Last updated July 1, 2014
I am a simple boy with an affinity for meandering and meaningful experiences. Synergizing my talents and interests, I hope to become a physician one day, healing lives and nurturing hope. The summary here portrays the gradual realization of that vision.
Through observing my older brother work, I've picked up a few tricks that ultimately transformed into a genuine hobby. Here are the fruits of my HTML-fueled explorations.
It's a well-known fact: Everyone (and their pictures) could use a little Photoshop. Through my extracurricular work, I have nurtured my sense of design and creativity. Some samples:
Poetry is a guilty pleasure of mine. It not only grounds me in my youth, but also exercises neural muscles that would otherwise atrophy in the realms of science. Don't seek any profound wisdom here — just the literary experiments of a young boy.
Whenever time permits, I like to indulge the philosopher within me. My blog is the reservoir to my every fleeting thought. Some of my more coherent pieces are included below. The rest? Well, you've been forewarned.
Have questions about school? College admissions? Life? Send me an email. I'll try my best to help!
In the spirit of benefitting from all available resources, I have followed the most intellectually challenging curriculum available throughout my educational career.

Yale School of Medicine (New Haven, CT)

August 2014 — Current

  • M.D./Ph.D. Degree candidate

Harvard College (Cambridge, MA)

August 2009 — May 2014

  • A.B. Degree in Chemical & Physical Biology
  • Graduated summa cum laude with 3.95 GPA
  • MCAT: PS 14, VR 11, BS 14
  • Show undergraduate courses

The Harker School (San Jose, CA)

August 2005 — May 2009

  • Salutatorian with unweighted 4.16 GPA
  • SAT I: Verbal 800, Writing 800, Math 800
  • SAT II: Math Level II 800, Chemistry 800, Physics 800, Biology M 790, Spanish 800
  • 10 Honors courses: Physics, Pre-Calculus, Algebra II & Trigonometry, Spanish II and III, English I, II, and III, Multivariate Calculus (post AP), Differential Equations (post AP)
  • 11 AP courses: Computer Science AB, Chemistry, European History, Calculus BC, US History, Spanish Language, Biology, Physics C, English Literature, Art History, Psychology
In addition to my affinity for biology, I am fervently passionate about public health, community service, and music. My extracurricular activities have provided me with alternative outlets for the same determination and diligence that characterize my academic life.

Harvard College Red Cross | Co-President

September 2009 — May 2014

  • organized CPR / First Aid training events on campus
  • facilitated volunteer and donor recruitment for blood drives
  • redesigned club website

Harvard Team HBV | Co-President

September 2009 — May 2014p>

  • organize community screenings and educational presentations
  • raise awareness about hepatitis B among the API community
  • created club website

Medical Mission Trips | Spanish Interpreter

Summers 2007 — 2010, 2012, 2014

  • accompanied physicians on two-week trips to Honduras, Peru, and Mexico
  • helped to create makeshift clinics and translated during consults

Mozart Society Orchestra | String Manager and Principal Viola

September 2009 — December 2011

  • facilitated concert logistics
  • managed attendance among members

MIHNUET | Executive Board

September 2009 — December 2011

  • perfom solo and ensemble pieces at local nursing homes and hospitals
  • redesigned club website

Silicon Valley American Red Cross | Chapter Board of Directors

2005 — 2009

  • served as Co-Chair of the Silicon Valley Youth Executive Board
  • served as Co-President of school Red Cross Club
  • organized blood drives on campus
  • taught First Aid to local elemetntary students
  • organized annual Leadership Development Conferences for local youth

Violin and Viola

1999 — Present

  • served as Concertmaster of Peninsula Young Artists, Fall 2005 to Spring 2007
  • switched to Viola in Summer 2007

Judo

1999 — Present

  • received competitive Black Belt, February 2009
  • completed certification to be a Central Coast Regional Referee, February 2007
Outside the standard curriculum, I have created opportunities to utilize my knowledge of biology and computer science to pursue exciting research and to gain practical laboratory skills.

Massachusetts General Hospital | Fisher Lab

September 2011 — May 2014

Under the supervision of Drs. David Fisher and Rizwan Haq, I worked on identifying and characterizing a small-molecule inhibitor of MITF in the treatment for melanoma. Since Fall 2012, I studied how targeted therapies may be altering apoptotic pathways to actually inhibit cell death. I presented my results in an honors thesis titled, “Adaptive apoptotic signaling in cancer limits the efficacy of targeted therapies.”

