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Alumnus Dr. K. Chris Oh Integrates Physics Education in his Career

Spring 2021 Northwestern Magazine: "My Northwestern Direction"

When I arrived at Northwestern in 1990 from my family’s home in Malaysia, I was driven by two passions: to learn science at the most fundamental level and to use that knowledge to help people. My goal was to become a physician.

On the first day of my organic chemistry class, I learned that electrons orbit their nuclei only in certain predefined configurations and that these configurations form the basis of all atomic and molecular interactions. I was fascinated by this concept, which forms the foundation of not only chemistry but also molecular biology, genetics and medicine. It is the action of individual atoms and molecules that drives biological processes at the cellular level.

To better understand this concept, I majored in physics in addition to my premedicine program. After being accepted to the Feinberg School of Medicine in 1993, I decided to take a three-year deferral to study nuclear and elemental particle physics at the California Institute of Technology. I obtained a master’s degree and then returned to Feinberg to earn my medical degree. I now run a private medical practice in Niles, Ill.

K. Chris Oh ’93, ’00 MD, ’04 GME is an internist at Advocate Health Care and NorthShore University HealthSystem who lives in Wilmette, Ill., with his wife and their two children.

Continue to the full story at Northwestern Magazine, Spring 2021.