because of the intimate exposure to nature (more specifically, the Yangtze River, the river called “mother river of China”) when I was a kid, I have always been very concerned about environment issues, including pollution and environmental health. I firmly believe that science only achieves its full purpose by being applied to real life, solving real world problems and improving people’s life. I am determined to dig deeper in the field of environmental science and hope to apply what I learn and discover to real life and to make this world a better place to live in.

Victoria Grant

Victoria Grant

I am a first-year undergraduate student with an academic interest in biology and environmental science. Those who know me best might say my passion for animals is one of my most defining characteristics. I have always had a desire to help animals and for the past three years, I have been exploring different careers by volunteering at the Phoenix Zoo. After completing my education, I hope to work in the animal conservation field, concentrating on genetics. In today’s world where science is often refuted, I strongly believe in the importance of the use of science and its implications on society. I want to further pursue my interest in science and the policies that effect the scientific community by obtaining the Science and Society certificate. I hope through my studies I will be able to protect endangered species, while enlightening the world of the importance of science.

Katelyn Hefter

Katelyn Hefter

I am a Pratt student who is pursuing a double major in biomedical engineering and neuroscience. On campus, I’m involved in a variety of activities, ranging from playing the trumpet in the wind symphony and marching and pep band, to participating in the FEMMES (Females Excelling More in Math, Engineering, and Science) Capstone, where I helped a group of 4th and 5th grade girls explore different fields in science and engineering. My job with the Kenan Institute for Ethics as a member of Team Kenan has helped me to further explore the convergence of science, technology, and ethics, and my participation in the Neuroscience and Law FOCUS cluster has piqued my interest in the role of neuroscience in the courtroom and the ethics of how we treat those with different brain structures. As a Huang Fellow, I hope to explore the intersection of engineering and ethics in artificial intelligence and neural prosthetics. I also hope to combat stigma and stereotypes against neurodiversity.

Richard Huang

Richard Huang

I am a first-year undergraduate from Boston, Massachusetts pursuing an interdepartmental major combining neuroscience and computer science. Participating in the What If? Focus cluster spurred my interest in the computational sciences. Currently, I am part of a team investigating the effects of anesthesia on postoperative cognition and possible links to early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Here, I’ve learned that research is as much of an art as it is a science. It’s a paradox of straddling two inevitably disparate sides, the ethics and the science, to reach a shared objective of improving the future. As a Huang Fellow, I hope to become more exposed to the intersection between ethics and science and better navigate their relationship.

Jamie Karl

Jamie Karl

I am a first-year student from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina attending the Trinity School of Arts and Sciences. I am looking to major in biology or evolutionary anthropology with a minor in English. As a Huang Fellow, I want to study the significance of narratives in medicine. Every patient that comes into a doctor’s office tells a story of his/her symptoms, and a physician’s job is to help her/his patient reach the best possible ending for his/her story. I plan to use this program’s focus on the intersection of humanities and science to solidify my science knowledge while increasing my appreciation for people’s stories in hopes of attending medical school and becoming a physician.

Ralph Lawton

Ralph Lawton

I’m originally from Avondale, PA, and at Duke I’m planning to study Economics on a pre-medical track. I’m really interested in the intersections of health and economics, and am planning to become a physician. I believe that a firm grounding in the social sciences will help me to best serve society. On campus, I’m in the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program, I work in an economics research lab, and just joined Duke EMS, and off campus I spend a lot of my time shooting archery. I’m joining this program to round out my efforts to get a fundamental understanding of how I can best contribute in the service of society.

Claudia La Rose

Claudia La Rose

I am a first-year student from Waconia, Minnesota, studying Global Health and Biology. I am interested in pursuing a career in medicine to work towards making accessible healthcare a global reality. I participated in the Ethics Focus Cluster during the fall semester, which introduced me to the Kenan Institute of Ethics. I am now a member of Team Kenan, a student run group on campus that strives to promote discussion about deeper, thought-provoking issues. Together, my interests in the sciences and in ethics have led me to the Huang Fellows program. The program’s emphasis on using science to serve society parallel my own values, and I am excited to begin a research project that could positively impact society.

