“It’s a time when one only needs to go and build what is imagined, and it can become reality,” Chao says. He recently attended a talk by one of the global leaders in the field of biomaterials, Dr. Robert Langer. “I asked if he ever went down a project route that was a dead end. Very gratifyingly, he answered that, with enough time and ingenuity, there is no such thing in engineering. I hope that I am able to say the same about my own career someday,” Chao says.
He describes the Harvard program as one that requires engineers to complete a first-year medical school curriculum, as well as graduate-level engineering coursework. The goal, he says, is to develop engineers and researchers who understand the needs and limitations of the medical field.
Looking back on his years at the University of Minnesota, Chao says, “That environment really helped to shape the type of scientist I am today. Each of my PI's — Dr. Tom Neufeld, Dr. Dan Keefe, Dr. Jeff Gralnick and Dr. Chad Myers — have shaped the way I think and approach problems, as well as how I interact with scientific peers. I am incredibly grateful to all of them.”