Stanford School of Medicine | Beachy Lab

January 2011 — September 2011

During my leave of absence from school, I worked with Drs. Jean Tang, Ervin Epstein, James Kim, and Phillip Beachy to investigate novel treatments for basal cell carcinoma (BCC). Through in vitro experiments, mouse experiments, and clinical trials, I assessed the potential of itraconazole, an antifungal agent, in antagonizing the Hedgehog pathway and in treating BCC. I also aided in developing a cream-based formulation of itraconazole and exploring combinatorial therapies with arsenic trioxide.

Harvard Department of Physics | Samuel Lab

December 2009 — December 2010

Working with Professor Aravinthan Samuel, I am investigating the integration of thermal and chemical cues within Caenorhabditis elegans. In addition to analyzing patterns in macroscopic movement, I will be exploring the organization of neural circuits by calcium imaging.

Stanford Institutes of Medicine Research (SIMR) | Contag Lab

June 2009 — August 2009

As an intern in Dr. Chris Contag's lab, I worked with Dr. Michael Bachmann to research the therapeutic potential of silencing the gene TGF-beta1 in various tumor cell lines. Utilizing a modified commercial ELISA kit, I investigated the relative efficacy of three siRNA sequences in suppressing TGF-beta1 expression.
Over the years, I have come to familiarize myself with numerous techniques and softwares that will prove useful to all aspects of research: execution, analysis, and presentation.
  • Mastery of standard laboratory techniques: maintenance of tissue culture, luciferase signaling assays, cell viability assays, antibody retrieval, IF staining, tissue homogenization, RNA purification, quantitative PCR
  • Familiarity with basic mouse anatomy and relevant procedures
  • Fundamental understanding of molecular biology and inferential statistics
  • In-depth statistical analysis with Mathematica, MATLAB, Excel, GraphPad Prism, and LoggerPro
  • Coding mastery in Java, HTML, PHP, JavaScript, and CSS
  • Designing skills in Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, Dreamweaver, and Flash
  • Kim DJ, Kim J, Spaunhurst KM, Khodosh R, Chandra K, Fu T, Molgo M, Beachy PA, Epstein EH, Tang JY. An Open-label, Exploratory Phase II Study of Oral Itraconazole for the Treatment of Basal Cell Carcinoma. Journal of Clinical Oncology 32: 745-751, March 2014.
  • Kim J, Aftab BT, Tang JY, Kim DJ, Lee AH, Rezaee M, Epstein EH, Beachy PAB, Rudin CM. Itraconazole and arsenic trioxide inhibit hedgehog pathway activation and tumor growth associated with acquired resistance to smoothened antagonists. Cancer Cell 23:23-34, January 2013.
  • Luo L, Greenwood JSF, Soucy ER, Kim DJ, Samuel ADT (2010). Making linear chemical gradients in agar. Manuscript submitted for publication to the Worm Breeder's Gazette.

Academic

  • Phi Beta Kappa, May 2014
  • Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, March 2014
  • Rhodes Scholarship Finalist, November 2013
  • Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship — Honorable Mention for California, March 2012
  • Detur Book Prize, Fall 2010: Outstanding performance during first year at Harvard
  • John Harvard Scholar for 2009~2010: Top 5% of class based on GPA
  • 2009 Presidential Scholar for California, May 2009: One male and one female scholar from each state named by US Department of Education
  • Korean Embassy Scholarship, June 2009
  • National Merit Scholarship, April 2009
  • National AP Scholar Award, August 2009
  • Lions Club Scholarship, August 2009
  • Harvard Book Award, May 2008
  • Class of 2009 Cum Laude Society, May 2008
  • Spanish National Honor Society, April 2007
  • US Judo Federation Academic Excellence Awards, August 2005 and 2007
  • National Honor Society, October 2006

Research

  • Harvard College Research Program (HCRP), Summers 2012 and 2013
  • Herchel Smith Summer Undergraduate Fellowship (SURF), Summer 2010
  • Harvard Program for Research in Science and Engineering (PRISE) Fellowship, Summer 2010
  • Semifinalist in Intel Science Talent Search 2009
  • Stanford Institutes of Medicine Research (SIMR) Fellowship, Summer 2009

