Yale undergraduate Colin Hemez (’18) named new Goldwater Scholar

Colin Hemez, a joint biomedical engineering and art history major (Yale ’18), has been selected as a prestigious Barry Goldwater Scholar for 2017. A member of the Farren Isaacs laboratory at Yale’s Systems Biology Institute and Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Hemez was chosen for his research in synthetic biology and genome editing. He is one of three Yale students to receive a Goldwater scholarship this year.

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship Program was created to encourage outstanding students to pursue research careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering and to foster excellence in those fields.

“The Goldwater Scholarship gives me the opportunity to engage with the brilliant scientific research happening on campus in a really meaningful way,” said Hemez. “It’s great to have the support from the Goldwater to be able to pursue my goals while still an undergraduate.”

Since his freshman year Hemez has been working with mentor Farren Isaacs at the Systems Biology Institute at West Campus, where he uses genome editing tools developed by synthetic biologists to help solve challenges in molecular biology and microbiology.

“Colin has made several valuable research contributions that have spanned the development of genome engineering technologies in photosynthetic species and investigating the mechanistic outcome of open codons in organisms that have been recoded. He is a most deserving recipient and I’m delighted that he has been honored with a Goldwater Scholarship”, said Isaacs, who is an associate professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at Yale.

In scholarship spanning West Campus, Hemez has also collaborated at the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, where he was recently part of a Yale undergraduate team conducting scientific analysis of a photographic archive at Princeton University.

Trustees of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation awarded 240 scholarships for the 2017–2018 academic year to undergraduate sophomores and juniors from the United States. Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,286 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by the institutional representatives of 2000 colleges and universities nationwide.

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was authorized by the United States Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman.