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PS for Duke-NUS

My personal statement

Lu Chen

on 17 August 2013

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Transcript of PS for Duke-NUS

15 years ago
Since the very beginning, I thought doing medicine means having to be surrounded by blood and pain. It is like a glamorous stranger who is favored by my families, but misunderstood by me.
20 years ago
I was busy preparing myself to be a future violinist.
This presentation is about
How I met medicine and found it attractive
Medicine was just the awful needles and pills
26 years ago
My Big Bang
(Doing music was, without surprise, given up later, due to its clash with my heavy-loaded primary school study. Luckily it has remained as my life-time hobby)
My grandfather, who once headed an hospital, was determined to push my interest towards medicine
By inviting me to join his regular fish dissections, he did push me away from eating fishes though, and unfortunately medicine as well
8 years ago
Over the years, large dose of exposure to science fictions has relieved me from the trauma caused by fish bodies. Inspired by leading roles in those books, I found that scientific research, which includes fish investigation of course, is the only way to rescue our world from hostile aliens, lethal diseases and falling meteorites.
3 years ago
Doctor is a bloody job! I thought
As expected, great fun and satisfaction was coming along with my first research year. I was dreaming I could devote my lifetime to the discovery of protein folding mechanism, which is really fundamental to science, and crucial to understand Alzheimer's disease as well.
For the first time, I saw medicine coming into my horizon
And the misunderstanding should begin someday when I got my first shot, around
I realized the broad realm of medicine. Research, where my interest lies, is one essential part.
And what happened next was going to completely change my mindset
2 years ago
During that year in the midst of my on-going research, one book I read, one seminal I attended, and one talk I watched all coincidentally pointed to the same topic, and triggered me to ponder over my career options
While learning single molecule techniques from reading a biophysics book, one chapter unexpectedly gave updates on the field of system biology. For the first time in my life, I learned about 4P medicine and its novel concept immediately drew my interest. "Is that really going to happen?" I asked myself in that sunshine-filled cabin. I felt the train was taking me towards the future
Prof. Sunney Xie's seminar was held slightly later than I finishing the book. One slide in his presentation mentioned how the cost of DNA sequencing fell over the years. It immediately reminded me of 4P medicine. I was really thrilled to find out the change was near
The cost per megabase has fallen at a speed surpassing Moore's Law
Simple math tells me that around the year of 2014, genome sequencing will be brought to affordable level
and it supports these
sorting patience according to their gene
prediction of potential risk from gene
eating corresponding food to prevent the disease
more accurate
more intelligent
more popular
I think soon medicine will be
Like 1970's for personal computer, I think we are on the eve of another revolution
Be part of it! I told myself
The book and the seminar showed me the future of medicine and encouraged me to be the change
One talk, on the other hand, demonstrated to me how
In this talk, Tal Golesworthy, a process engineer, shared how he applied his expertise on plumping and piping to cure his marfan syndrome
To prevent the main artery from spliting in marfan syndrome, conventional medicine requires aorta graft surgery and will leave the patience on anti-coagulation drugs for lifetime, which inevitably brings many side effects
While Tal's
promises a drug-free future
like facing bulging pipes, he tried to wrap artificial textile
around his dilating ascending aorta to enhance its resistance to pressure
Implementation of his concept only takes 3 steps, but spans a wide field
1.Tal's aorta was scanned by MRI and modeled by CAD
2. The model was turned into mold by rapid phototying. Textile mesh, which can perfectly fit his aorta, was formed around the mold
3. Surgical implantation of tailored mesh
Through collaboration between radiographer, chemistry catalyst, cardiac morphologist and CAD engineer
Done by mechanical engineer, and medical device engineer
It is a cardiac surgeon's work of course. And don't forget the role of process engineer in the entire procedure
It was a dazzling team which realized the idea
"a multi-displinary team is the key" quoted from Tal's TED speech
I can be one to do it!
Thank you for reading my story and share my thought
Hope you enjoyed it
A key to his success, and to the future innovation too!
This talk had offered me personalized medicine from a brand new perspective, I realized that it was not just being discussed but carried out, not by one alone, but by a team, not just by doctors, but also by patients. Being both flexible and rigorous, I think, medicine desires the open-minded and persistent characters to lead the change.
Now I see medicine's glamor. More than that, I feel its gravity. Gradually my life path bends towards it, and I find the view ahead is even more exciting. A revolution of medicine, I imagine. But of the road to be built, all the tiles to be paved, the milestones to be set, will there be any done by me? I expect the answer will be yes.
As time passes, medicine continues to unfold itself before me. I see more wonders and problems. I resonate to new ideas and raise solutions.

Inspired by my research, I wondered if it is possible to make a globular protein into capsule sealing drug molecules inside; it unfolds upon reaching certain receptors and release the drug locally. I think that would help increase drug specificity without compromising its potency.
How my girlfriend fight against her skin problem, which is not curable for modern medicine, also triggered my thought. I wonder why not train patients into their own disease's specialist, especially for those minor problems? Because there are hardly any doctors who would breath with the disease, feel it everyday, work so hard searching for remedies and, not to mention, trying them like my girlfriend did. Patients can definitely be good doctors.
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