Derek Wan

Vision Researcher, 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)
- Working 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”

- Majoring in Computer Science at UC Berkeley
- One of the top rated student instructors in the EECS department (4.8 / 5.0 overall rating, Fa18)
- 2018-2019 recipient of the UC Berkeley EECS Outstanding GSI Award
- Fifth place in "I Built This" competition for web-based video games.
- Third author on ARVO 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.
- 2008: I win the school Halloween costume contest as Headless Man.
- 2009: I hold my breath for over 2 minutes as part of a school science experiment.
- 2009: I go to Camp Arrowhead with my three best friends.
- 2010: Swimming accident #2 leaves me with a scar across my heart. It is often mistaken for a bullet wound.
- 2011: I screw up first cello solo in orchestra--I am never asked to solo again.
- 2012: I set the world record in Penguin Blast.
- 2012: My formal piano training comes to an end.
- 2013: I eat nothing but tangerines for 3 days at FBLA State.
- 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.
- 2017: Prof. Anant Sahai kindly buys me a mango smoothie over Caviar.
- 2017: Prof. John DeNero kindly offers me an ice cream sandwich on a hot day.
- 2018: Prof. Pieter Abbeel visits my house for a housewarming party.
- 2018: Prof. Paul Hilfinger gratuitously hands me and my friend Albert a cheese pizza in Soda.
- 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 fourth-year at UC Berkeley studying Computer Science who works at the intersection between medicine and tech.

Computational Research

I do research in vision science and all things having to do with the genome of Chlamydia trachomatis.


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


I play ridiculously difficult renditions of songs from movies on the piano. After I completed Level 10 CM I abandoned my classical training to focus on music that would make people smile.

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!