UCSF graduate students David Piech and Lillien Kenner were the two most recent featured Science in Action speakers, helping students explore what the next options may be for their STEM careers.
Lillian’s field is cryo-electron microscopy. She has the very fun project of looking at proteins in a biological model and is a member of the Biophysics group at UCSF. Her presentation focused on the value of diversity of thought at research institutions like UCSF.
David spoke with passion about how science is trying to develop a brain to machine interface. He stated that he is an engineer and want’s to create systems that do something that society cares about (like making a machine that would help a quadriplegic person walk). But he also said he thinks like a scientist, in that he wants to understand the fundamental principles of systems like how the brain communicates with effectors like the legs. While many people talk about how engineers and scientist are different, David pointed out that often times what they do overlaps. A good scientists must act like an engineer to develop the tools to do research. A good engineer needs to understand fundamental principles of science in order to create new systems.
The Science in Action lecture series happens every Monday from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Article and Photos by Nick Kapp