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Melissa Mai

The faculty at Hopkins taught me the importance of taking meaningful risks in my research and career.

  • Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry
  • Mathematics

Melissa Mai came to Johns Hopkins with an interest in public health studies and a fear of studying physics. She'll leave as an accomplished young scientist who specializes in the physics of cell motility, and with a range of research studies and two prestigious graduate research fellowships under her belt.

Mai, who will graduate with the Class of 2019 with a bachelor's degree in biophysics and mathematics, will work toward her PhD in biophysics at Harvard as a Hertz Graduate Fellow and as a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, two awards that recognize outstanding students in STEM fields.

At Hopkins, Mai's academic journey shifted toward physics early on, when she learned that her faculty mentor, Richard Cone, began studying the vaginal microbiome after he noticed that women's health issues were underrepresented in research. Although Mai originally dreaded taking a required physics class her sophomore year, she found she enjoyed the subject and was inspired by Cone's experiences to make her own academic transition.

"The faculty at Hopkins taught me the importance of taking meaningful risks in my research and career," she says. "I'm incredibly grateful for the diverse and interdisciplinary research experiences I've had."

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