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News from Seoul – August 16, 2019: William

Research Update

During the final weeks of his research internship, William worked on optimizing an organ-chip model that mimics how cells are recruited to the site of a wound. A major strength of his model compared to existing models is the integration of complex tissue structures to show not only the behavior of the recruited cells, but also the surrounding tissue with which they interact. William presented his results at a lab group meeting which was later followed by a delicious lunch of Korean-style Chinese delivery.

Lab group meeting. Left: William presenting his work to his fellow group members. Right: Unpacking of Korean-style Chinese food delivery.

Final Excursions around Seoul

On the second to last week of his internship, William received an unexpected message from an old friend from high school saying that she and her family will be arriving in Seoul that week. So of course, they jumped on the opportunity to meet up. William first showed them around Hongdae, where they explored the Hongik University campus, went shopping, rock climbing, and relaxed at a Starbucks Reserve, a less common high-end style Starbucks. At the Starbucks Reserve they enjoyed a blueberry cookie cheesecake along with their coffee. After resting for a bit, William and his friends went to walk around in a park by the Han River before heading back to Seoul National University for a classic Korean meal of “Bibimbap” (mixed rice with various toppings and side dishes).

 Left: William and his high school friends by the Han River. Right: Blueberry cookie cheesecake and coffee at a Starbucks Reserve beneath the Hongdae Climbing gym.

As a fan of photography, William sought out the best views of the city he could find before his stay came to an end. Of the many locations he found, one of his favorites came from an unexpected discovery when he went to the restroom in the neighboring engineering building. Since the engineering buildings are located furthest up the mountain, looking out from the top floor bathroom that faces the city offers a breathtaking view of both the campus and the distant mountains beyond Seoul.

Left: View from the 301 Engineering Building restroom. Right: Nighttime view from the Namsan Tower outdoor deck.

William’s personal favorite of his nighttime shots was taken from an outdoor deck on the Namsan Tower. The dazzling city lights contrasting with faint glow of the distant mountains highlight an interesting interplay between nature and modern technology embodied by Seoul. During one of their last nights in Seoul, William and Alejandro traveled to the tower to enjoy this amazing scenery while having a long conversation reminiscing about their experiences and growth in Korea. Similar to the dichotomy of new and old in the photo above, they agreed that while they had both gained a multitude of new external experiences, both academic and cultural, some of the most important developments during this program related to better understanding ourselves – discovering things they enjoy, expanding their curiosity, and gaining confidence for the future.