Wong Wins Churchill Scholarship to Study at Cambridge

We are pleased to share the great news that Ethan Wong has been selected as a Churchill Scholar. He will take up studies at Churchill College, Cambridge University next fall. Read on to learn more about Ethan.

Ethan WongEthan Wong COS’24, Biology with Data Science Minor
Mentors: Ziv Williams, Raymundo Báez Mendoza, Eugene Tunik, Plamen Ivanov, Mathew Yarossi
Nominations: Mitchell Scholarship
Home: New Jersey

Ethan Wong’s research interests lie in the field of neurobiology, particularly in the neuropathology of cognitive decline. His hope is to earn the MD/PhD, combining clinical research with “big data” to facilitate early detection of cognitive decline and develop impactful interventions.  Ethan has been traveling in this direction for quite some time and an early fascination with biology and math led him to research focused upon cancer therapeutics at Kean University while still in high school.  When Ethan “arrived” at Northeastern University in the fall of 2020, COVID prevented him from tackling wet lab research in person and he followed his interest in math into computational research (more easily conducted remotely), learning Python, MATLAB, and programs like SPSS, while beginning research in the Laboratory for Movement Neuroscience with Professor Gene Tunik and mentor Matthew Yarossi. Ethan deployed these while creating a novel digitized version of the Trail Making Test (TMT), a test of visual attention and task switching used to assess cognitive function. This work earned a Solutions Award at RISE in Spring 2021.  Ethan continued developing this project through the support of a PEAK Experiences Ascent award, revamping the classical TMT into a task that simultaneously assesses cognitive-motor function in a naturalistic setting. After correcting techniques and fine-tuning his novel algorithm for this new task, called the CanTMT,  Ethan helped to draft its publications for IEEE Engineering in Medicine & Biology Society. Ethan has also conducted extensive research outside of Northeastern, most recently working with Professor Raymundo Baez-Mendoza of the German Primate Center as part of a team seeking to understand the neurophysiological bases of how people form explicit biases. Here, Ethan worked on designing an analysis pipeline and later optimizing data collection. Ethan also worked on a project with Professor Ziv Williams of Harvard Medical School, that compared the single neuronal representations of categorization in the rhesus macaque brain with representation in the human. Ethan presented this work at the NeuroBoston Conference and earned the “Best Undergraduate Poster.”  Ethan also serves as an executive board member for the Sigma Xi research honors society. As the scholarship chair, he hosts grant writing workshops and mentors first- and second-year students. As a mentor for Think Like a Scientist, a PEAK Experiences Bridge-Builder Awardee program, he designs STEM-related activities for youth in Boston. He was recognized as a Goldwater Scholar.