Hi! My name is Jiean and I wanted to extend a warm welcome to our newly admitted students. Being a Californian, I hope the weather does the same in the near future (as my soft upbringing came no-where near sufficiently preparing me for a Midwestern winter).

I am currently a first year student in the Hospital and Molecular Epidemiology program. For those who don’t know (and I’ll admit to being among them when I first got here), HME combines molecular biology with epidemiologic concepts to explore the etiology, distribution, and prevention of diseases within populations at the molecular level. That’s just a fancy way of saying that we like to utilize our science backgrounds to understand how diseases move through a population (much like other epidemiologists do with field work).

I was drawn to Michigan because of the prominent role it plays in oral health research. Many leaders in the field of dental public health (or just about any field) call Michigan home, and as a lowly grad student I have been able to soak up their brilliance and collaborate on their projects. As an undergraduate at the University of California-Berkeley, I found my research in oral cancer to be quite disconnected from a larger picture. While it was neat to understand how this cancer metastasizes and how our sense of pain is augmented by these tumors, it feels a lot more rewarding when the impact of your work on people’s lives is more apparent. My current research focuses on oral spirochetes known to cause periodontal disease, as well as the association between periodontal disease and various systemic maladies. The Department of Epidemiology at Michigan has afforded me the opportunity to explore both parts of this broad research interest; I could not imagine a more perfect fit for me.

As our late president, Teddy Roosevelt, once noted, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led diffcult lives and led them well.” Michigan is definitely worth the late-nights in the computer labs with half your cohort clicking away at their workstations, the 5 problem sets you struggle to finish before the week is over, and the daunting 80 slide powerpoint you need to go through for 1 lecture of a pathophysiology exam.

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