SNF Paideia Graduate Fellow, Derek Yang, is a fourth-year Ph.D. student studying organic chemistry in the Amos. B. Smith Laboratory. His research involves synthesizing small molecule drugs that can be used to treat various viral diseases including HIV and SARS-CoV-2 which has culminated in research published in high-impact, multidisciplinary journals such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Medicinal Chemistry Research, and Cell Press Journals. Derek was also selected for a teaching award at Penn this year.
For his undergraduate degree, Derek attended the University of California– Santa Barbara, where he studied Biochemistry and Political Science. Under the mentorship of Prof. Thomas Pettus, his research involved the synthesis of a novel chemophore abundant in modern medicine and natural products.
As a SNF Graduate Fellow, Derek hopes to learn strategies of how to further encourage dialogue at the intersection of medicine and education. Furthermore, Derek has a passion for teaching and mentorship and aspires to be a chemistry professor after completing his Ph.D. As such, he hopes to interweave the pillars of the SNF Paideia Program into his teaching to encourage students to practice a dialogic approach to science and to incorporate service and citizenship in their own disciplines.