Olivia Lee

Olivia Lee

I am a pre-medical student from Oakland, California interested in global health, neuroscience, psychology, and biology. I am absolutely fascinated by every aspect of the human body, and I have always been passionate about every part of the human experience from art to literature to science. I am excited to become a part of Huang Fellows because I can make a difference in the world through the intersection of policy and science. I believe that every member of the world’s community should have access to accurate information about their bodies. I am currently working in Dr. Douglas Wiliamson’s Translational Neuroscience Lab, which studies PTSD and the development of depression.

Tyler Lian

Tyler Lian

I am a pre-health student from Old Lyme, Connecticut, interested in studying math, computer science, and their applications in biology and medicine. In particular, it is exciting to see mathematics play a larger role in the field of medicine unlike ever before. Already, math has become “biology’s next microscope,” so to speak, as advanced mathematical models and learning algorithms give scientists greater access to what they cannot physically see. As a prospective doctor and researcher, I want to inquire into this more human side of mathematics, that serves people and patients, and the ethics and policy entangled within.

Sachit Menon

Sachit Menon

I graduated from the Texas Academy of Math and Science in Denton, Texas, attending the University of North Texas for my final two years of high school. For years, I’ve been fascinated by the way new technologies are revolutionizing seemingly-unrelated areas of basic science. I was named a Goldwater Scholar in 2016 for my research in nanotechnology and neuroscience. Recently, I’ve become interested in translating my background in basic science to science policy; as a Huang Fellow, I hope to expand on this interest.

Valedie Oray

Valedie Oray

From conducting studies in cognitive neuroscience research at the Lustig lab at the University of Michigan during my senior year of high school in Bloomfield Hills to currently studying developmental neurobiology under the direction of Dr. Debra Silver, I have been continuously drawn to learning about the mechanisms of the human brain and understanding its functions. My additional interests in understanding and arguing underlying ethical reasoning behind health and research policy has prompted me to pursue a double major in Biology under a Neurobiology concentration and Public Policy. The intersection of the humanities and the sciences is what led me to become a Huang Fellow as I hope to better expand my interests in these fields and promote a multidisciplinary attitude towards political endeavors. Outside of my academic interests, I am heavily involved in the music department at Duke University, participating in Duke’s Opera Workshop and privately studying voice under the direction of Dr. Susan Dunn. I plan to pursue an MD/MPP after graduating from Duke University and fulfill my aspirations of becoming a physician. However, I hope to be involved in health policy development or research ethics as a part of my profession.

Reagan Portelance

Reagan Portelance

I am from Mooresville, North Carolina, and I am currently pursuing a major in Biomedical Engineering. I was originally drawn to the more mechanical side of BME by an interest in the development and design of prosthetics. During my first semester at Duke, I began working in a lab that utilized molecular and metabolic engineering, and this experience has widened my interest to include other fields of BME that take place on the microscopic level. I would like to continue to explore other aspects of Biomedical Engineering, so I am very excited and honored to be a Huang Fellow!

Liam Pulsifer

Liam Pulsifer

I come from a large, diverse family: one filled with lawyers, writers, engineers, and thinkers of many different stripes. It’s their example that inspires me to ponder questions of the natural world and its relationship with humanity. My recent interests include computer science, social science, and philosophy, and I’m especially drawn to the use of data analysis in the visualization and clarification of scientific research. I believe it’s ever more important, as we enter an increasingly globalized, connected society, to have clear, concise, and compelling ways to not only pursue scientific progress, but also to communicate that progress to the public.

