Chen Chen’s academic pursuits may be scientific in nature, but an eye toward creativity keeps this senior engaged on and off campus. Chen is studying genetics, cell biology and development as well as human physiology, though he long thought he’d pursue a degree in piano performance before finding an interest and passion in the sciences later in high school and now at the University. Pursuing a more artistic and creative side to biology led him into research and work on a paper exploring cardiac regeneration and remodeling at the Lillehei Heart Institute.
“Similar to music, what I enjoy most in this research was the combination of creativity and critical thinking,” he says. “You get to ask these sci-fi-like questions about regenerating the heart, like something you would see out of the movies, but also a scientific perspective trying to create something from nothing.”
This drive to create and discover new knowledge led Chen to also get engaged with more PIs at the heart institute, work for a medical device consulting firm, as well as currently serve as a quantitative research analyst for a hedge fund in Minneapolis.
“I’m still doing research, it’s just with different types of data,” Chen says. “My primary role within the hedge fund is developing new investment strategies and quantitative models that will essentially forecast volatility and returns of different asset classes and take advantage of mispricing between different global equity markets…. These roles showed me that you have to have an inherent ability to think critically, to really look at data and know how much you need to scrutinize it and to know whether the data is good or not.”
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2021 edition of BIO, a magazine for College of Biological Sciences alumni, donors and friends.