Undergraduate Research Program

Devin Eng

Devin Eng smiling in the forestMajor: Bioengineering
Mentor: Masaoki Kawasumi, UWSOM Dermatology

Contact: urp@uw.edu

Current research project: Epigenome Editing of DNA Demethylation and Histone Acetylation to Inhibit Skin Cancer


Devin is a Taiwanese-American originally from Honolulu, HI and is currently a senior pursuing Bioengineering at the University of Washington. Since January 2020, he has been part of the Kawasumi Lab, which researches the mechanisms and prevention of skin cancers. Currently, Devin is working on undoing specific epigenetic changes found only in skin cancer cells to see if he can reverse the malignancy of cancer cells. In his free time, he enjoys outdoor activities, spearfishing, playing music, and visual art.


Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
Carcinogens, such as ultraviolet light, cause changes to healthy cells which can result in cancerous cells. Previous research has identified where and what these changes are, but it is still unknown what happens if you undo these changes in cancer cells. We hypothesize that our experiments will make the cancer cells less cancerous and this could lead to a new specific treatment for metastatic skin cancers with minimal toxicity to normal cells, unlike chemotherapy.


When, how, and why did you get involved in undergraduate research?
I met my PI through work at my previous job, the financial manager assistant for the UWSOM Division of Dermatology. I officially joined the lab in January 2020 and joined because cancer is personal and I chose the research capstone path for my degree.


What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?
Normal method: find a research lab you’re curious about, study the nature of the lab’s research (read their publications), email PI (possibly multiple times as they get loads of emails), prepare for an interview.
What I did: Met PI during work so I somewhat knew the nature of the research, asked PI in person next time I saw him about joining his lab (pretty much an impromptu interview and I was prepared)