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Why I Want to Study at Duke University School of Medicine

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At High School, my plans for the future centered on my becoming a practising doctor, with the skill of healing patients. I must admit that I had to overcome the disadvantage of a relatively weak foundation in Science, as a result of my Middle School curriculum in China, which did not include Biology. The language barrier also proved difficult to break during the initial years of my arrival in the USA, and my focus then was on mastering English and Mathematics and understanding American culture. The scientific terms in Biology were difficult to come to grips with!

However, my determination to enter the field of Medicine kept me going. The same determination is now my tool in my effort to overcome any shortcomings in my academic career. I am very aware that my GRE writing score of 3 could have been higher, and am determined to identify and address this through repeated practice of writing skills. A career in medicine continued to be my goal as I stood on the threshold of my freshman year at the University of California, Davis.   However, the first Molecular Cellular Biology class I attended at the UC Davis, discussing gene therapy, proved to be a revelation to me: I had discovered the interest of my life!

I was fascinated by the intricacies and application of genetics: especially in the area of finding epigenetic information. Here was a new front in the battle against chronic disease.   As I continued to take additional technical electives in Molecular Biology, Microbiology, and Biotechnology, I came to realize that genetics is one of the most powerful tools available to humanity in the field of medicine.

Gene association studies and single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) detection can be used in disease prediction, thus potentially preventing disease formation. Genetics is the cutting-edge of health-care research and personalized medicine. The next step in my academic evolution was my realization of the power of technology. As the only child of immigrant parents who was focused on earning a living, the computer has been a good friend of mine, right from the age of twelve, when I moved to the USA.

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