Math and Science

  • 1st Place at JETS TEAMS National Varsity Engineering Competition, Team Captain, May 2009
  • 2nd Place at Regional Science Bowl Competition, February 2009
  • Semifinalist in 2008 US National Chemistry Olympiad, April 2008
  • Semifinalist in 2008 USA Biology Olympiad, March 2008
  • Innovative Solution Award, JETS TEAMS Day at Stanford, February 2008
  • Harker Excellence Award in Mathematics, May 2007: Top performing math student

Music, Athletics, and Others

  • Jade Ribbon Scholarship, August 2007: Most effective hepatitis B awareness outreach project
  • US Senator Barbara Boxer Award, March 2006: In recognition of successful benefit concert
  • Gold Award with Command Performance at 2008 California State Solo/Ensemble Festival in Sacramento, Viola Solo, May 2008
  • Superior Rating with Command Performance at 2008 Bay Section California Music Education Association (CMEA) Festival, Viola Solo, March 2008
  • 1st Place at San Jose Buddhist Judo Tournament, February 2005
  • 1st Place at Palo Alto Judo Tournament, November 2005
Completed December 2012 [link]
Completed December 2010 [link]
Completed November 2010 [link]
Completed October 2009 [link]
Completed March 2009 [link]
Completed November 2007 [link]
Redesigned September 2007 [link]
Completed August 2010 [full size]
Completed February 2010 [full size]
Completed April 2010 [full size]

You are a beautiful person,
So full of promise and hope.
Don't let life get you down and cursin'.
Just laugh and learn to cope!

Cope with the troubles of life,
And take them to be your guide.
For with the lessons of Struggle and Strife,
Nothing will slow down your stride.

Your stride into the great unknown,
Your quest to learn and explore!
All your answers will soon be shown.
Just believe and see what's in store!

In store for you (and just for you)
Are joy, love, mercy, and grace.
Embrace them and grow! (And they will grow too!)
Let beauty refine. Let change take place.

Place faith in truth. Place faith in above.
For you are beautiful. And for you, I love.

A world fading into the light,
Another rises from the haze:
Clouds afloat and birds aflight,
Wind and water greet, unafraid.

So merry, so peaceful and pure!
A world with no shapes or rules.
Only guides, signs and feelings,
Breathing life into dreams anew.

A new world, it seems!
A place for rest and reflection.
To smile. To laugh! To question?
And suddenly — the silence.

With confusion,
Comes the tumble.
And falling,
falling, falling,
I begin to stumble.

Life is full of promises,
Too many to count or fathom.
Life is full of happiness,
Too much to hoard or contain.

Life can be overwhelming,
But never too much to overcome.
Never overestimate adversity;
Never underestimate yourself.

Let strife become your blessings.
Let your blessings transform you.
Celebrate yourself and your life.
Love yourself and everyone around you.

The true hero lies within you.
(As Mariah Carey would say.)
Strengthen your spirit! Bolster your heart!
And you know what? Come what may!

When life goes awry and lapses into recursion,
Just stop.

And think:
"How did I end up here? Where did I begin?"

Find your way back. Find a way that works.
Pause, stop, rewind, and play.

You'll never know. You'll never know:
When life goes awry and lapses into recursion...

once again.

They say that love has its ups and downs.
Full of unexpected twists and turns.
Some days, it makes you laugh and smile.
On others, it leaves scars and burns.

I usually know what's right and what's wrong,
When to lead or when to go along.
But lately, love has been a strange anomaly:
No rules to know, no equations to study.

For years, I've tried looking for love.
But now, I think that enough is enough.
My search has yielded no results or affirmation.
Only pain, agony, confusion, and frustration.

The main road is blocked.
Another one is fading.
New paths might own up.
But I will stand waiting —

Waiting for signs and clues,
Waiting for something more.
Anything that might guarantee me
Satisfaction, happiness, and amor.

Wonderful Daniel was sitting one day.
He felt relaxed, at ease, and wanted to play.
With whom? With what? He didn't know.
He took a quiet sip from his cup of Joe.

No books to read. No notes to study.
He started missing his favorite buddy.
His cat was sleeping. His sister was learning.
His yearning for fun was constantly burning.

Alone in his room, he took a look around:
Old binders, books, and clothes in a mound.
He sighed and realized that there was still much work:
"I should clean up my room," he said with a smirk.

