ESR8 – Wei Shan (Helen) Tan

Wei Shan (Helen), Tan

Host: TU Eindhoven
Supervisors: Prof. Menno Prins (TU/e), Khulan Sergelen (TU/e)

ESR 8: Single-molecule TPM biosensor with nanoswitches integrated in the tether

“I embrace changes in life – a change of state, a change of mindset. To me, changes are what drives me forward; changes are what challenges me to become a better person.

The Molecular Biosensing group are developing a sensing technology called Biosensing by Particle Motion (BPM) that enables continuous monitoring with single molecule resolution. The principle is based on measuring changes in diffusional motion of particles when they interact with a sensor surface. The interactions between particle and surface result in temporal changes of motion which are optically observed and depend on the concentration of target molecules. We investigate sensor concepts for a wide variety of applications, using affinity binders for the targets of interest.

I will be attempting to understand the fundamental interplay between each component present in the complex environment of the BPM system. My focal area is surface chemistry and biofunctionalization processes.

I come from a middle-class family in Malaysia. When I was young, my parents taught me to never be afraid of challenges and I have lived by that rule ever since. Studying science has always been the path for me, but I never really think of myself as someone who can contribute to the scientific community as I thought I lack in creativity. However, my experiences at Imperial College London changed my mind and I found this burning passion for materials science, particularly in the field of nanomaterials and biomaterials. I realized that doing scientific research requires passion, grit and determination, and this directly fuelled my will to go to further my study as a Ph.D. student.

I have obtained my Integrated master’s degree from Imperial College London, UK, studying Materials Science and Engineering. During my university years, I have also involved in multiple research groups to gain insights into what I would love to do in the future. For instance, I was involved in optimizing the fabrication of thermoelectric thin film at the Ibanez group in IST Austria during my internship, and I studied and helped in designing a fibre-reinforced composite as a cartilage mimic in the Stevens group at Imperial College London during my year-long term-time project and my master’s project.