Faculty Profiles in Excellence
Stanford Medicine faculty are at the cutting edge of patient care, research, and education.
Who are these amazing individuals and what do they do at Stanford?
The most rewarding thing is interacting with students in the lab, where they are growing and maturing.
Bioengineering and Developmental Biology
I was trained as a physicist and am in the bioengineering and developmental biology departments here at Stanford. I studied statistical mechanics for my PhD, but I was converted into a biologist when I stumbled into a class on developmental biology. The professor turned out to be a world expert on the worm we are studying.
We work on flatworms to study stem cell biology. These flatworms are famous. If you cut them into hundreds of pieces, they grow back. How do these organisms guard themselves from developing cancer? How do these worms regenerate a functional brain?
We also study a worm that infects millions of people. These worms feed on red blood cells. We figured we could load red blood cells with nanoparticles. The nanoparticles accumulate in the parasites because the parasites eat red blood cells. It is working, and we are hopeful.
I had several really good mentors throughout my career. My PhD mentor was very hands on. On the other hand, my postdoc mentor just set you free. I think that both were the perfect thing for me at that time. Those mentoring experiences changed my life. One of the most important jobs is to pass on this kind of passion to my students. Now, the most rewarding thing is interacting with students in the lab, where they are growing and maturing. My best time is spent interacting with students.