ISRP Students Gain Insight Into the 'Human Side of Science' From Guest Speaker Michael Quan

The Independent Science Research Program welcomed Michael Quan (former classmate of teaching fellow Lakshmi Jai) as its first guest speaker of the year on Oct. 31.

Michael is pursuing his PhD from Vanderbilt at the age of 20. He graduated in two years with a degree in Biomedical Engineering and Mathematics with a concentration in Bioinformatics. Students learned about how Michael is using mathematical equations to non-invasively detect diseases in the heart, which they found fascinating!

“I think that it was very cool how he was able to utilize his interest in math to work on medical problems that affect a broad population,” one student commented.
Beyond talking about his research, Michael stressed the importance of being a good person. “He really emphasized that it’s not enough to be brilliant, but there are other principles one should follow in order to be a happy and successful scientist,” another student stated. “Things that seem as simple as being kind are all too often forgotten, and I think Michael presented a refreshing insight into the human side of science.” 
Michael taught students that, “The only person you are competing with is the person you were yesterday.”  We thank him for taking the time to see our students and share his perspective, and we wish him the best of luck in graduate school.

All alumni and families with present or past experiences in scientific research have a standing invitation to visit the Independent Research Program. Our future scientists love hearing your stories, and these talks are formative to their careers. If you are interested, please reach out to Dr. Andrew Ying at