Kevin Wang, Molecular Genetics
Year of Study: 2nd year MSc
Student’s Name: Kevin Wang
Graduate Department: Molecular Genetics
Country of Residence: Canada
Why Faculty of Medicine?
The faculty of medicine at the University of Toronto has the highest concentration of world-class scientists in all of Canada. Within a couple blocks downtown there are many top research hospitals affiliated with the University of Toronto. The potential for collaboration and high-quality research is unrivalled.
There are also plenty of resources that make research a lot easier. Everything from proteomics, high-throughput screening robots, flow cytometry, high-powered and automated microscopy, and biomedical device manufacturing. All of these facilities are within a 5 minute walk of each other.
Why this Department?
My research interest is at the intersection of biomedical engineering, clinical genetics, and high-throughput biology. I chose Molecular Genetics because the topics that interested me were conducted by members in this department. In addition, the faculty is extremely diverse in research topics and in age. We have a solid foundation in the more senior researchers as well as a large group of young researchers who are leading a fresh outlook on science. If there is some field of research you’re passionate about, there is a high chance that someone in this department will be working on the same thing.
Genome sequencing has become more common as a tool for diagnoses and precision medicine. However, our ability to interpret what the sequencing data means has not kept up. We can detect a mutation in a protein-coding gene, but we are not sure if this mutation will influence the function. Our solution to this interpretation challenge is to use a high-throughput functional assay called deep mutational scanning to determine all mutation effects in a given gene.
I am currently trying to find a novel way to use deep mutational scanning to assess secreted protein function. Normally, this would have to be done using microwell plates. However, the number of samples that need to be assessed would require a room full of plates and liters of expensive reagents over several weeks! Using a microfluidics device that I designed and built to encapsulate cells in picolitre sized droplets, I hope to be able to assess the effects of millions of individual variants in one experiment using less than a couple milliliters of reagents.
Future Education Plans or Career Goals
I plan on applying to M.D. Ph.D. programs across Canada with the goal of becoming a clinician scientist.
Contact Ambassador Kevin Wang