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Reflections & Thoughts For the Future - Summer 2021 Newsletter

Reflections & Thoughts For the Future - Summer 2021 Newsletter
By Maggie Chua • Issue #4 • View online
Hey there! My name is Maggie and I am a 17-year-old working on creating ripples that will one day impact billions. I am fascinated by the potential of biocomputing, especially the idea of building synthetic circuits and modeling biological systems.

If I could only use one word to describe my summer, I would say reflective. These past months, I can’t say that I necessarily worked on a lot of projects or dove deep into a variety of things I knew little about. Instead, I ended up learning a lot about myself and the way that I’ve been approaching my life.
One of the main things I noticed about myself was that I had gotten into a mindset where I was overanalyzing everything I did. I was focusing so much on being intentional about everything I was doing and considering the value of each thing that I was being intentional about. Because I was so inwardly focused, it led to me neglecting my personal relationships and my own mental health, which had consequences in the second half of my summer.
The main problem I had found was that I was focusing on utility and perceived value. I realized that the personal values I was living by weren’t the things I had thought I wanted and that my internal robot was overinflating/devaluing different aspects of my life.
This obsession with looking for meaning and value in the things I did (while valuable), made me paralyzed. I guess I realized that quantifying my life and my actions was exhausting. Overall, I realized that different methods/mindsets of approaching your life can be helpful, but shouldn’t be used in every aspect of your life.
For anyone who wants to do a reflection or is in a reflective mood, I found Elizabeth Filip’s video incredibly helpful for determining personal values.
💭 Explorations
Vitality: An AI Predictive Model to Reduce Vaccine Wastage
Each year, around 50% of vaccines are wasted worldwide. And during the pandemic, 180,000 unused COVID-19 vaccines were thrown away as of May. Vaccine wastage is a huge issue that is caused by bad distribution and vaccine fragility.
pulled from our slidedeck // also, the logo is made by yours truly ;)
pulled from our slidedeck // also, the logo is made by yours truly ;)
As a result, my team (Hiral, Kareena, and I) developed Vitality, a solution that used an AI model to predict vaccine demand at healthcare facilities to improve distribution and reduce vaccine wastage.
If you’re interested in learning more, check out our one-pager and slide deck that provides a glimpse into what this prospective solution entails.
Before this research, I was completely unaware that was an issue and I’m sure many of us are in the same boat. As a result, I decided to write an article that explores this issue to hopefully raise awareness on an otherwise overlooked topic. Check it out below!
Saving Lives Shouldn’t Be This Costly | by Maggie Chua | Nerd For Tech | Jun, 2021 | Medium
Exploring Drug Metabolism & Personalized Drug Dosage
In July, I spent time working on developing a biocomputing project. During this time, my original idea fell through (too many gaps and not enough time), so I developed a second idea, which involved improving personalized drug dosage to prevent under/over-treatment of diseases.
This idea was built on a previous study that used repressilators to monitor gut bacteria populations in response to inflammation. The repressilator acts as a timekeeper (of sorts) that shows how a system changes across different time scales. In their experiment, they inserted their repressilators into the mice’s gut bacteria and they found they were able to influence the repressilator behavior through certain supplements.
Using this concept, we can insert repressilators into mice with a specific health condition (i.e. diabetes) and determine an ‘ideal’ dose through referencing previous research. Afterward, using a spectrum of doses that either indicates under/over-treatment, we can split up the mice into different control groups to look at how drug dosage impacts gut microbiome diversity and metabolism.
Personalized Dosage for Better Health Outcomes | by Maggie Chua | Jul, 2021 | Medium
✨ Inspirations
From content that evoked new ideas/thoughts to things I just found interesting:
📖 Books
The Handmaid’s Tale - I recently reread the book and caught up to the Hulu show. Both of them are incredible! More importantly, they touch on the subjects of the oppression of women in societies past and present, with a specific focus on reproductive rights.
Born a Crime - I’m in the middle of the audiobook and I’m in love with the narrative. Trevor Noah talks about growing up under apartheid in South Africa and the childhood experiences that impacted him in a humorous tone, yet still conveying the ramifications of racial discrimination in political and social spheres.
🎥. Videos
LIFE - EP1: Artificial Life - I recently got interested in the world of artificial life, which is an area that involves studying life’s systems, processes, and evolution through synthesis and/or simulation. This short documentary provides a fascinating look into this area!
What I wish I knew when I was younger - For a lot of August, I was feeling pretty lost and full of self-doubt. This video brought things into perspective for me and discusses the impact that learned helplessness can have on our lives.
What's Next -->
Things I’m Planning to Work on in September…
  • focusing on my health and taking care of myself
  • start building in public (even if it scares me)
  • developing a research project in artificial life
  • building a journaling habit based on Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations
  • learning about AI/ML & starting a project
Closing Thoughts...
If you got to the end, thanks for catching up with me this month! I sincerely appreciate every single one of you taking time out of your day to listen to my thoughts. Thank you to all the wonderful mentors, friends, and readers for making my month memorable!
As always,
Stay Safe, Keep Learning, Create Happiness 💗
Did you enjoy this issue?
Maggie Chua

Hey! My name is Maggie and I am a biotech enthusiast and writer from the US. Every month, I send out a newsletter talking about my recent projects, reflections, and interesting content I've found online.

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