Dam, Talaga Win Bhakta Rath Research Award
Congratulations to Melanie Talaga and Tarun Dam (chem) for winning the 2016 Bhakta Rath Award. The award is given to an exceptional doctoral student and advisor pair who has made a difference with their research.
The two study the biomechanics of glycoproteins—or the behavior of what Dam call "candy-coated" molecules. This research is a body of work including both cancer assay research—as described in this video and news story from last fall—as well as the discovery of molecular principles that could help drug development.
"Here we have shown the power of biophysical techniques in revealing the 'difficult-to-detect' behavior of molecules" Dam explains, adding that in science the process is never over.
"No discovery is final, discovery is a journey rather than a destination. As our technology becomes more sophisticated everyday, tomorrow will certainly add more to today's discovery"
For Talaga, excitement for the unknown inspired her to pursue research. She says Dam's enthusiasm is contagious.
"I did not expect that pursuing a doctoral degree could be so interesting and exciting," she says.
"The research doesn't feel like work when you enjoy what you are doing and look forward to coming to lab each day." She adds that knowing her work lays the foundation for future cancer detection and drug development is also inspiring. She says her graduate career and winning the award "has exceeded my expectations many times."