Member Spotlight: Mr. Victor Wang (NHS ’15)

Today we hear a bit about Victor Wang, a rising senior studying Human Science in the School of Nursing and Health Studies, who despite being in the throes of applying to medical school kindly took the time to meet with me to discuss his science research, favorite collectibles, and of course, Philodemic. 


Where are you from?

North Potomac, Maryland.

What’s your biggest research interest? 

I’m interested in genetics research. I’m currently doing research for a lab with Professor Yarden (of the Human Science department). Our lab works with a plant hormone that we’re trying to develop into an anti-cancer drug.

We published this past April; we showed that [the drug] can kill different types of cancer cells – lung, breast, osteosarcoma. My project in particular dealt with a method called the “Georgetown method” – developed in the GU Schlegel lab in the past ten years or so (more on this here) – in which you take cells from patients and kept them alive in tissue culture. This is significant in that normally, if you took cells from a person they’d die after some time. The Georgetown method of culturing the cells allows them to continue growing so they don’t die. That’s internationally known as the Georgetown method.

We looked at one patient’s prostate and tumor cells and did side by side drug analysis on those cells, using “conditionally reprogramming cells,” the Georgetown method. We showed that there was more effect on the tumor cells than the normal cells, which is the goal of any cancer treatment. Our hope is that our drug will have more of an effect on the cancerous tumor cells.

What have you noticed develop during your time in the Society?

 There’s a lot of care that goes into teaching and integrating and building up new members – everyone’s so willing to give advice and work on newer members’ speaking abilities. That’s a great thing about Philodemic – if you want to get better at speaking you have the resources right there to help you. 

Who’s been your speaking role model in the Philodemic?

I’ve really enjoyed watching in particular Amanda Wynter and Patrick Spags [Spagnuolo]. When I first started coming I knew no one by name but they really stood out – great personalities, great speaking, great energy overall. Whenever they come up to speak everyone takes notice.

What’s a fun fact about yourself?

 I collect Snoopies, from Peanuts. I have stuffed animals of all of his siblings, I have, like, 20 shirts with Snoopies on them, Snoopy shower curtains, Snoopy figurines. I have like at least 70 items with Snoopy on them in some fashion.

What’s your favorite part about doing research?

With research you can pick your own project, develop ownership over it. Research opportunities are always good for going into med school — the methodology, the ability to deal with failures and persevere. Research is about 95% failure and 5 % success — and that’s if you’re lucky. You just have to learn to keep at it. But once you find a result the reward is worth all the hours spent in the lab or out in the field. Those are all the moments that as researchers we all live for.

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