EECS Perspective from Research Assistant Tsung-Yao (Mike) Chang

Tsung-Yao Chang (Michael Chang) is a PhD student and research assistant in the High Throughput Neurotechnology Group of Prof. Mehmet Fatih Yanik, principal investigator in the Research Laboratory of Electronics.

EECS PhD student Tsung-Yao Chang (Michael Chang) in the Stata Center.

EECS PhD student Tsung-Yao Chang (Michael Chang) in the Stata Center.

Q. How have you found that your earlier training prepared you for the kind of work you do in Prof. Yanik’s lab?

Mike Chang: “I have realized that I wanted to devote myself to biomedical engineering as my life career since college. For me, this is one of the most effective ways to help people in the world and the people I love. As an undergraduate, I majored in electro-mechanical engineering and enjoyed two years as well in microfuldic bioMEMS related research in Sun-yet Sen University in Taiwan. During that time, my work also required me to build knowledge in MEMS, system-controlling, biology and optoelectronics. After finishing my masters degree about surface plasmon research in National Taiwan University, I joined Foxconn Inc. as an RD engineer working on system development. After gaining practical know-how on system design, I participated in Prof. Yanik’s group in RLE, focusing on in vivo and in vitro high throughput screening technologies.”

Q. How would you describe the ways that you make use of your knowledge of computer science and of electrical engineering to carry out research in Prof. Yanik’s laboratory?

Mike Chang: “The Knowledge I learned from Course 6 helps me on almost every phase of this research. My current research topics are about an automated high-throughput zebrafish drug screening platform [in vivo] and a surface plasmon based diagnostic and screening chip [in vitro]. High-throughput screening technology can largely catalyze the progress of biomedical research and drug discovery. The development of this technology needs high levels of understanding and expertise in all the multidisciplinary fields–from circuit, signal and system, programming, photonics to design of MEMS and quantitative biology. For instance, in order to set up an ultra high speed screening system, we have to optimize the confocal microscopy that is needed to make it as fast as possible. This requires a lot of know-how in optics. Similarly, we have had to understand how to develop the software for this system.

Besides the technical skills, the most important philosophy I have learned at MIT is from Prof. Fatih Yanik. He emphacizes that the simplest technology can last forever — a remarkable maxim to me.

In order to build up the big picture of a high-throughput automation drug screening factory, a high throughput “screening system” is not enough. Developing a technology for creating human disease models on zebrafish on large scale and injecting the cure into specific organs is also needed. A novel technique such as the high-throughput microinjection system can be quite useful for this problem. By combining these two technologies, I hope that we can make ‘the unmanned high speed drug discovery factory’ a reality.”

One Response to “EECS Perspective from Research Assistant Tsung-Yao (Mike) Chang”

  1. Great blog!! You should start many more. I love all the info provided. I will stay tuned :)

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