2014 CURE Intern: Y Le

Le_Y_1_150A sophomore at Franklin High School, Y Le exemplifies maturity, drive, and a passion toward her ambition: to one day become a pharmacologist.

Y understands the amount of hard-work and focus required to attain her goal. Sacrifice and diligence are not new to Y; her family migrated from the Philippines to the United States in 2005. Even though she left the Philippines at a young age, she distinctly remembers the poverty that surrounded the neighborhood where she grew up. "The living conditions are harsh and unfavorable, and I personally understand and have experienced the need for medicine," she starts. "I want to devote my life to researching and creating medicine to help those who need it the most, especially the people who cannot afford the luxury of medicine."

At Franklin High School, Y is working toward her academic goals by continuously challenging herself. Even though the course load is unforgiving, she is pursuing Advanced Placement classes in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Psychology among other courses. "I believe those classes would help me prepare well for my future, so I may be able to research much more effectively," she explains.

Y has been selected as part of the 2014 cohort of Ted R. Lilley Continuing Umbrella of Research Education (CURE) Intern Program, administered by the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, and funded by the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. At OHSU, Y is working with Tania Vu, Ph.D., in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. She is excited about the opportunity for hands-on learning in cancer research.

Her project in Dr. Vu's lab focuses on quantum dot imaging of proteins in cancerous cells. Various software and technologies such as MATLAB has enabled Dr. Vu's lab to view and capture images of cancer cells in three dimensions, making the observation of quantum-dot-tagged proteins in cells simple.

"I believe that gaining the experience of researching topics similar to my interests would provide me a new perspective in research," Y states, explaining her reasons for applying to the CURE Intern Program. "Not only is it a great personal experience, to research a cure for cancer in a lab is one of my greatest goals."


Posted on July 3, 2014. Photo and write-up by Maileen Hamto.