Microbiology Research Interests Essay

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My long-term goal is to dedicate myself to the research field of neuroscience. In order to achieve this goal, I hope to acquire my Ph.D. at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine starting in the fall of 2000.

In 1992, I obtained my MA degree in Molecular Microbiology from Indiana University, Bloomington. At I.U., I received intensive training by Dr. Roger Innes in experimental design, logical thinking, and molecular genetics techniques. After I graduated from I.U., I became a lab supervisor in the clinical cytogenetic laboratory at Tzu Chi College of Medicine, Taiwan. The lab is part of TCCM's newly established genetic research team directed by Dr. Ming-Liang Lee. My responsibilities at the lab included training lab technicians, improving testing accuracy by consistently improving technical skills and knowledge, and managing the lab's day-to-day operations. At TCCM, I also taught several fundamental biology courses, including general biology, cell biology, and medical genetics laboratory.

After five years of working, I decided to pursue more advanced research training in the latest techniques of microbiology. Since the fall of 1998, I have been taking several Ph.D.-level courses at New York University. I have performed very well in my studies there, which have been supported by a fellowship from Taiwan's National Science Council. My courses at NYU are Biochemistry I and II, Molecular Principles of Evolution, Cell Biology, Molecular Controls of Organism Form and Function, Neuroimmunology Journal Club, and Physiology Basis of Behavior. I am also researching in Dr. Joseph LeDoux's lab for credit. At this lab, I have been using immunohistochemistry to detect the activation of track receptors in rat brains after fear conditioning. One of the tracks, trkB, responds to BDNF, which is related to synaptogenesis and LTP induction in the processes of learning and memory. My results have shown that the phosphorylation peak of trk appears in the hippocampal CA1 area 24 hours after fear conditioning. Further blocking experiments using trk antagonist need to be performed in order to confirm this result.

My laboratory experience has triggered my strong interest in studying cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying neurological diseases. The majority of patients with these diseases have chromosomal and genetic abnormalities. Most genetic diseases lead to neurological symptoms, and several neurological diseases are associated with strong genetic predispositions. The genetic defects associated with Alzheimer's Disease, alcoholism, Fragile-X Syndrome, Neurofibrmatosis, and Parkinson's Disease have already been mapped. However, the links between genes, gene products, neuronal circuits, brain functions, and diseases are still unclear. I am eager to help uncover these links.

I think that Mt. Sinai's Ph.D. program perfectly suits my interests. The faculty includes experts in several divisions of neuroscience. There is an especially large group studying neurological diseases. The group uses various approaches, animal models, and behavioral paradigms to search for the causes of diseases on the molecular, cellular, physiological, and system levels. I am particularly interested in working in Dr. John Morrison's lab, which studies cortical organizations, glutamate receptors, and neurodegenerative disorders; Dr. Patrick Hof's lab, which uses comparative neuroanatomy to study aging; Dr. Giulio Pasinetti's lab, which studies cyclooxygenase and inflammation in Alzheimer's Disease; and Dr. Charles Mobbs's lab, which uses molecular, histological, behavioral, and electrophysiological methods to study basic mechanisms underlying metabolic diseases and aging.

Mt. Sinai School of Medicine also attracts me because of its location in an extremely nice area of Manhattan. In addition, the strong collaboration between its neuroscience program and its other departments, its affiliated hospital, and many other outstanding New York laboratories will enable me to receive much technical and academic support.

In order to sponsor my Ph.D. education, I have obtained a competitive Ph.D. fellowship from the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu-Chi Foundation, the largest nonprofit organization in Taiwan. The foundation is dedicated to helping needy all over the world, regardless of age, sex, race, and religion. Over the past decades, it has provided worldwide relief and assistance. Its missions focus on charity, medical care, education, and international relief. The founder, Master Chang Yang, was once nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. The foundation will support my Ph.D. education for at least four years.

After completing my Ph.D. education, I plan to continue my research and teaching in neuroscience. Thus far, most of the detailed work in studying neurological disease has of necessity been performed in experimental animal systems. However, the progress of human genome mapping might eventually make it possible to test whether the disease mechanisms discovered in animals function in comparable ways in humans. Consequently, in the future, I hope to apply my knowledge of the genes and proteins involved in neurological diseases to develop pharmacological treatment or genetic therapies. I am confident that one day we will have effective drugs to prevent memory loss or aging. We may even be able to cure currently intractable neurological diseases through gene therapies, either in utero or in live humans.

