Undergraduate Academic Affairs

March 26, 2021

UW junior awarded selective Goldwater Scholarship

Undergraduate Academic Affairs

Congratulations to University of Washington junior Daniel Chen, whom the Goldwater Foundation honored with its undergraduate scholarship for students studying the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering. Chen, who is majoring in informatics and microbiology, is one of 410 undergraduate students selected for the award from a pool of 1,256 students nominated by 438 institutions across the country.

Photo of Daniel Chen

UW junior Daniel Chen was selected for the competitive Goldwater Scholarship. (Photo taken following public health guidelines at the time.)

Goldwater Scholarships are granted to sophomores and juniors who show exceptional promise and plan to pursue research careers in math, engineering or the natural sciences. These scholarships award up to $7,500 a year to help cover costs associated with tuition, mandatory fees, books, room and board.

Photo of Daniel Chen at Pratt Lake

Chen on a snowy hike above Pratt Lake in Washington.

Chen’s interest in challenging himself can be seen through his academic choices: In addition to majoring in two disciplines, informatics and microbiology, he is pursuing departmental honors in microbiology. Chen has previously been awarded the Levinson Emerging Scholars award and the Mary Gates Endowment Research Scholarship, and is also listed on the annual Dean’s List.

He began his college path early, entering the UW after middle school through the Early Entrance Program. To balance out his rigorous academic and research work, Chen enjoys hiking in nature preserves and crocheting amigurumi animals, hobbies that suit the environment of his hometown of Sammamish, WA.

“This news is simply wonderful,” says Undergraduate Academic Affairs Vice Provost and Dean Ed Taylor. “Through his involvement in undergraduate research, Daniel has shown a dedication to furthering science and understanding as well as to the purpose of making people’s lives better. As a University community, we couldn’t be more proud of him. I extend my warmest congratulations to Daniel as well as his faculty mentors and others who have supported him on his journey so far.”

Infographic from Daniel Chen's research paper
As an undergraduate, Chen was one of the co-authors of the research paper, “Multi-Omics Resolves a Sharp Disease-State Shift between Mild and Moderate COVID-19.”

Chen currently conducts research under Dr. Yapeng Su and Professor Jim Heath in the Heath lab at the Institute for Systems Biology. His research is focused on using the single-cell multi-omic paradigm to analyze COVID-19 peripheral blood mononuclear cells to identify the disease state effects of SARS-CoV-2 on patient immune systems. Such research has also branched out into investigating heterogenous patient responses to COVID-19 in convalescence along with interrogation of patient epigenomes to identify the early-stage immune cell subpopulations responsible for humoral immunity formation and the epigenomic changes that may guide such. In combination with Chen’s previous research investigating melanoma subpopulations using single-cell transcriptome (scRNA-seq) and epigenome (scATAC-seq) data, his current research projects have continued to push and develop his passion for biomedical informatics particularly when applied to clinically relevant problems.

After his undergraduate studies, Chen intends to pursue an M.D.-Ph.D. centered on leveraging computational resources and advances to solve human medical challenges such as cancer and infectious diseases. He particularly looks forward to identifying best practices and applications for such research to develop more accessible medical solutions for the given problem. He eventually hopes to pursue a faculty position at a university to conduct translational research in biomedical-informatic oriented fields.

For more information, contact Robin Chang, director of the Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships and Awards, at robinc@uw.edu.