Why Aging

Motivations for studying aging out of all possible concentrations

Exciting news! I’m headed to Brown University in the fall.

Out of all the schools I got into, I picked Brown because of the ability to define one’s concentration. It also helps that there’s multiple famous professors in the aging field such as John Sedivy, Stephen Helfand, and Marc Tatar. It also has professors like Susan Gerbi, who mentored one Nobel Prize winner and several other esteemed biologists. In case I haven’t made it clear, I’m super fixated on the problem of aging.

I’d been interested in the problem of aging ever since I worked as an informal veterinary intern at the New England Wildlife Hospital. I’d seen animals like Broad Winged hawks in the prime of their lives. They would be situated right near tortoises that, despite having some kind or respiratory disease, would outlive the hawks by many years. For some reason I was never able to stop thinking about this.

I realized that there are so many diseases I could study like heart disease and cancer. My biggest worry was that I could pick the wrong disease and end up dying of something unrelated. As I learned more about aging, I wondered if treating aging itself was the solution. I was releived to find out about people like Aubrey DeGrey, Cynthia Kenyon, and Lenny Guarente who were studying this further. That was all back in middle school. Now that I’m going to be joining a lab to study this, it feels surreal that it’s finally happening.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy to finally be moving forward with studying this aging. I’m just accutely aware of the passing of time now. I remember filling out the last of my college applications at the end of 2010, right as I was visiting my grandmother dying in the hospital. I felt like I was coming face-to-face with not just my mortality, but the mortality of everyone I know and love. I also know that college will pass by in a blink, and I’ll have limited time to make the most of it.

Still, every college interviewer I asked “What do you wish you’d known when you started?” said they wish they knew exactly what they wanted out of Brown. I suppose I’ve made the first step of the journey.

Wish me luck!

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