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PHD Bioinformatics, Taiwanese Applicant, Personal Statement of Purpose for Graduate School

Updated: 4 days ago


As a result of my significant exposure to research projects and researchers, I have come to understand that a good scientist is not necessarily a good researcher and that an influential researcher possesses a set of comparatively rare characteristics. The researcher is an excellent scientist with a comprehensive understanding of her subject, she is an honest person ready to admit to any bias or interest in outcomes. She has the capacity to think creatively and intuitively, the discipline to adhere strictly to relevant protocols, the determination to see challenges through to their conclusion, and the ability to cooperate with others. She also has the generosity to acknowledge the contribution made by others when goals are achieved. I firmly believe that I have demonstrated these characteristics and have the potential to develop them to the degree that will enable me to undertake excellent research for the common good.


I am Taiwanese and my native language is Mandarin and I am fluent in English. Since coming to the US, I have happily studied, worked, and socialized with people of various social and ethnic backgrounds. I enjoy learning about new cultures and sharing my own rich cultural heritage knowledge. I get along well with others and am as happy working in collaboration as working autonomously.


Since childhood, I have intended to make a beneficial difference. My interest and ability in scientific subjects made it a natural career path. Biomedicine is the area in which I felt that I could maximize my usefulness to the world, and it is a choice that I have never regretted. It has provided great satisfaction and joy. I now seek to build upon my work, studies, and research experience to achieve my long-term objective of working in Informatics as an independent scientist in a research institute, hospital, or private company.


My laboratory experience began in 2011 when I joined Dr. XXXX and Dr. XXXX’s lab and began my Master’s degree studies at the National Chung Hsing University. There, I acquired basic laboratory skills in Molecular Biology and plant tissue culture. My problem-solving skills were challenged and developed. I worked hard and found the work fascinating. I acquired a reputation for being able to learn quickly and thoroughly and demonstrating adaptability, and I was soon entrusted with a project of my own.


Once I had been awarded my Master’s degree, Dr. XXXX recommended me to Dr. XXXX at XXXX University. I had never traveled outside Taiwan at that time. I was somewhat apprehensive, though very excited, at being given this opportunity because I was fascinated with the subject of the project. The research at XXXX proved to be far more challenging than I had expected, but this was a formative and enriching experience in the development of my skills and in recognizing some latent abilities. The experiments were straightforward, but the daily challenges and the troubleshooting proved to be the most challenging aspects of the work, and I rose to those challenges.


Working as an Exchange Researcher at XXXX opened my eyes to the vast range of research undertaken in the US. I elected to join Dr. XXXX’s lab in July 2015 because I regarded his research in Membrane Biophysics as an excellent opportunity to work with and learn from biology and physics experts. The techniques and thinking applied in the lab were significantly different from those I had experienced to date. I needed to adapt quickly to new concepts, which I did successfully. During this time, my confidence increased, and my knowledge was broadened and deepened. Dr. XXXX encouraged me to fulfill my dream of pursuing a Ph.D. and allowed me to take a course in programming to enable me to do so. I learned how to properly use R programming, which was new to me, and became fascinated with this aspect of data science. At this point, my decision to pursue a Biomedical Ph.D. was made.


For decades, Dr. XXXX’s group has studied the interaction between antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) and cell membranes. My first project in Dr. XXXX’s lab was comparing AMPs between the model and E. coli membranes. The bacterial membrane represents an attractive target for designing new antibiotics to combat widespread bacterial resistance. Understanding how antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) and other membrane-active agents attack membranes could facilitate the creation of new, increasingly effective antimicrobials. Despite the intense study of AMPs on model membranes, we do not know how well the attack mechanism translates to natural biological membranes. To that end, we have characterized the attack of AMPs on Escherichia coli cytoplasmic membranes and directly compared this action to model membranes. Our results support using model membranes to study the molecular interactions of AMPs with bacterial membranes. The hard work was rewarded with a publication in Biophysical Journal in Feb 2017.


My research interests lie in public health and biomedical research, mainly designing and analyzing complex data. I am applying to UX Health because of its worldwide reputation for the quality of its research projects, the prestigious faculty, the world-class facilities, and the stellar success of so many of its graduates. Working with the most promising and passionate students in Biomedicine is beautiful. I believe that I have the potential to add to the university’s lustrous reputation and will apply myself with exceptional diligence and enthusiasm to do so. I seek a challenging and highly supportive academic environment, and I am very confident that this will be provided. I am convinced that I possess the determination, diligence, skills, knowledge, and working experience that will enable me to excel in the program and beyond. I seek challenges and consequent satisfaction, and I believe working with large amounts of biological data to answer pressing questions will give this the highest degree.


While at XXXX, I was involved in analyzing large amounts of data. I learned the basics of large-scale data management within a Bioinformatics system to integrate gene data with proper statistical models to predict genetic interactions. Since that experience, supplemented by my formal study of ‘R Programming,’ Bioinformatics has become the center of my intellectual and investigative worlds. I am confident that I have the intelligence, diligence, and flexibility to enable me to advance and, ultimately, excel in Public Health Informatics.



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