For Immediate Release — Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2006


Mary E. McCrank

Media Relations Officer

(585) 245-5516

SUNY Geneseo's Daniel Welchons garners honorable mention in USA TODAY's 2006 All-USA College Academic Team

GENESEO, N.Y. — State University of New York at Geneseo senior Daniel R. Welchons of Clinton, N.Y., has received an honorable mention in the national USA TODAY 2006 All-USA College Academic Team program. The recognition is announced in today's edition of the newspaper.

Welchons, who in 2004 received a national Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for his achievements and potential in the field of biology, was recognized by the national publication for his "stellar accomplishment," wrote Tracy Wong Briggs, coordinator of the All-USA Academic Team, in a letter to Welchons announcing the news.

This year, there were more than 600 nominees from four-year colleges nationwide, and the newspaper's judges selected 20 students each for the first, second and third teams, and 23 students as honorable mentions.

Welchons, a 22-year-old biochemistry major in the process of selecting which medical school he will attend in the fall, plans to conduct research in the field of oncology or neurology with a special emphasis on Alzheimer's disease. He intends to earn his M.D. and then most likely his Ph.D.

"Receiving this award is nice, but I am happier about Geneseo being recognized," said Welchons. "Our school truly is a special place, and I am amazed by the intellect of the professors and students at Geneseo."

Welchons has conducted invaluable undergraduate research while at Geneseo, said his professors. He worked with Assistant Chemistry Professor Kazushige Yokoyama on a protein folding project which is based on a protein that is a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. The main purpose of the research is to try and gain a better understanding of protein folding dynamics and ultimately be able to quantitatively define the folding of the protein.

His professors were thrilled to hear about Welchons' latest recognition.

"I am very fortunate to witness Dan Welchons' successful career at Geneseo since he came to this campus. His tremendous effort, wide experiences and extreme achievements fully deserve to have a national recognition," said Yokoyama. "On the top of his marvelous academic record, his great personality is something that I need to mention to describe him. Dan is a person who can make a working environment be joyful and stimulating, with the work driven by his sincere heart."

Welchons also tutors students in one of Associate Chemistry Professor Wendy Knapp Pogozelski's classes.

"It has been a pleasure to have Dan as a student. He truly enjoys learning for its own sake and his achievements in the classroom and the research arena reflect this. His work with Dr. Kazu Yokoyama in using gold nanoparticles to study protein aggregation is very cutting-edge and could be fundamental to our understanding of protein misfolding disorders," said Pogozelski. "Dan is also known for his running (track and cross-country), for his excellent tutoring of chemistry students, and for his dry and clever sense of humor. We're going to miss him around here."

This year, Welchons is a hurdler/sprinter on the indoor and outdoor track team and serves as president of Gamma Sigma Epsilon, the chemistry honor society. He graduated from Clinton Central High School in 2002.