Last week, at the Chemstry awards banquet, grad student Randy Perera and undergraduate Taylor Branyan were honored with the "Outstanding Researcher" award. Below are the research blurbs written for each student.
This student has mastered nearly every biophysical technique in the department, including light scattering, circular dichroism, electron microscopy, liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, and NMR spectroscopy. In addition, he has mastered sample preparation, synthesizing nanoparticles and developing purification protocols for eight different proteins. He has performed his own PCR mutagenesis, and he has directed research for six undergraduate students during his time at MSU. And even though he spends more time in Hand Lab than anywhere else, he still found time to get married during his time here. His name appears on two publications, and he recently gave an oral presentation at the ACS meeting in New Orleans. The recipient of this award is Randy Perera.
While this student had been working under the direction of a graduate student, she quickly learned to work independently upon the graduate student’s successful Ph.D. defense. This student has engineered a new a class of biomaterial where hydrogels are built from thermally responsive elastin-like polypeptides. She has tested the performance of these materials as an alignment medium for NMR dipolar coupling experiments, which can be used in protein structure determination. In the course of this work, she has given four presentations at regional and national ACS meetings, and she is a co-author on a manuscript. Next year, she will attend graduate school in neuroscience at Texas A&M University, where she has received a prestigious “Association of Former Students Graduate Merit Fellowship.” This fellowship – designed to attract outstanding students to Texas A&M – will cover her moving expenses, supplement her graduate stipend, and provide an additional $5,000 bonus in her first year. The recipient of this award is Taylor Branyan.