Taking an engineering approach to biology

Victoria Hsiao ‘10

Scientist 1 Strain Engineering at Amyris

I decided to go to grad school before doing my Fulbright! As a E:BioE major at Olin, I felt that I would really need a PhD to do higher level research. So I applied for both a Fulbright research grant and for grad school in bioengineering during the fall of my senior year. When I was offered the opportunity to do a Fulbright, I asked Caltech if I could defer a year and they said it wasn't a problem at all. My year as a Fulbright fellow gave me the break that I needed after graduating, gave me the chance to travel throughout Asia and really prepared me for the lifestyle of a graduate student.

For my Fulbright Scholarship, I went to Taiwan in June 2010 to study at the National Taiwan University in Taipei, where I worked on a tissue engineering research project in the biomedical enginerering department. I researched ways of mechanically stimulating cells to grow into ligaments, such as those that are commonly torn in the knee during exercise.

Since I was working on my own project in an academic lab, my Fulbright experience allowed me to start my actual graduate program with a lot more maturity and foresight than if I had jumped in after my senior year.

Thanks to the Fulbright, I was able to collaborate with talented researchers from halfway across the world, to reconnect with my cultural heritage and to share my experiences abroad with everyone in the community. I am tremendously grateful for this opportunity.

Today Victoria works as Scientist 1 at Strain Engineering at Amyris.

Victoria chronicled her Fulbright adventure via her blog Ten in Taipei: an american's guide to Taiwan and provides an update on her studies at Caltech via a recent Post-Graduate-Planning blog post: Studying Synthetic Biology at Caltech.