The Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department at Penn State is blessed to have an abundance of outstanding undergraduate students that truly represent what it means to be a Penn Stater and future scientist.
Meet one such student, Yoshitaka (Joey) Shibata, a senior from Lansdale Pennsylvania majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. As a child Joey loved going to the library, where one of his favorite books was the science encyclopedia for children. He would flip through the book making sure to ask questions about all the things he didn’t understand. It was from there that the love he had for science grew and would ultimately bring him to Penn State.
In choosing to attend Penn State to earn his undergraduate degree, it was how “Penn State puts a great amount of interest in academic research, and how the university has various ways for students to actively engage in research and other academic activities”, as well as, Penn State’s balance in emphasizing academic commitment and extracurricular student engagements that appealed to him. Environment also played a key role in his decision as Joey fell in love with the strong sense of community he feels at Penn State.
Currently Joey and 2 other undergraduate students, Ryan Santili and Jack Williamson, work with Dr. Song Tan to develop inexpensive and easy to produce protein molecular weight makers. Their research was recognized with the University Fellowships and Phi Kappa Phi Peter T. Luckie Award for Outstanding Research by a Junior at the Spring 2009 Penn State Undergraduate Exhibition. Research in the Tan Lab seeks to understand how genes are regulated by combining genetic, biochemical and structural descriptions. Expectations are that such information will contribute to the development of future therapeutic agents against cancer and other human diseases.
After graduating Joey is set to engage in a year of post-baccalaureate research at the National Institutes of Health. He then plans to attend Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey Pennsylvania for his MD/PhD program. With his passion for medicine and biomedical research, his goal is to become a physician-scientist who can translate research into clinical solutions or explore problems faced in medical practice through research.