Brian Rhee

Brian Rhee

The adventure of committing oneself to an unanswered question, enduring through a sequence of trial and error, to achieve even the smallest victory in the laboratory: this is what draws me to science research. As an undergraduate who is interested in biology and chemistry, I am thrilled to join the Huang Fellows Program in order to explore a dimension of research that was often neglected in my past—the ethical implications of my research and the process at which my substantial results would be translated into policy changes that would affect the current treatment of Alzheimer’s patients or affect today’s usage of fossil fuels. Making the most of the Huang Fellows Program’s focus on the societal impact of research, I plan to continue providing a service for society through the sciences and through a future career in medicine.

Kunal Shroff

Kunal Shroff

Currently, I am a pre-medical Trinity student planning to major in neuroscience and chemistry with a concentration in biochemistry. I was drawn to the Huang Fellows Program because their goal of integrating science into society resonated with my own beliefs of how science should shape and be shaped by the general public. In addition to the Huang Fellows program, I am an executive board member of Synapse and an active member of the Science Days club. Both of these clubs work to spread scientific ideas into the Durham community. Ultimately, I hope to enter the medical profession and help spread scientific ideas and understanding to societies across the world. I believe that the Huang Fellows program will provide me with a solid foundation of fundamental skills to help speak to the general public about scientific principles and ideas.

Jake Wong

Jake Wong

I am a first-year undergraduate from Atlanta, Georgia planning to study Global Health and Chemistry. During first semester, I saw organic chemistry as its own fascinating language. Yet while I enjoy learning how biological functions work on a basic level, I also hope to understand how knowledge is applied on a larger scale ― how policies are guided by scientific evidence, how drugs are distributed fairly, and how health services are provided to populations. Through the Huang Fellows program, I hope to build my scientific knowledge while discussing its implications with peers and mentors, and to better understand the relationship between scientists and lawmakers. After graduating, I plan to attend medical school to pursue a career in either clinical medicine or public health.

2016 Class

Jules Frost

Jules Frost

As an international student who grew up across several continents, I learned from a young age to appreciate the nuances of different cultural and communal societies. At the same time, I saw how sciences could still be shared across all of these societies. My current interests are in physics and the philosophical implications of its modern quantum and cosmic discoveries, and in the political science of institutions, scientific, educational and otherwise, and how they alter the fabric of society. My goals are to understand the influence of scientific research on our philosophical and political understandings of society, and to reconcile the division between hard sciences and human interaction.

Posters:

  • Detecting supernovae: modelling the change in detection of neutrino emission of pre-supernova stars
    Mentor: Kate Scholberg, Ph.D., Department of Physics
Michael Gulcicek

Michael Gulcicek

There’s an art to balancing the arts and sciences. Racing from my local high school in Madison to the Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven, I sought to cobble together a cohesive mesh of theater and traditional academics, of humanities and sciences. While this dual-high school experience instilled in me an unmatched appreciation for the arts and sciences, I strive to connect more cogently these conventionally disparate disciplines while at Duke. Thus, I’m drawn to the Huang Fellows Program, an opportunity to walk along intersecting lines of ethical, scientific, and political inquiry, a program in which to explore how psychological consideration may shape policy or how ethical obligation may hinder scientific feasibility. In seeking this intentional intersection, I hope to find this balance; I hope to master this art.

Posters:

  • Perceived Reality: How much of what we remember actually happened?
    Mentors: Matt Stanley, PhD, Gregory Stewart, PhD, Felipe De Brigard, Ph.D., Department of Philosophy
Robyn Guo

Robyn Guo

I am originally from Flemington, NJ and am currently a student in the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences. I am pursuing a BS in Biology and a minor in Medical Sociology. During my rst semester, I was part of the Genome Sciences FOCUS cluster, which piqued my interest in the intersection of policy and the natural sciences, particularly in the eld of personalized genomics. As an aspiring physician-scientist, I am also interested in exploring the ethics involved in clinical care and medical research. I currently work in a Molecular Genetics and Microbiology lab where I study host-pathogen interactions in Chlamydia infection.

