I grew up in a remote village on the southwest coast of Sumatra island, Indonesia. While my entire education has been based on scholarships for academic excellence, my humble beginning taught me that education creates countless opportunities to help others. I established various initiatives from a mentorship program to assist students in my village to pursue higher education to collaborative projects dedicated to providing electricity for rural communities.
While studying chemical engineering at TU Delft and pursuing an Honours program in enzymology, I learned the possibilities of incorporating molecular chemistry in complex biological environments and their potential to address the challenges in biomedical field. For my internship, I prepared superparamagnetic nanoparticles and functionalized them with tumour-targeting moiety for their use as contrast agents in MRI tumour diagnostics.
Building on these experiences, at Cambridge, I look forward to combining my background knowledge with biotechnology. I would like to gain deeper understanding of cancer biology and new avenues for tumour diagnostic and treatment, from targeted drug delivery to genetic engineering. For my dissertation, I will be working on engineering nanoparticles for early lung cancer detection. As one of the leading cancer killers worldwide, we do a very poor job of being able to cure this type of cancer because by the time it is diagnosed, it is too far advanced to be treated locally. Developing diagnostic strategies that can target certain cells linked to the early stage of cancer development could enable us to detect and remove these cells and potentially prevent cancer development before it is too late. My ultimate goal is to contribute to the development of more efficacious cancer treatment.