He began with the drawers, all stuffed with junk.
He emptied them out and wiped out the gunk.
He organized his papers and put them in a file.
He was halfway done and started to smile.

He made his bed and emptied his bag.
His mom was impressed and stopped her nag.
Daniel was finished and a bit tired, too.
He took a quick nap and no longer felt blue.

hough he had some fun, Wonderful Daniel wanted more.
He wanted to live life, a life outside his door.
La vida es bella. La vida es linda.
La vida no es nada sin mi preciosa _______.

Written February 13, 2010

With Valentine's Day looming so close by, I suppose it's time to stop and ponder: What is love? Never having spent a Valentine's Day "with" anyone before, I'm probably not the most qualified of persons to answer such a simply phrased yet elusive question. But after eighteen years of trials and errors (emphasis on the latter), I think I have enough authority to at least attempt an answer — to share my personal thoughts and opinions on the matter. This is my blog, after all.

Love is not something that can be made. Nor is it something that must be found. Instead, it is a gift that can be given and received. Like any other gift, love arrives all wrapped up. It comes in a variety of shapes and colors, but no matter how different or unique the wrapping may be, love achieves its one purpose: It makes you laugh and smile. It can rescue you from the darkest crevices of depression. Love is, at that moment, the greatest thing ever imaginable.

This is what happens on the very onset of love — it almost invariably brings happiness. Then comes the matter of actually opening the gift and seeing what's inside. After mustering enough courage to render yourself vulnerable, you begin to unwrap the frilly layers blanketing this love. With time and patience, you finally discover the true contents of your gift. Sometimes, you find exactly what you're looking for. More often than not, however, you are left feeling disappointed. Initially, you feel betrayed by the gift itself. "The colors looked so promising! The presentation so stunning! The potential so endless!" But then you soon realize: you brought this upon yourself. Nothing was preventing you from rejecting the gift. And what's more, no one was forcing you to open it. Why, then, did you open what was best left unopened?

It's quite simple, it turns out: You took a risk.

Love may seem irrational — providing you overwhelming happiness one day but immense sorrow the next — but I feel that the "perfect" love won't be. The perfect love, in my mind, is a gift that is consistent in its entirety. It is something that can be firmly depended upon, regardless of how the world may shift and turn. Based on the love I share with my parents, my siblings, and God, I know it is something that will forever provide and ceaselessly comfort.

Love is amazing. Receiving this love from the perfect person, I imagine, will be even more amazing. But in its stunning perfection, love also has a perfect time — Love will be given when it's meant to be given. All we have to do is offer patience in return. To me, that doesn't seem too shabby of a deal!

Written June 10, 2008

In what was possibly the most unproductive week of my life, I still managed to accomplish something meaningful (...or so I would like to think). I have caught up with the rest of the world by watching The Lord of the Rings...all three parts...all nine glorious hours of laziness and late-night snacks. After this momentous occasion, I'm proud to proclaim two things: (1) The movie certainly lived up to its hype and (2) I managed to gain a pound.

Expanding upon the former of the two statements, I must say that this movie TOPS my list, for many reasons. As a self-proclaimed computer geek, I was certainly blown away by the ever-present CG animation and digital effects. I mean, designing a 30-minute epic battle by coding the individual movements of countless Orcs, Elves, and Humans — each of whom, might I add, has unique facial hair, uniform, steed, AND weapon?? I shudder at the thought of post-production. Mr. Peter Jackson (and all those that toiled over the masterpiece), I applaud you.

Undoubtedly more important than the technology is the movie's overarching message — the hope that the smallest people of the world can effect the biggest change upon their environment, molding it into what they perceive to be ideal. Some vertically-challenged people, like my friend Stephanie, would rejoice at the movie's literal interpretation of this message. Others, however, can also rejoice and take their fair share of wisdom from Tolkien. When our obstacles scream failure and when we feel SHORTED OUT by life's promises, remember to look up! Once you do, you'll realize that the skies are big enough for your dreams and hopes.

No matter what people may say, you — pardon the extended metaphor — can still climb Mt. Doom and change all of Middle-Earth! So, go forth and conquer life, my fellow Halfling! Don't look down to see how far you'll fall. But remember to look up and see how high you can fly! As Gandalf the Grey tells the fellowship in his final moments, "Fly you fools!"