Posters:

  • Characterization of Chlamydia CXCL10 cleavage
    Mentors: Kelly Pittman, PhD, Dennis Ko, Ph.D., Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
Parker Hao

Parker Hao

As an undergraduate pursuing both Electrical Computer Engineering and Economics, I am hugely drawn by the connections between the two. Thus, I am thrilled to join the Huang Fellows Program and expand my understanding of science and engineering in the context of society. I am also passionate about startups. The greatest startups, I believe, succeeded mainly because of their societal implications, which I really valued in my own startups. Bearing the dream of efficient use of college items, I joined and developed an app called WheeShare, which is a belongings exchange platform funded by Duke Innovation Co-Lab. As a member of Acoustical Society of America, I created an acoustics startup called Washing-Wallet, which had entered the second round of Duke Startup Challenge. It’s an ultrasonic device that could wash clothes intelligently and cheaply so that people in under-developed counties could wash clothes easily while saving considerable water. After graduation, I plan to work on my own startup or join a revolutionary startup.

Posters:

  • Low-cost Substitutes for Low-orbit Satellites: Optimization of Endurance Quadcopter Using Solar Power and Helium Balloons
    Mentor: Michail Zavlanos, Ph.D. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering
Alison Huang

Alison Huang

I am currently pursuing a double major in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science in the Pratt School of Engineering. In high school, I was very involved with my debate and math team, and in college I have become a writer for the Duke Political Review. I have always been intrigued by many issues surrounding the technology sector, from the ethical debate surrounding the growth of Arti cial Intelligence to the correlation between unemployment and the automation of jobs. The Huang Fellows Program seemed like the perfect opportunity to further explore these topics.

Posters:

  • Mapping cortical neurons in monkeys using a hidden Markov model
    Mentors: Po-He Tseng, PhD, Bastien Orset, Miguel Nicolelis, Ph.D., Departments of Neurobiology and Biomedical Engineering
Kushal Kadakia

Kushal Kadakia

I am a sophomore studying biology, public policy, and global health. I’ve pursued my interests in science and society through basic science research in radiation oncology and cardiology as well as through health policy research in accountable care, Medicaid reform, and vaccine R&D. Beyond academics, I also serve as Student Body Vice President and Chair of the Honor Council. After graduation, I hope to pursue a career in translational biomedical research or international healthcare policy.

Maegha Lanka

Maegha Lanka

I decided to become a Huang Fellow because I am fascinated by the intersection of ethics and science. My passion for animals and for preserving our environment drove me to seek out opportunities such as Winter Forum 2016, which allowed me to better understand the societal implications of conservation projects working to protect endangered species. As a freshman at Duke, I intend to pursue a degree in Environmental Sciences & Policy and a certi cate in Marine Science Conservation & Leadership. I hope that the interdisciplinary nature of these two certi cations will help me gain new insight into the intersection of science and society. My long-term goal is to help better the lives of animals, while also addressing the needs of our society by pursuing a doctor of veterinary medicine, working in conservation biology, and working to promote ethical policy regarding issues such as animal testing.

Posters:

  • Functional Roles of the Forelimb and Hindlimb During Horizontal Quadrupedalism on Tree Branches in Aotus and Eulemur
    Mentors: Michael Granatosky, PhD, Jandy Hanna, PhD, Daniel Schmitt, Ph.D., Department of Evolutionary Anthropology
Shweta Lodha

Shweta Lodha

I am originally from New York, and am currently studying Neuroscience and Global Health. My initial exposure to the interdisciplinary nature of science, policy, and ethics was through my freshman FOCUS program. Interested in the intersection between policy, healthcare, and science, I continue to study the overlap of these subjects through my course work, the Huang Fellowship seminars, and my involvement with United Against Inequities in Disease, a national non-pro t designed to help improve the quality of health in diverse communities. Alongside this, I have continued researching the development of prostate cancer in the Matsunami Lab. After college, I hope to further advance my knowledge about public health systems, health management, and general medicine. Outside of researching, I like to hike, read, try different foods, and travel.

