When Alex Han ’24 was growing up, he was fascinated by his Korean great grandmother’s stories about surviving the Korean War and Japan’s annexation of Korea. Then, when he was in fifth grade, the stories stopped. He now knows that she developed dementia, and Alzheimer’s was robbing her of her stories — and their time together. This inspired his passion for Alzheimer’s research and his vision of a future as a physician and researcher. Opportunities at Rice are making his dreams come true.
Thanks to Rice’s partnership with the Texas Medical Center, Alex has been able to immerse himself in clinical and basic science research for the past two years. “The first thing I wanted to do when I got to Rice was do wet lab research, and I’m able to do that in Dr. Zoghbi’s lab, which focuses on Alzheimer’s disease.”
As a member of the Alzheimer’s Buddies club on campus, Alex spends his Saturday mornings with memory care patients at a facility that is just a short walk from his Brown dorm. They play cards and bingo, have coffee and talk — much like he did with his great grandmother. “Seeing their dementia progress motivates me to go into the lab and complete another trial. It keeps me going to know that what I’m doing at the medical center has direct implications for our friends at the memory center and so many others.”
Alex is grateful for the donors who support him, including the thousands of Owls who step up each year during the 24-Hour Challenge. “Donors make it possible for me to be here at Rice and to work on life-changing research initiatives,” he says. “I fell in love with Rice when I first stepped on campus, and I’m very grateful to call Rice home.”
With generous support from the Rice Annual Fund, the university continues to offer Sarah and other Owls the best in financial aid, residential college life, student activities, teaching and research. Learn more about how your gift to the Rice Annual Fund can make an impact.