Medicine is the balance between my emotional side and my logical side -- my pathos and my logos. I first became interested in neuroscience and medicine via an unconventional route: by listening to Mahler. As a listener, I was taken by the lush harmonies of the Adagietto from Mahler’s Fifth Symphony: Pathos. As a scientist, I wondered how simple harmonics from oscillating strings could induce the brain to experience deep, inexplicable emotions: Logos. How then, could these physical vibrations be used not only to produce deeply moving aesthetic experiences for people, but also to heal pathologies of the body and mind? Pathos and logos， I had to have both. I had to have one to fuel the other.
I have explored the dichotomies of art and science thoroughly but separately. In music, I have poured every fiber of my being into technically demanding and emotionally charged performances. As an orchestral flutist, I recall playing the dramatic last chord of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth with my colleagues onstage before a thunderous silence emanated through the concert hall and a man in the audience leapt to his feet. Years later, in a much more intimate setting, a doctor on the cancer floor motioned for me to enter the patient’s room. Surrounded by her family, the woman wept as I performed Bach. I did not know the prognosis for her cancer, nor did I know about her life, desires, or experiences before our paths crossed, but I was glad that I had the opportunity bring her an emotional escape, as transient as it was. However, I yearned to do more for her directly as a physician. As an artist, I used music to penetrate the psyche, but I aspired to have the tools to heal the physical body as well. For that moment though, I had used my pathos to affect another human being, empathizing with what it means to be finite.
In science, I learned to spearhead a research project with vigor but also to approach the analysis with well-tempered logic and even-keeled expectations. In the rhythmic humming of the MRI control room, I made sure the exacting parameters of data acquisition were in place before explaining to the participant their task and starting the scans. Later, I would preprocess, clean, and program these data to investigate the activation and connectivity of the brains of normal and clinical populations. My mentors and I had used our logos to address an unsolved question in the field.
在科研中, 我学会了用严密的逻辑分析和审慎的观点来组织一个研究项目。在节奏分明的核磁共振影像控制室里,我先设定严格的参数采集数据；在启动扫描前，向受试者解释他们的任务和期值。之后, 我会进行预处理,分组和编程，并分析这些数据，以研究正常人与病人大脑激活和联结的差异。我和导师用我们的理性来解决一个尚未解决的问题。
Both the artistic and the scientific thrilled me to the core, and I struggled to find a way to combine the two. Often, I was forced to choose one or the other, so I entered a PhD in cognitive neuro science. I lived for the thrill of conducting experiments that lead to the generation of new knowledge, but I felt constrained at not being able to personally translate and apply these basic science findings to clinical settings. It led me to consider career paths that would provide me with the education and skillset to conduct truly bench-to-bedside translational research while caring for patients. Though it was a difficult decision to leave the PhD, this introspective thought process made me more determined than ever to combine both scientific rigor and direct human contact in pursuit of a future career.
I spent my post-baccalaureate years balancing between a full-time job and evening classes, pouring myself into the data and coursework. Somewhere in between Matlab, metastasis, and Mahler, I observed a surgeon who treated medicine as both art and science in a way that seamlessly blended the two.I watched as Dr. Z directed the procedures of the operation with assured logic while also treating the patient with empathy: in removing a tumor deeply embedded in the temporal lobe of the patient’s brain, Dr. Z made every effort to spare as much of the hippocampus as possible in order to enable the patient to retain a good portion of his memory. His fluid and precise movements reminded me of the way an expert musician effortlessly integrates both body and instrument in a way that looks effortless, the product of hours upon hours of training. I deeply admired Dr. Z’s attention to detail; when he invited us to come up close, I saw the smooth whiteness of the unscathed hippocampus with all traces of the tumor removed.Perhaps the balance between the impulses was not so separate. Music, science, and medicine are all founded on highly organized mathematical, logical, and calculated principles. However, the organized principles in these respective fields are stagnantly cut-and-dry without a humanistic touch. My strong research training coupled with my background in the arts allows me to combine scientific objectivity with humanistic subjectivity in medical practice.
Through these experiences, I see how the crossing of paths of people, situations, and ideas are interesting facets to probe the logical and the emotional. I seek a career in medicine because I want to affect other human beings by elucidating the pathology of disease via the rationale of problem solving. I want to bring the knowledge I obtain as a scientist back to the patient as a clinician, finding the balance between logos and pathos on a human scale. I aim to conjoin these impulses in my future medical career to ultimately provide for others the nature of healing.
我为什么想学医 Why do I want to be a doctor