Every year the biology department gives out an award to the Outstanding Graduating Senior. With a number of great candidates, this year there was a tie: Brian Blankenship and Tanner Hoog were given this honor, and they certainly deserved it.
Blankenship earned this award for his heavy involvement in and out of the lab. According to his undergraduate research advisor, Dr. Paul Durham, “Brian has worked as the equivalent of a second year graduate student for the past year in the lab – even though he is a senior undergraduate.”
Blankenship has also worked on ensuring other students are as prepared as he is by sharing his knowledge about cryosectioning, immunostaining, microscopy and behavioral studies.
Though his time-consuming family commitments may have deterred others, he still worked diligently in the lab as well as academically, even volunteering to come in on weekends to assist with experiments.
Blankenship currently has been awarded pre-admission to the University of Missouri’s School of Medicine, where he is a Lester Bryant Scholar.
One of Hoog’s claims to fame is his research grant though the national Tri-Beta Biological honor society. He used this grant to research congenital heart defects in mice in the lab of his undergraduate research advisor, Dr. Ryan Udan.
He was accepted into the SMART summer internship program at Baylor University’s College of Medicine. To be competitive for this opportunity, he taught himself OPT imaging and image processing. He co-wrote a book chapter on lightsheet imaging of mouse embryos and is an excellent problem solver. Angela Plank, a biology lab supervisor comments that one favorite recollection of Hoog is when he was hired for the prep lab: “He was set to report for the first time on a particular day. As it turned out, he was in the hospital (that day) with a collapsed lung but e-mailed me his apology for missing work!” Along with being accomplished, Hoog is courteous!
After his schooling is complete, Hoog plans to attend graduate school and eventually become a professor.
Well done, Brian and Tanner!
Read more about Hoog’s research with congenital heart defects.