Er-Chia “Charlie” Yeh thinks a human cell is “the most intricate machinery” in creation, the “ultimate in engineering.” Bringing an engineer’s expertise to the diagnosis and cure of health problems, the Taiwanese Ph.D. student chose UC Berkeley, which has a joint program in bioengineering with UCSF Medical School, to launch a career that will seamlessly combine his interests in biology and engineering. The Soong Fellowship is helping him achieve his goal.
“I believe integrating engineering with biology is going to be the hot stuff in the future,” says Charlie, a straight-A student who is fluent in English, Japanese and Chinese. He is working with Luke P. Lee, Lloyd Distinguished Professor in Bioengineering, on biomedical devices for drug delivery and point-of-care diagnoses.
“The lab is a crazy blend of engineering and biology,” says Charlie, who was inspired by his father, a noted molecular virologist. In addition to UC Berkeley’s stellar bioengineering department, the Bay Area had other appeals: “the entrepreneurship culture and opportunities … and great outdoor entertainment. I love it here. I go biking. I go surfing. I go to Napa. I go skiing.” Plus, “there’s very authentic Asian food here.”
— Janet Silver Ghent (Originally published in The Graduate, Spring 2011)