Outstanding Graduate Student
The Outstanding Graduate Student Award is given annually to graduate students who have distinguished records within their programs, shown leadership qualities on campus and worked for the improvement of our College.
James Davis earned his bachelor's degree in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology in 2012, completing his senior thesis with David Schooley. As a graduate student, James was given the freedom to explore in the Jeff Harper lab, and he found a unique niche in lipid biochemistry. His academic evolution into lipids is even more impressive because Harper’s lab is not known for any expertise in this field. James became his own mentor, and he excelled. His most recent manuscript submission integrates his research on plant lipid flippases into a new model of general importance to the field of membrane structure and biogenesis. His new model to explain his results has relevance to both plants and animals, and creates a framework for developing new testable hypotheses. Without pausing to even finalize his dissertation, James has already launched experiments to start testing some of his favorite new ideas. He has done what we hope all graduate students will do – he became an independent scientist and created new knowledge. And that new knowledge is already being used to guide future experiments. James says, "Don’t forget to wear sunscreen. And floss. And not destroy city hall."