Combining Passion and Education
Biology student Tint Tha Ra Wun is a true humanitarian. Always looking for ways to serve others, Tha Ra Wun spends much of her time working on research projects and internships that help to build a healthier, more informed society.
Her home country of Myanmar has been ranked among the lowest in the world for healthcare, with national shortages of physicians and healthcare professionals. Tha Ra Wun plans to study medicine, but in the meantime, her volunteer efforts are supporting people in Myanmar by raising funds to pay medical fees and providing food assistance and after-school learning.
The Box sat down with Tha Ra Wun to hear more about her experiences at New York Tech and her plans for the future.
What led you to study biology at New York Tech?
I am an international student from Yangon, Myanmar, and studying in the United States has always been a part of my dream accomplishments. I knew it would be a new window of opportunity: academic, career, personal development, and life experiences. When New York Tech offered me the Presidential Scholarship, it was my dream coming true.
I am studying biology with the aim of pursuing a career in the medical field as a physician-scientist. I find the idea of repairing a circuit that drives the greatest machine of all time—the human body—more satisfying than anything else! My passion in life is to assist people and make positive contributions to our community. I would like to accomplish this goal while enjoying something I love, which is medicine.
Can you talk about some of your research projects?
So far, I have done one science and one non-science research project at New York Tech. I started my wet-lab biological research as an undergraduate researcher at the laboratory of Qiangrong Liang, M.D., Ph.D., and Satoru Kobayashi, Ph.D., in fall 2020. I am most involved in our Adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) alpha subunit project. We are currently working on investigating the roles of AMPK alpha subunit isoforms in differential H9c2 pon the treatment of doxorubicin (DOX), which is an anthracycline drug that is used in cancer chemotherapy. However, DOX is known to cause dose-dependent dilated cardiomyopathy in some cancer patients. AMPK is a key regulator of cellular metabolic processes. It is known to play both positive and negative regulatory roles in the body’s metabolic mechanisms. In previous studies, it has been found that AMPK plays a protective role in DOX-induced cardiotoxicity, but there is no evidence on how the specific isoforms (1 or 2) of AMPK subunits (alpha, beta, gamma) plays a role under DOX-treated conditions. We would like to see how specifically each isoform affects in DOX-treated conditions.
I have also done a passion research project on global affairs. I wrote a research paper on youth involvement and participation in the 2020 Myanmar elections while taking Foundations of Research Writing for International Students in the fall of 2020. I studied the voting participation of Myanmar youth aged 18 to 22 in the elections held on November 10, 2020. It is an interesting project, which identifies and highlights the myths of youth political engagement. I am happy to share that both of these projects were presented at the Symposium of University Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE) on April 23, 2021.
What other projects are you involved with?
Outside of New York Tech, I have participated in some volunteering projects. I am an executive team intern at the Youth Society for Education (YSE). It is a youth-led 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to provide a quality education for everyone to reach their full potential in life. I am involved in YSE’s healthcare and educational projects. We have Health Matters, Food Matters, and Education Matters projects for which we support people in Myanmar with medical fees funding, food assistance, and after-school learning.
I am also a mathematics tutor at the City Tutors (CT), a volunteer program for student-to-student tutoring and mentoring in New York City, which has a dual mission: to enhance and expand academic support for under-resourced programs serving students academically vulnerable and in need, and empower more New Yorkers to serve the community through tutoring. Through CT, I tutor mathematics to middle-school students at the English and Immigrant Family Literacy program at the Center for Immigrant Education and Training at LaGuardia Community College.
How has your New York Tech experience prepared you for life after graduation?
My New York Tech education focuses on professional career preparation with a comprehensive, technology-centered education that elevates possibility, inspires careers, and fuels the future of work. Taking classes such as Human Gross Anatomy and Human Physiology makes me realize what this truly means and what the medical and healthcare fields mean to me. I am grateful for the New York Tech support that makes me aim higher and prepares me for my future career as a physician-scientist.