Dan Stribling, a Florida State University student who conducts research in computational chemistry, has received a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship, awarded to the nation’s brightest mathematics, science and engineering college sophomores and juniors.
“I am extremely thankful to have had the opportunity to conduct research at Florida State, and to all of the professors and university staff who have helped me throughout the application process,” said Stribling, a junior majoring in chemistry.
Working in the laboratory of Florida State chemistry and biochemistry Associate Professor Wei Yang, Stribling studies protein recognition in biochemical systems. Using sophisticated algorithms developed in the Yang Lab, Stribling’s research focuses on proteins found in the human body that detect the antigens that signal an infection. His research is helping to lay the groundwork for the development of drugs that can detect antigens to help the body’s immune system to combat disease.
“Dan’s research focuses on methods for calculating the effects of specific mutations on predicting binding affinity changes between T cell receptors and alien peptide fragments,” Yang said. “His research results will lead to a deeper understanding of the protein-protein interactions involved in this pivotal immunological step.”
Yang added that Stribling is so proficient at research that he functions more like an advanced graduate student than an undergraduate.
“I have him leading a team of other undergraduate students, which is something I usually reserve for my graduate students and postdoctoral associates,” Yang said.
Stribling, a native of Tampa, Fla., is one of 282 students to be selected this year as a Goldwater Scholar, and one of 12 selected from Florida. The award aims to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields.
“The award required a proposal for a research project that I will conduct in the future,” Stribling said. “Applying for the Goldwater Scholarship has provided me with a great opportunity to form a much stronger sense of the reasons that I am motivated to pursue science. The application process has helped me to develop my ability to express ideas and has really helped me to grow as a person.”
Stribling acknowledged the assistance he received from the university’s High Performance Computing Division in conducting his research. He also acknowledged Florida State’s Office of National Fellowships for assisting him during the application process.
In addition to his studies, Stribling is a performer in Florida State’s Flying High Circus and is a founding member of Killavil, a traditional Irish music group.