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Junior’s research goes beyond campus labs

Junior Yao Liu fell in love with research during a freshman-year internship at Binghamton General Hospital.

For the past two years, Liu has tracked 100 patients with various forms of chronic diarrhea and recorded their responses to different treatments. He hopes that one day his work will make treatments more effective for people suffering from these problems.

Liu’s research interests don’t end in the hospital. In C.J. Zhong’s lab, high up in the tower of Science 2, Liu makes nanoparticles — tiny metal pieces 10,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. Liu, a pre-med chemistry major, is exploring the possibilities of using nanoparticles for medical imaging and drug delivery.

“All my life is about research,” Liu said. “If somebody asks me what I remember about my college experience, I will just say ‘research.’”

Last summer, the Flushing resident presented his chemistry research at a conference in Buffalo.

“As a researcher, you always want people to know about the stuff you’ve been doing,” he said. “A lot of people stopped by to ask me questions, so I got very excited about my research.” He plans to present his clinical research at a similar conference next fall.

When he’s not in lab or at the hospital, Liu is a Discovery Adviser counseling students on making the most of college, as well as vice president of the McNair Scholars, where he helps undergraduates pursue their research careers. He can also be found at the pool, where he exercises every day for his physical and mental health.

After graduating next year, Liu plans to become a doctor specializing in the treatment of cancer, which he calls “the ultimate enemy of human beings.”

Zhong is optimistic about Liu’s future.

“Yao is exceptional, and he’s on the right path to advanced study,” he said.
But for Liu, his work is not just about doing research and getting into medical school.

“Helping people is all I want to do, and I’ve found many different ways to do that,” he said. “It makes me feel great.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08