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Graduate Student

Karen Jialu Bao

Graduate Student

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Wei-Chung Lee (HMS)

About Me

As a kindergartener, I grossed out my mother with my passion for bug collecting. I showed her all the glorious terrestrial arthropods of New Jersey; sadly, she didn’t love them as much as I did. My love for science only grew from there: at Columbia University, I studied Environmental Biology with a focus on coastal marine conservation. The highlight of this experience was a trip to Fiji, where I studied mollusc ecology and fishing practices and sampled fishes for the American Museum of Natural History. Now, my interests are much broader and more mechanistic; I hope to answer questions of ecology (how are these organisms working together, or not?) and evolution (how did they get here and why are they like this?) at a molecular level. Over the past five years, I have also written science fiction novels published through Penguin Random House. This extracurricular distraction helps me digest what I am learning and relate it to society. Additionally, it may incept a love of science into the younger generation’s brains, which is always a plus. (Google Dove Arising if you’re curious.) In my spare time, I enjoy being a twentysomething grandma: I cook, draw, read, care for my houseplants, and go out for tea. But don’t hesitate to invite me to play sports, especially if you want to embarrass me.