Howard Hang: An immunologist's chemist

Credit: © 2008 Landon Nordeman" /> Credit: © 2008 Landon Nordeman As a high school student trying to pick a college, Howard Hang was more interested in where he would be able to catch the best waves than academic programs. A native Californian, Hang looked at many of the University of California schools, finally choosing UC, Santa Cruz, which clearly had the best surf. It wasn't long before his surfboard was

Andrea Gawrylewski
May 1, 2008
<figcaption> Credit: © 2008 Landon Nordeman</figcaption>
Credit: © 2008 Landon Nordeman

As a high school student trying to pick a college, Howard Hang was more interested in where he would be able to catch the best waves than academic programs. A native Californian, Hang looked at many of the University of California schools, finally choosing UC, Santa Cruz, which clearly had the best surf. It wasn't long before his surfboard was gathering dust, and Hang became serious about science, "The 'science bug' didn't catch me until I took organic chemistry, and then things started to actually make sense," recalls Hang.

At Santa Cruz, Hang attended a seminar given by UC Berkeley's Caroline Bertozzi, who spoke on chemical remodeling of mammalian cell surfaces by feeding the cells with unnatural sugars. "For a young chemist, that was awesome," says Hang, recalling his reaction to the seminar. Right away he applied for a summer internship in Bertozzi's lab, and...