UW News

December 12, 2022

UW’s Daniel Chen, ’22, named prestigious Marshall Scholar

UW News

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Daniel Chen, class of 2022, was selected as a Marshall Scholar.University of Washington

University of Washington alumnus Daniel Guorui Chen, Class of 2022, has been named a Marshall Scholar, one of the highest honors available to college graduates in the U.S. Chen plans to attend the University of Cambridge.

“I was so surprised when I learned I was awarded. This is such an honor,” Chen, 19, said. “The Marshall Scholarship is a great example of taking U.S. and U.K. perspectives and putting them together to work and discover and push for better health, not just for these two countries, but for the world at large.”

Founded by an act of the British Parliament in 1953, the awards pay all expenses for up to three years of study at a British university of the student’s choice. Marshall scholarships finance young Americans of high ability to study for a degree in the United Kingdom. This year, 40 scholars were selected to pursue graduate study in any field at a UK institution.

Chen, a Sammamish, Wash., native, graduated with majors in informatics (data science) and microbiology. He plans to pursue a Master of Philosophy degree at Cambridge, delving deeper into biological sciences and genomic medicine. Eventually, Chen hopes to earn an M.D. and a Ph.D., to become a physician-scientist and professor conducting research while practicing in clinic.

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Daniel ChenUniversity of Washington

Chen is the first UW student to achieve this honor since Havana McElvaine was selected in 2018. Prior to that, UW’s Jeffrey Eaton was selected in 2008. This year, 951 students from across the United States applied for the scholarship. Only four candidates from the San Francisco region, which includes Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Northern California and most of Nevada, were selected.

“Daniel’s rigorous undergraduate scholarship on topical and complex medical issues is exemplary,” said Ed Taylor, vice provost and dean of Undergraduate Academic Affairs. “This recognition will provide a wonderful opportunity for Daniel, who is already dedicated to the medical sciences, to deepen and extend his scholarship.”


Read more about Chen here.


Chen arrived at the UW when he was 14, through the Robinson Center for Young Scholars Early Entrance Program. During his undergraduate career, he conducted research at UW and at some of the most prestigious research labs in the Puget Sound region, including  the ISB, Institute for Systems Biology and the Fred Hutch Cancer Center. Chen’s research examines how and why some people contract long COVID and what’s happening at the cellular level. He also conducted single-cell research on pancreatic cancer and COVID-19 patients, and gained experience in bacterial cloning and genetic engineering while working in a medical microbiology lab.

“Daniel is an amazing young scientist,” said James R. Heath, president of the ISB and one of Chen’s mentors. Chen was the second author out of more than 50 on a research paper, “Multi-Omics Resolves a Sharp Disease-State Shift between Mild and Moderate COVID-19,” published in 2020 in Cell.


For media: B-roll and soundbites of Chen available here.


Greg Hay, an assistant teaching professor in the Information School, asked Chen to be a teaching assistant after he exceled during an introductory class. Later, Hay tapped Chen to lead a project supervising both undergraduate and graduate students.

“Daniel has a superpower processor,” Hay said. “His mind is always active, engaged and blasting forward at double-speed. He is fearless, focused and curious.”

While in Britain, Chen plans to study with Sarah Teichmann of the Sanger Institute to acquire an understanding of the computational biology toolkit. He said he’s looking forward to immersing himself in British culture and learning from people who are different from him. He believes that a diversity of thought is what “drives knowledge forward.”

“When we come from different backgrounds and perspectives, we can work together to chip away at the truth,” Chen said. “Together we can figure out rich solutions.”

Chen was the recipient of the Goldwater Scholarship, Mary Gates Research Scholarship, Microbiology Undergraduate Research Award and Levinson Emerging Scholar Award. He received the Microbiology Erling J. Ordal Award for best senior thesis, a Washington Research Foundation Fellowship and a Microbiology Summer Interdisciplinary Research Fellowship. In 2022, he was named to the Husky 100. Chen, who identifies as LGBTQIA+, also co-founded Huskies for Neurodiversity, a student group that promotes visibility and acceptance of neurodiversity at the UW and beyond.

For more information, contact Jackson Holtz at jjholtz@uw.edu.