Skip to main content

"I chose Rochester for the research opportunities'


If you want to do research as an undergraduate, the University of Rochester is a good place to be.

Just ask Janson Ho ’18 of chemical engineering.

While taking organic chemistry his first semester as a freshman, Ho walked up to the instructor, Assoc. Prof. Bradley Nillson, and expressed an interest in doing research.

Nillson invited Ho to attend meetings of his lab group. The next semester Nillson began training Ho to work in his lab. Ho spent that summer conducting an REU (research experience for undergraduate) under Nillson, studying peptide assembly and protein folding. The experience was “ very beneficial for my understanding for the scientific aspect of things,” Ho said.

'I've always pushed myself to do better'

Ho said he’s learned to take the initiative since high school.

“I’ve always felt like I need to push myself to do better.  There’s always a need to improve. No one’s perfect. You can always better yourself.”

Initially Ho contemplated biomedical engineering, but switched his major after hearing a talk by a chemical engineer, who described his research on drug delivery and regenerative medicine, using hydrogels and biomaterials. “It showed a how a chemical engineer who focuses more on process engineering can still do such innovative things in the field of biology,” Ho said.

After graduating, he would like to work as an engineer in the pharmaceutical industry.

In the meantime, he is gearing up for more research experience in Prof. David Foster’s Computational Fluid Dynamics Group in the Department of Chemical Engineering, learning an ANSYS software program preparatory to doing actual research.

Still time for basketball and music

When not in the classroom or lab, Ho plays intramural basketball, and meets to discuss music (he plays piano) and attend concerts at the Eastman School with other members of the Undergraduate Musicians Council.

He’s also active in two professional groups on campus, as secretary of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AICHE) chapter and vice president of Engineers for a Sustainable World.

“I chose Rochester mainly for the research opportunities,” Ho added. “What I saw here was a lot of high quality research and I really wanted to get engaged in some of these research opportunities.”

 That’s exactly what has happened.