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Meet Our Scholars

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Davy Deng

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health 

Computational Biology and Quantitative Genetics



René Plessner Point Scholarship

Tianhan (Davy) grew up in a rural village on the cusp of Xi’an, China in a conservative family. Around the age of 12, Davy discovered his identity as a gay man and immediately struggled with the deeply internalized stigma from his culture. After years of secretly battling with mental health traumas, at the age of 18, he decided to leave China and came to the U.S. for a more liberating social environment. At the University of California, Berkeley, he graduated with triple majors in chemistry, genetics, and psychology as a first-gen low-income college student. He then went on to Harvard to pursue a master’s degree in computational biology and quantitative genetics. Through his journey from Berkeley to Harvard, he discovered his irrefutable passion for cancer biology and sparked his interest in becoming a physician scientist in the future with a particular interest in cancer evolutionary dynamics. His work has been published in PNAS and Trends in Cancer with two more in revision for Nature and Plos Pathogen. Outside of his academic goal, Davy also has personal goals for creating social impact in the global health sector, particularly in mental health. From 2017-2021, he participated in and initiated various projects including health equity education, mental health de-stigmatization campaign, COVID-19 crisis intervention and peer support program evaluation. His work in this area on has been published in Journal of Psychiatric Res., HPHR and JEMEP. Davy is pursuing MD-PhD after graduating next year and will continue developing both his academic goals and his personal goals. 

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