Posters:

  • Towards the Identification of an Olfactory Receptor that Regulates Prostate Cancer
    Mentors: Hiroaki Matsunami , PhD, Tatijana Abaffy, Ph.D., Department of Molecular Genetics, and Microbiology
Jesse Mangold

Jesse Mangold

I am a sophomore from Oakland, NJ pursuing a double major in Biology & Global Health with a strong interest in leveraging biomedical innovation to reduce disparities in global health equity. How do we ensure emerging health technologies are accessible to those who would bene t the most? The answer to this question lies at the bridge between biomedical sciences and policy that the Huang Fellowship seeks to strengthen. On campus, I am involved with Know Your Status, a student-run organization providing free HIV testing and education to the Duke community. This summer, through the DGHI Student Research Training Program and under the mentorship of Dr. Dennis Clements, I will be volunteering at Clinica Esperanza in Roatán, Honduras to conduct research on myopia and glaucoma prevalence in schoolchildren and adults. In the future, I hope to attend medical school and work in healthcare as a policy-minded physician.

Posters:

  • Does early initiation of marijuana use exacerbate HIV-associated neurocognitive impairment? Mentors: Sheri Towe, PhD, Andrea Hobkirk, PhD, Christina Meade, Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Laura Naslund

Laura Naslund

I am sophomore from Raleigh, NC pursuing a Biology major with a Computational Biology minor and a certificate in Science and Society. I am broadly interested in the ecological impacts of human disturbance. Currently, I am working on a project in Dr. Emily Bernhardt’s lab studying how aquatic contamination from mountaintop mining impacts the connection between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. From my experiences in lab and through the Huang Fellows program, I have gained an interest in how scientists can best engage stake-holders to create public policy informed by their scientific findings. After Duke, I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in Ecology, with the hope of pursuing a career in academic research.

Posters:

  • Freshwater salinization, it’s not just a coastal problem: Impacts of mountaintop mining on a regional scale
    Mentors: Matt Ross, Emily Bernhardt, Ph.D., Department of Biology
Jordan Richardson

Jordan Richardson

As a second year undergraduate at Duke, I am currently pursuing a Neuroscience Major and a Chemistry Minor on a premedical track. While I am involved in many leadership roles programs such as the Penny Pilgrim George Women’s Leadership Initiative and the Ascend Women’s Scholars Program, my true joy resides in working with people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities through the Special Olympics. My passion for this community combined with my interest in science and medicine makes me a devoted advocate for eliminating health care inequality for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. I founded and direct a program at Duke called the Special Olympics Health Alliance that pairs pre-health students with Special Olympic Athletes in the community to improve health knowledge and exposure, and I will be working this summer in Costa Rica to connect Special Olympic Athletes there to medical providers in the community. Being a Huang fellow truly showed me how important it is to think about science in context of not only what it can do for the world, but what it also can take from the world in return. As a future Pediatric Neurologist, public health advocate, and researcher, I know this special training will be crucial to my success.

Posters:

  • The Acute and Long Term Toxicity of Dextromethorphan in the Developing Brain
    Mentors: Arsen Hunanyan, PhD, Adriana Azar, Mohamad Mikati, Ph.D., Department of Pediatric Neurology
Benjamin Sosin

Benjamin Sosin

I am a pre-medical Trinity student intending on a Neuroscience major and a philosophy minor. I am fascinated by the expansion of knowledge in the medical and neuroscience fields, as well as how this new knowledge should be applied to help the sick. I think the interdisciplinary approach of this Fellowship will give me an exceptional groundwork from which to learn about the ethical implications of such scientific advancements, and how these implications translate into policy issues which ultimately affect the ways in which new knowledge will be used to treat patients.

