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Date published: May 18, 2023

May Student Spotlight: Kevin Gao, MD/PhD Student

Kevin MingJie Gao, is an MD/PhD student at UMass Chan Medical School, who is originally from Radnor, Pennsylvania. 


What are your research and clinical interests?
My research interest is centered around understanding immunologic diseases, which harm one’s own body, especially in the context of autoimmunity and autoinflammation. During my PhD work, I primarily utilized mouse models to study how immune activation by the cytosolic DNA sensing pathway cGAS-STING can promote inflammatory disease within the lung. Next in my training as a physician-scientist, I am seeking to apply my basic immunology training towards understanding and treating dysregulated immunologic processes in patients suffering from rheumatologic and immune disorders. I am interested in clinically specializing in either rheumatology or allergy-immunology.  

What makes UMass a great place for your studies?
The culture of camaraderie, collaboration, and support within the UMass community has been so critical to my growth as an independent thinker. Our fellow researchers at all levels of training contribute constructive feedback and insightful discussion that is the backbone of research efforts within our institution.  

Favorite hobby?
Besides my love of medicine and immunology, I am also very passionate about learning tricks with juggling clubs and other related circus props and skill toys like meteor hammers and kendama. 

Favorite thing to do in Worcester/Worcester area?
Spending time at the New England Botanical Gardens at Tower hill is always lovely. Annual memberships are significantly discounted for students, and you can also get a membership for your dog to explore their various outdoor gardens and trails.