Gerald's parents, who are ethnically Chinese, emigrated from Myanmar to seek out new opportunities in the United States, and to escape institutionalized racism that barred them from pursuing their dreams. Through their example, Gerald, who was born in Anaheim, California, learned to put others before himself.
Fascinated by science from an early age, Gerald began research in high school studying atmospheric chemistry, which culminated in a first author publication in Chemical Physics Letters and third-place in the team portion of the 2005 Siemens Westinghouse Science and Technology Competition. As an undergraduate at Harvard College, Gerald performed chemical biology research to discover molecules that inhibit cancer pathways. The work was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
Seeking to understand how social forces also influence human disease, Gerald spent a year after college in China and Myanmar on a Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Fellowship exploring the impact of culture and politics on HIV/AIDS dynamics.
Gerald is now working towards his MD/PhD at Stanford University in the lab of Maria Barna, where he is investigating novel layers of RNA-mediated gene regulation. In the future, as a physician-scientist, Gerald hopes to understand how gene regulation is disrupted in disease and translate that understanding into new therapies.