Hi I’m Yiming Li, and I’m a senior in bioengineering. I’m working in Research Assistant Professor Gianluca Interlandi’s research lab, and I study the behavior of the Von Willebrand factor (VWF), which is a plasma protein that recruits platelets to the site of blood vessel injury. Specifically, I’m testing different binding domains that help regulate the function of VWF, which could help us understand how to better control blood clotting. After graduation, I’ll be doing a master’s program at Cornell University and then going into industry.

My interest in bioengineering actually originates from being treated for a sports injury. I had been trained professionally to play badminton since I was a teenager, but I was diagnosed with a meniscus tear right before college. Some of my teammates who suffer from more serious knee pain needed to have a cortico-steroid drug injected in order to relieve knee pain before important tournaments. Ever since then, these widespread knee problems motivated me to explore more effective regenerative medicine tools and less invasive surgery procedures. I realized that these multidisciplinary solutions for joint pain were bioengineering.

During my undergraduate years in UW BioE, I think my most treasured experience is working with my cohort peers in such a supporting way, especially through the core classes. The impressively open communication with each other defines our diverse community. An academic society like our cohort is a place where distinctively different thoughts and ideologies can be shared, and this is reliant upon a team of people with different backgrounds cooperating under a compatible system. As a bioengineering student, I learned how to incorporate my ideas with others’ in a nice and communicative way, in both academic projects and extracurricular activities.

In the future, I’m most interested in making medical devices or treatment mechanisms that are accessible for everyone, especially those in low resource settings. Given the infrastructure conditions in underdeveloped areas (e.g. intermittent refrigeration due to unstable power supply) or climate features ( e.g. airborne pollutants due to lack of access to ventilation systems), biomedical products for these areas would have to adopt simpler designs, including having lower tolerance, less maintenance, and more versatility. Although there is a long way to go before we can bring biomedical technologies to low resource settings that do not compromise on quality or functionality , this is something I want to try to do after completing my master’s degree.