Andrea del Valle
National Tsing Hua University
Over prepare, then go with the flow. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
I am a scientist trying to find the most efficient treatment for cancer therapy. I have devoted the last ten years of my life to fulfill research focused on multidrug-resistant cancer—a type of cancer in the previous stage of the disease. We have figured out that nanomolecular drugs that induce ROS dependent cell death are a cancer-selective therapy that can be used to reduce those recurrent tumors. Isn't that exciting? Moreover, our laboratory is interested in analyzing the bio-nano interaction and how the nanocomplexes can enhance the therapeutic effects of different drug conjugates. Every year we have several new drug candidates that have shown the benefits of nanotechnology to treat cancer. Hopefully, one day, these drugs will reach the market and help millions of people who have no other disease treatment.
In short, my work comes from developing new pharmaceuticals, design, and use. Then, to test them in pre-clinical trials. Our laboratory hopes that the new generation of pharmaceuticals can translate into the clinic so much more people can benefit from nanotechnology's advantages. Since most pre-clinical development is mostly done in our laboratory, we have developed a huge list of laboratory skills that can be used further in the industry.
Besides my research work, I am always engaged in STEM education for girls in the developing world. I believe that my formation as a biomedical engineer makes me one of the best candidates to guide and advise girls for their future. I know that being a scientist is a huge responsibility since the communication and the development of scientific discoveries are in our hands. I have the dream of changing the world for the best of all of us. I believe rational thinking and better laws can help us bring ourselves together as a whole of humankind. However, I recognize this goal cannot be obtained if people worldwide remain apart from science and development. To overcome these drawbacks, I have created a Facebook page whose primary purpose is to translate scientific news and articles into Spanish. This helps people in Latin America to 1. be more engaged with science, 2. see the scientific advances "on live" without waiting for months or years to get that information. In less than one year, I have gotten over 10K followers (@andreacelestedv). I am not an influencer or anything close to a scientific magazine. However, I take this as a personal goal to reach others with something that can bring us together: Science.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?
I choose this field the day I learned that being a doctor will have its limits. I understood that while being a physician I would be able to heal people, however, I couldn't provide them with new therapeutic options. This made me very frustrated because I did not tolerate that I could have some limits to help others. Studying biomedical engineering will provide me the tools to make new pharmaceuticals that can help so many people.
HOW DO/DID YOU TACKLE OBSTACLES?
I was diagnosed with Epilepsy about 11 years ago. Many times I did believe I wouldn't make it possible to become a professional. Epilepsy taught me that I can fall many times and I will be still able to stand up and continue my journey. It made me resilient and perseverant on my goals. It also taught me self discipline and how to arrange my time in a way where I can be more effective on my tasks. It pushed me to be healthier, have a better life-work balance, and be more engaged with medical research.
WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT & THINK, "I WISH YOUNGER ME WOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS WAS POSSIBLE?"
I wish that the younger me didn't take it all so seriously. Things happen and things move forward. A mistake is not the end of the world and you should enjoy the process. Please make sure that wherever you’re at in life, you don’t treat it like a transitory period. Don’t waste your college years wishing to already be graduated & have a job. Don’t waste your single years wishing for someone to be in love with. If/when those things come, they will come in due time and they will be good. But there is nothing like looking back and feeling empty because you wasted literal years ignoring what you had because you were hoping for something better. While it’s important to better yourself and reach for your goals, don’t neglect the present because that’s where you are now and it’s your now that determines your future.
WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?
The constant learning, every day I can get new information, nothing is static.
BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?
Life isn't fair, but it's still good. Life is too short-- enjoy it.
Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
Everything can change in the blink of an eye. It's never too late to be happy. But it's all up to you and no one else.
When it comes time to go after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
Over prepare, then go with the flow.
No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years, will this matter?'
Always choose life.
Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.
However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
All that truly matters, in the end, is that you loved.
Friends are the family we choose. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.
"Always make the effort to take the things one step beyond"