Santa Clara University

The Johnson Scholars Program

Jared Hara '14

Hometown: Waipahu, Hawaii
Double Major: bioengineering and economics
Mentors: Zhiwen Zhang, associate professor, bioengineering; Lei Fu, associate dean, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Pharmacy; vice-president of chemistry, Viva Biotech Ltd.
Project: Chemical Induction and microPET Screening of Brown Adipose Tissue (BAT) Activation

Jared Hara believes that it's important to give back, and that leadership experience is one of the many skills he'll need in his future career as a physician. His research will focus on potential applications for obesity, diabetes, and stroke treatment. Obesity is marked by an expansion of adipose tissue mass. Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is inversely correlated with body mass index in humans. BAT has "leaky" membranes, which burn fat energy in the form of heat, making BAT a possible therapy for obesity and Type-2 diabetes. Through chemical induction, Jared hopes to increase the metabolic rate of living BAT cells to promote weight loss. While a great deal of testing has been done on BAT, the current research on chemical induction is limited. The Johnson Scholars Program permits Jared to serve as a liaison between international laboratories in conducting this research and provides him with experiential learning in leadership and ethics. Jared plans to concurrently apply for a Fulbright Fellowship, Whitaker Foundation Grants, and other fellowships that permit him to pursue his research interests, with a goal of becoming a research physician.

Jared's 2013 Summer Project Update:

"As a fourth generation Chinese American from Hawaii, I had not been exposed to the rich culture of China and all it has to offer. This summer, I enjoyed the diverse people, breathtaking scenery, and scientific discovery in and around Shanghai and studied at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. At the renowned Ruijin Hospital, which is affiliated with the university's School of Medicine, we ran some of our project tests on the microPET/CT machine to measure the metabolic activity of the brown adipose tissue in the rats. It's considered the gold standard method of measuring activity."