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A Ph.D. Candidate Works to Restore Sight

As a Ph.D. candidate in physics at Stanford, Bingyi Wang (China, UWC-USA, Williams College ’18) is doing thesis work in “the field of brain-machine interface,” she writes from Palo Alto.

“In particular, I focus on retinal prosthesis development, aiming to restore sight for patients with AMD (age-related macular degeneration) in Prof. Daniel Palanker's lab. My work consists of the design and fabrication of an on-chip prosthetic device, which is surgically placed in the subretinal space. The electronic device functions like photoreceptors that have degenerated for AMD patients, stimulating the rest of the neural circuits and transmitting visual signals to the brain.

“In collaboration with industrial efforts in Europe, we have shown promising success in clinical trials. I am dedicating to designing new generations of our devices, aiming to improve the visual acuity.”

Bingyi is a member of the first cohort of students who received a Knight-Hennessy Scholarship. The highly selective international program, founded in 2016, provides 100 students each year with full funding to pursue a Stanford graduate degree.

She’s also a musician, performing on the Chinese stringed zheng.

“I have been actively playing and performing, as well as leading an ensemble group of zheng,” Bingyi writes. “I have performed with the Stanford guzheng ensemble at the Chinese New Year gala and our dedicated annual concerts. As a soloist, I performed in occasions such as departmental celebrations, cultural exchange shows, and within Knight-Hennessy community.” She was honored with a Stanford Department of Music Award in spring 2019.