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ASU Dissertation Defense Brings Home the ARCS Mission

Posted on Thursday, June 23, 2011

At the ARCS Awards Dinner attendees receive a great overview of how our scholars intend to push the frontiers of human knowledge. However, if you have the honor of attending a scholar’s dissertation defense, you understand how far they pushed the frontier. My husband and I had the honor of supporting Daniel Farrell, a biophysics PhD candidate from ASU.  Please see his special e-mail below that invited us to attend his dissertation defense. It warms the soul to know that our donation helped him in his enormous undertaking. Daniel’s defense was flawless, and his findings have huge implications for protein research. His intelligence, wit, passion and enthusiasm came through clearly. There is no doubt that Daniel will do great good as he goes into the world of his post doc and beyond. We are extremely grateful that ARCS provides a vehicle to support such deserving young men and women.

As lead author in a publication, Daniel came up with a geometric targeting method to computerize the folding and unfolding of proteins faster and more efficiently then other methods. Proteins are the basis of life, and this ability to examine their atomic pathways via computerization will lead to breakthroughs in the understanding of diseases and cures.

It was a delight to meet Daniel’s wonderful parents, Jill and Daniel. It was immediately clear how Daniel was able to achieve so much after meeting them. Ironically, we lived very near the Farrell’s when we were in the Washington D.C. area 17 years ago, but it was ARCS almost 3000 miles away that brought us together.

Hi, Diane,

This is Dan Farrell, the ASU student that you supported a few years back with an ARCS scholarship. Although it has taken way longer than I wanted, it is now finally time for me to graduate!  I will be turning in my dissertation in about a week and a half, and then 2 weeks later I defend my dissertation. The project I've been working on for so long finally worked out, and I have one accepted publication, with another paper submitted and awaiting review, and a third that is in preparation.

Also, I found a great postdoctoral research position with Ken Dill at UC San Francisco, a renowned expert in protein research and other theoretical biophysics topics. The research sounds very exciting and I can't wait to move on to new things!

I would like to invite you and Tom to the public portion of my dissertation defense, Thursday, Sep 2, 1:00-2:00 pm. Let me know if you think you might be able to make it!