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McNair Feature Scholar: Meet Keng!

Keng Chang, Cohort 21
Keng Chang, Cohort 21

My name is Keng Chang. I was born and raised in Salaburi, Thailand. As a kid growing up, I wanted to be anything and everything. I thought that if I had a dream, then the sky is the limit; I could do anything. As time flew by, my family and I finally arrived in the US in 2003. Everything was new to me: the culture, the environment, the language. There was a lot that I was afraid of doing, but as time moved on, I proved that I could too.  

Right now, I am a Junior at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, majoring in ACS Biochemistry with an emphasis on pre-med. Over this summer, I have been working on my research with my mentor, Dr. Yang. My research is on Benincasa Hispida, commonly known as wax gourd or winter melon is a fruit of the gourd family (Cucurbitaceae). It is an annual creeping vine with branched tendrils that will climb structures, cover fences or sprawl along the ground. Native to Southeast Asia, which can now also be found grown in many different parts of the world. Through literature search, I encountered studies that revealed that the plant exerted many pharmacological activities, including central nervous effects (anxiolytic, muscle relaxant, antidepressant, in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease and to minimize opiates withdrawal signs), antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antiasthmatic, diuretic, nephroprotective, antidiabetic, hypolipidemic and antimicrobial effects. In this study, I plan to extract the chemical constituents by Soxlet extractions and gather necessary data to support potential pharmaceutical effects of the plant.  

My postbaccalaureate goals are revolved around getting into med school and earning my MD/Ph.D. I am determined to finish this goal so that I can help out my community and assist in discovering necessary medicine that will benefit the present and future generations to come.