Deyu Sun: From the School of Statistics to Medical School
Undergraduate Deyu Sun is a senior with his sights set on graduation in May. An international student from China, Sun has already received his PhD in biomedical engineering back home, but wishes to go to medical school after graduation. When asked why he chose statistics, Sun emphasizes that statistics is a way of thinking. "I chose statistics as a major to get into medical school, just because a bachelor's degree in the US is required, but now I have a different perspective," Sun comments, noting how it has changed his view of numbers during his two academic years here. He enjoys applying the skills he has learned in class to real healthcare research.
Throughout his years of schooling, Sun has been involved in numerous projects in the medical field. These projects have included medical image processing, health informatics, and neurology. A primary area of his research has been image-guided cardiac surgery, a form of minimally invasive surgery. This includes building a virtual heart from pre-operational CT images and updating it in real time from intra-operational ultrasound images for surgeons to use during the operation. He has also participated in research about Parkinson's Disease studying monkeys. By applying analytical skills he learned in statistics, he examined the brain waves in the monkeys and was able to interpret the relationship between brain activity and the disease. Currently, he's participating in research to verify causality of chemotherapy to heart disease. Through these experiences, Sun has recognized the importance of research and its real world applications.
Sun has also been able to make meaningful connections within the department. "The faculty is very helpful, patient, and understanding," he says. As an international student, he has faced challenges in group settings and in discussions, but through the department, he was able to become more involved. Sun enjoys visiting with other international students about his research and loves the opportunity to help others with their English.
After graduation, his goal is to be a physician who can solve clinical problems by applying discoveries in data science, imaging, and medical devices to make a difference in healthcare. Right now, he wishes to be an oncologist and study cancer and the radiology components that go with it. Based on his academic and research experiences with the department, Sun is confident he will be well prepared for medical school.