Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Duke University, USA
Country of birth: Malaysia
Educational background: PhD, MS, BS University of Texas, Austin, USA
Who or what inspired you to work in science/engineering?
I have always enjoyed solving analytical problems and I particularly wanted to be in a field that had a direct impact on human health. Biomedical engineering, which was an emerging engineering area at the time, really merged my two interests.
Primary responsibilities of your current job
I wear multiple hats in my job. My specialty-biomedical engineering-is in the area of biomedical optics. I use the wonderful properties of light we see around us every day to peer into the biological landscape of tissue. I am specifically interested in developing light-based technologies to look at the shifting biological landscape in cancer. I am also a teacher. I teach students about biomedical optics both in the classroom setting and in my laboratory through research activities.
Biggest obstacle or challenge that you have faced in your career
The obstacles I face change with time. The one that stands out the most is trying to strike a balance between career and family as a working mother.
Advice you wish you had received when you were first starting out
Seek advice from those who have gone down this path before. Having mentors and colleagues who can give you tips along the way can be incredibly helpful as there is no handbook per se for this career path.