Two Concentrators Receive Royce Fellowships for Undergraduate Research

Each year, Brown awards Royce Fellowships, established by alumnus Charles Royce ’61, to a cohort of undergraduates. Recipients receive a stipend to undertake an independent research project under the advising of a Brown faculty member. The department is proud to announce that two concentrators, Joy Jiang ’19 (Biochemistry) and Andrew Ton ’20 (Chemical Physics), have been selected from a pool of applicants for the 2018 cohort.


2017-07-09 23.08.05 (1)_0.jpgJoy Jiang—In August 2012, the Chinese government’s National Health and Family Planning Commission initiated the Cancer Screening Program in Urban China (CanSPUC) to screen urban communities for cancer free of charge and reduce cancer-related mortalities.

For her research project, “Interrogating the Effectiveness of Breast Cancer Screening in Urban China,” Joy will statistically analyze secondary patient information collected by CanSPUC to determine the number of positive cases detected and describe associations among screening outcomes, socioeconomic status, and demographic characteristics. She hopes to help evaluate the extent to which screening can be relied upon as a successful indicator of disease. Joy will complete this project with Tongzhang Zheng, Professor of Epidemiology.  

Having family in the fields of medicine and cancer immunology, Joy was prompted to explore the subject from the medical perspective. The Public Health Policy Course “Burden of Disease in Developing Countries,” inspired her to consider cancer from a global perspective, focusing her research paper on the status of breast cancer screenings in China, her family’s country of origin.

“High-quality scientific evidence is crucial for guiding government policy-making on screening initiatives, yet the quantity and quality surrounding breast cancer screening research has been inadequate in China,” Joy says. “I hope that I can contribute to this body of knowledge through my summer project with CanSPUC.”


Ton_Andrew_Web_Op_0.pngAndrew Ton—A family of liquids known as “supercooled liquids” are unable to crystallize if their temperatures are lowered quickly. Instead, the molecules move increasingly slowly until the liquid solidifies into a material with liquid-like structure despite solid-like mechanical properties — such materials we know as glasses.

Despite our personal familiarity with glass, we still don’t have an accepted theory for what occurs during this “glass transition,” the state between supercooled liquid and glass. Glass is a far-from-equilibrium material that remains away from equilibrium on macroscopic timescales, and as such has proven very difficult to study. Glassy systems have interesting properties and behave markedly differently from other materials. We still lack an understanding of glass, a very simple, common everyday material.

For his research project “Investigating the Slow Dynamics of Supercooled Liquids,” Andrew is using simulation and a theoretical approach of analyzing the most efficient pathways (“geodesics”) for a system of supercooled liquid molecules to move. Andrew will complete this project with Richard Stratt, Newport Rogers Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Physics.

“I have always been interested in the world around me, especially the composition and behavior of materials,” says Andrew. “I believe our theory of geodesics can identify something fundamental about interesting physical situations - like what happens when a liquid becomes inexplicably slow.”