Ngo Studies Biomedical Engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Clubs and interests: BMES, Vietnamese Student Association, trying new restaurants, going to the gym

Q. How did you first know you wanted to be a scientist or engineer?

A. I grew up having to fix my family's computers every time there was a tech issue (which was very frequently). I was pretty impressed that I could get rid of a virus at 10 years old, so I became really interested in computers and coding. From troubleshooting computer issues, I found research to be a very similar process and decided to explore it all throughout high school, which was where I decided I wanted to do biomedical engineering.

What has been your favorite experience or interaction this summer and why?

I can't decide so I'll give two: Learning how to program in R in just a few weeks, and seeing a placenta sample for the first time in the wet lab. Both experiences involved spending time with Remziye, my wonderful graduate mentor, and Esha, who also did undergraduate research this summer in the Dolatshahi lab. They helped make computational work enjoyable and interesting!

What positive impact do you hope to make in the future? Is there a big societal problem that you would like to help solve?

I hope to do research that focuses on women's health and help bring new findings on how health affects gender and race differently. I think it's very important that research represents all demographics, as I've learned that responses to treatment are different for every individual.

How do you think that your experience this summer may help you to meet your personal mission?
Being part of Dr. Dolatshahi's lab this summer has allowed me to discover systems immunology and how all diseases, from cancer to maternal-fetal complications, can be seen as an integration of biological processes from the genetic level or shown as an entire model. It has given me a lot of ideas about what I would want to research in the future and how I can use data science, computational skills, and engineering to solve these questions.

What’s next for you?
I'll be entering my senior year of college and working on graduate school applications. I hope to attend a Ph.D. program in biomedical engineering next fall (with UVA at the top of my list)!


REU Class of 2022 Lavie Ngo provided photo

Class of 2022 REU Participant Lavie Ngo was advised by Sepideh Dolatshahi on a project titled "miRNA Regulation of Glycosylation Genes in Cancer Cell Lines."