Daniel Kramer, a Ph.D. candidate in Biochemistry, has been awarded the 2019-2020 Brown Graduate Fellowship in the amount of $10,000. The purpose of the fellowship program, administered by the Office of the Vice President of Research of Iowa State University, is to assist outstanding students to advance ISU research within their graduate program. Daniel’s outstanding credentials have positioned him as one of twelve outstanding students from across Iowa State receiving this award.
In his nomination, Daniel’s mentor, Professor Stone Chen, stated that since joining his lab in 2017, Daniel has proven himself an outstanding student both academically and in his research. Academically, Daniel has maintained a 4.0 GPA, and his research contributions resulted in a paper published in Developmental Cell (Zou et al., 2018, Developmental Cell 45, 362–375) entitled, “A Dendritic Guidance Receptor Complex Brings Together Distinct Actin Regulators to Drive Efficient F-Actin Assembly and Branching”.
Daniel’s current thesis project is to understand the biochemical and structural mechanism by which novel neuronal receptors, Retrolinkin and HPO-30, interact with a central actin regulator, the WAVE Regulatory Complex (WRC). His thesis research should reveal new mechanisms of actin cytoskeleton regulation, which could ultimately lead to new insights into how defects in actin dynamics contribute to human diseases.
In addition to his main project, Daniel has also made significant contributions to two other collaborative projects. He has assisted an undergraduate in the lab by designing a few critical DNA constructs and experiments to study the biochemical mechanism by which the glutamate receptor GluR6 interacts with the WRC. In another project, Daniel provided a series of protein samples, including the WRC, Rac, the Arp2/3 complex and actin, to their collaborators, Takanari Inoue’s group at the Johns Hopkins University.
Daniel is also a peer mentor and leader in both the graduate program and for the Graduate College. He has worked with the Graduate College as a peer mentor for other graduate students during their first year in graduate school, and has taken a leadership role in the Biochemistry and Biophysics graduate programs by helping recruit and mentor new students. He is currently a peer leader in the BBMB Graduate Learning Community (GLC).