“My academic experience taught me a lot about what it's like to do real research and will be very valuable for my future.”
Gan Preamplume’s education at Florida State University has been enhanced by research and service. Since his first year Gan has been engaged in undergraduate research. “I started doing research the spring of my freshmen year with Dr. Naresh Dalal in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry,” he said. “I was enrolled in the Honors Chemistry II Lab. Instead of doing a set number of experiments, we were assigned a research professor to help with his or her research.”
This experience showed Gan what he describes as the “highs and lows” of research. “We were working on the structure of sodium peroxychromate…, trying to crystallize it. We tried a variety of methods…to no avail and still were not able to obtain a crystal of it,” he said. “Desperate as we were for results, we decided to just add hydrogen peroxide very quickly into the solution and leave it over night in the fridge to see what would happen. The next morning we saw that some of the solution had spilled out of the flask and that it had left some of the largest crystals ever grown in the lab behind. Finally, we had some results!”
Gan continued to work with Dr. Dalal for several semesters. In his junior year, he began conducting undergraduate research on the structure of RNA protein complexes under the direction of Hong Li, an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Gan will complete his Honors in the Major thesis research (also under the supervision of Dr. Li) this spring. “These research experiences taught me a great deal about the world of academic research, a field that I am interested in eventually joining,” Gan said.
In 2009, Gan received a summer Mentored Research and Creative Endeavors Award from the Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors to fund his work with Dr. Li. He presented his summer research, which focused on the structure of CRISPR associated protein, at the fall 2009 Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors Symposium.
Gan is thankful for all Dr. Li has taught him. “She has showed great patience in helping me learn about crystallography and all the techniques that we use in the lab. I have learned a great deal from her, and this knowledge will surely help me in my graduate studies,” Gan said.
While committed to his research, Gan sets aside time to serve the community. Through the student organization Caring and Helping in Community Service (CHICS@FSU), he has volunteered for Relay for Life, the Big Event, First Friday and the Leon County Homeless Shelter.
Immediately after graduation, he hopes to start an internship or job in the field of forensic science. Gan also plans to attend graduate school to earn a doctoral degree in either biochemistry or biophysics.