Derek Wan

Vision Researcher, Voxel Artist, Chlamydia Researcher, Computer Science Instructor, Pianist, Software Engineer


Hi There! I'm Derek, and I get addicted to everything: people, math puzzles, coding, intractable research questions, books, creating music, video games, and the #random channel in the CS61A Slack group.

Here are some highlights of my life:

- Finalist at the 2015 American Short Course Championships
- Raced in the same pool as Michael Phelps in Texas
- Overall third place finisher in the 2014 Navy SEAL Challenge as a 16-year-old.
- 2x CIF Champion in swimming
- Represented America at the 2010 North American Challenge Cup
- Represented America at the 2011 Pacific Coast All Stars
- One of the fastest swimmers in the country for the 2009-2010 season. National age group rankings:
50 back (13th), 100 back (25th), 100 IM (16th), 50 free (16th), 100 free (21st), 200 breast (25th)

Humanities/Natural Sciences
- Ex-Neurobiology major at UC Berkeley
- One of 33 winners of the international 2015 DuPont Challenge essay contest
- National semifinalist in the 2015 USABO (ranked among the top 500 students in the US)
- Worked with Dr. Deborah Dean to develop a low-cost diagnostic tool for Neisseria gonorrhoeae
- Second author on CBRS 2019 conference publication: “Global diversity of the Chlamydia trachomatis tryptophan operon reveals evolutionary trends among ocular, urogenital and rectal strains”
- Acknowledged contributor on mBIO 2019 publication: "Clinical Persistence of Chlamydia trachomatis Sexually Transmitted Strains Involves Novel Mutations in the Functional αββα Tetramer of the Tryptophan Synthase Operon"

- Graduate student in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at UC Berkeley (Federated Learning)
- Majored in Computer Science and graduated with Highest Distinction (summa cum laude) from UC Berkeley
- One of the top rated student instructors in the EECS department (4.8 / 5.0 overall rating, Fa18)
- 2019-2020 recipient of the EECS Distinguished GSI Award (top instructor out of ~700 in the department)
- Fifth place in "I Built This" competition for web-based video games.
- Third author on IOVS conference publication "ReVAS: An open-source tool for eye motion extraction from retinal videos obtained with scanning laser ophthalmoscopy"
- Third author on pending journal manuscript "ReVAS: A modular eye motion extraction and analysis suite for scanning laser ophthalmoscopy"
- 2018 SURF Rose Hills Research Fellow
- World Finalist in the 2018 Microsoft Imagine Cup
- Worked on a patented NLP engine at ThoughtSpot in 2019

- 2008: I have a swimming accident, and as a result I can now wiggle my ears.
- 2010: Swimming accident #2 leaves me with a scar across my heart. It is often mistaken for a bullet wound.
- 2012: I set the world record in Penguin Blast.
- 2015: I learn to write different words with both hands at the same time.
- 2015: I touch Michael Phelps' foot in the warmup pool at ASCC.
- 2019: My typing speed hits 125 WPM/545 CPM with 99% accuracy.
- 2019: I start to like cats after I meet this handsome fellow:

What I love to do


I am a Master's student at UC Berkeley studying federated learning. Previously I studied Computer Science and Biology as an undergrad.


I explore vision science, Chlamydia genetics, stenosis, and efficient machine learning research.


The people and moments that mean the most to me are all tied to the Computer Science teaching community at Berkeley.


I am an amateur MagicaVoxel artist and sculpt movie scenes in voxel art.

Personal Endeavors

Here are some interesting things I've worked on over the years.


Average number of my students who get an A- or better.


Lab research projects


Lines of code contributed to projects.


Hours of teaching-related work


Connect with me!
If you'd like to talk, don't hesitate to shoot me an email at!