Posters:

  • Perceived Reality: How much of what we remember actually happened?
    Mentors: Matt Stanley, PhD, Gregory Stewart, PhD, Felipe De Brigard, Ph.D., Department of Philosophy
Skye Tracey

Skye Tracey

I am originally from Chapel Hill, NC and am currently pursuing a BS in Biology, with a concentration in neurobiology, and the Science and Society certificate. I have an interest in the intersection of society, health, and health policy. On campus, I am involved in the lab of Dr. Jeremy Kay, and study the molecules implicated in cell to cell recognition in the nervous system. In addition, I am involved the lab of Dr. Linmarie Sikich which performs clinical trials on drugs to treat Autism Spectrum Disorder. I am a volunteer for Females Excelling More in Math, Engineering, and Science (FEMMES), a program that links elementary and middle school aged girls in Durham to female mentors who are studying in the STEM fields. FEMMES provides outreach to young girls in the community in order to promote exposure to female role models who are passionate about science from an early age. My ultimate goal is to pursue a career in clinical or translational biomedical research.

Posters:

  • Expanding the MEGF10 protein toolbox
    Mentors: Jingjing Wang, Jeremy Kay, Ph.D., Department of Neurobiology
Gary Wang

Gary Wang

I am a sophomore from Bothell, WA studying Neuroscience and Health Policy, with a minor in Chemistry. Throughout my time at Duke thus far, I have learned how science, medicine, business, and politics are all inextricably intertwined. Recognizing the need for more physicians with policy and business knowledge, I plan on pursuing a joint MD/MBA program in the future. I hope to serve patients both at the bedside in clinical practice, and through administrative work aimed at making health care more cost-effective, accessible, and personalized. Being a Huang Fellow has allowed me to explore these passions and think critically about the social and ethical impacts of scientific discovery. I am excited to continue my involvement with Science & Society in the years to come.

Posters:

  • My brain made me do it: neuroscience in the criminal courtroom
    PI: Nita Farahany, Ph.D., School of Law, Duke Initiative for Science & Society
Leah Yao

Leah Yao

I am a second year Trinity College of Arts and Sciences student from Philadelphia majoring in Psychology and minoring in Chemistry. As a Huang Fellow, I researched the use of neuroscience in the criminal courtroom with the SLAP lab, coding and analyzing hundreds of court opinions to understand how scientific data affects legal defenses. I continued to pursue policy research during the school year under Bass Connections in the North Carolina Medicaid Reform Advisory Team. My research involves North Carolina’s challenges to accessing care and our team will be presenting a policy proposal to the NC General Assembly in April. To better understand the basic science behind health policies, I am also conducting research in Dr. Edward Levin’s NeuroBehavioral Lab. My research focuses on how nicotine and benzo(a) pyrene, components of tobacco smoke, affect emotional and cognitive functions as well as sexual behavior. On campus, I am involved in Duke Partnership for Service, Project Sunshine, and DukeHAND.

Posters:

  • My brain made me do it: neuroscience in the criminal courtroom
    PI: Nita Farahany, Ph.D., School of Law, Duke Initiative for Science & Society
Ada Zhang

Ada Zhang

I am a Neuroscience major with minors in Creative Writing and Psychology. I am interested primarily in the intersection of neuroscience and society, especially in regard to how recent developments in neuroscience have the potential to shape the way we interact with our surroundings and each other. I am interested in leveraging scientific discovery to create meaningful, feasible, and accessible change for marginalized and underprivileged communities in the United States and abroad. At the moment I am focused on using behavioral, cognitive, and social neuroscience and psychology to examine why and how people come to practice different forms of prejudice and discrimination; in particular, I am interested in the biological bases of implicit bias and empathy.

Posters:

  • My brain made me do it: neuroscience in the criminal courtroom
    PI: Nita Farahany, Ph.D., School of Law, Duke Initiative for Science & Society
  • Consumer-grade EEG devices: is brain data privacy a salient concern?
    Mentors: Beatrice Capestany, Nita Farahany, Ph.D., School of Law, Duke Initiative for Science & Society
  • Expanding the Collective Voice For Health Equity & Access