Andrew Hemmert and Charles Davis have been awarded the 2010 Diane Harris Leadership Award for their exemplary public service as doctoral students in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. Andrew and Charles are both recent graduates and they were presented with their plaques and award checks during the 2nd Annual Graduate Student Recognition Awards event. The department elected to create this award in honor of Diane Harris, who retired in 2007 after 20+ years as student services manager, a position she held with great dedication and loyalty.
Andrew trained with Dr. Matthew Redinbo as part of the biophysics program. As a graduate student, Andrew engineered the protein human carboxylesterase 1 (hCE1) into an enzyme capable of hydrolyzing organophosphate nerve agents using x-ray crystallography, bioinformatics, molecular biology, and biochemical techniques. Currently, he works as a scientist at Idaho Technology, a biotechnology firm in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Charles with trained with Dr. Max Berkowitz in the biophysics program and his work involved using computational modeling and molecular dynamics simulations to study the earliest stages of Alzheimer's Disease, in particular the interaction of the Amyloid-Beta peptide with neuronal cell membranes. Currently, he is a law student at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.