I am confident that Mount Sinai School of Medicine's graduate program will enable me to successfully meet my goals. I also believe that if I am accepted to your Ph.D. program, I will contribute greatly to Mount Sinai's learning environment.

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Free Sample Personal Statement in Food Science & Technology

Degree desired: Doctorate

Proposed field of Study: Food Science & Technology

Microbiological food safety has always been a focus of concern for the food processing industry and the public. Food spoilage microorganisms are responsible for approximately one-fourth of the total amount of food disposed throughout the world (Huss, 1992). Society also pays a huge economic price for the illnesses caused by foodborne pathogens and concomitant decrease of productivity. Thus my major interest is in researching methods for detecting microorganisms in the food system and the means for controlling or eliminating them.

After I received my master's degree and serving two years in the military, I started working as an Associate Food Scientist at the Food Industry Research and Development Institute (FIRDI) in September, 1990. For the first 22 months there I was a lecturer in the Training Unit, where I taught about food processing plants as a part of employee training under the "Food GMP Authorization and Promotion Plan" and the "Promotion of CAS (Chinese Agricultural Standards ) Quality Mark System" .Both are important official systems for ensuring food quality in Taiwan nowadays; nevertheless, they lean toward plant hygienic layout and design, and end-product inspection.

At my request, I transferred to the HACCP Working Group in July, 1992. This one-year on-line microbiological survey and monitor of food processing factories advanced my understanding of environmental stresses on microorganisms and the methods of destroying them. My co-workers and I submitted the proposals "The HACCP System for Production of Frozen Roasted Eel" and "The HACCP System for Production of Ice Bar" in June, 1993. HACCP is a preventive system of food safety. It is more effective and reasonable than conventional quality assurance programs based on end-production testing. This system has been introduced into Taiwan by FIRDI for over four years. However, the concept of HACCP is still frequently misunderstood or little known, partly because plant management often mistakes it for a "trouble-shooting" system, not a "trouble-preventing" one. Another reason is the complexity of decisions about where the "real" CCPs are located and what the applicable criteria are for preventing a false sense of security. Taiwan is demanding of pecialists in this field.

From July, 1993, to the present I have been the Assistant Manager, R&D Division, in Kasei Frozen Foods Works Co., Ltd. Fortunately I could employ my knowledge here in Kasei to achieve an ambitious dream of mine:the "Umbrella of Quality Assurance." This encompassed the hygienic design of the processing equipment and layout of this plant, employee training and hygienic management, cleaning and disinfection procedures, sampling and inspection plans, HACCP system, etc. These broadly describe my research interests.
In order to enhance my research abilities, I have taken courses in SAS (Statistical Analysis System) at Taiwan Institute of Technology. In February, 1995, I will attend 90 hours of classes in "Technology of Food Quality Control Program for High-level Management" at China Productivity Center (CPC). In the subsequent months, I am also planning to study books relevant to food microbiology to make up for my lack of formal training. And then, most importantly, I would like to begin intensive study at your graduate school.
If I am admitted, I will apply my effort into achieving the following goals:

(1) To acquire the knowledge of microbiological phenomena in foods. I plan to take some advanced courses related to food microbiology, including the following topics: microbial ecology, control and elimination methods in food microbiology, food pathogenic bacteriology and foodborne disease hazards, food toxicology, microbiological deterioration, shelf-life extension, establishment of microbiological criteria, methods of sampling, enumerating, isolating and identifying microorganisms, etc.
(2) To advance my understanding of plant sanitation. At present, few scholars here are carrying out research on this subject. I strongly desire to gain expertise in hygienic design of food processing equipment, cleaner and sanitizer efficacy, biofilm, waste product handling, etc. If the situation warrants, I may also consider taking HACCP training courses on or off campus.

(3) To improve my abilities with statistics and computer applications. Because statistical procedures are essential tools in food research, I intend to take courses related to this area at your institute. Upon the completion of my studies, I will return to Taiwan. I aspire to devoting myself to teaching in colleges or continuing my research work in a research institute where I can serve the food industry more.


Huss, H.H. (1992) Development and use of the HACCP concept in fish processing.

Int'l. J. of Food Microbiology. 15, pp33-44.

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