Damien Downes, doctoral candidate in genetics, Australia, was awarded the $17,000 Alvin and RosaLee Sarachek Predoctoral Honors Fellowship in Molecular Biology.
Downes received his bachelor's degree with honors at the University of Melbourne. He will graduate with his doctorate in May. Downes' research focuses on the way protein-protein and protein-DNA interaction turn genes on and off in response to different environmental stimuli. Richard Todd, assistant professor of plant pathology, is Downes' major professor.
He will use the fellowship to relocate to Oxford, U.K., where he plans to pursue a postdoctoral position. Downes also plans to attend conferences in 2015 and 2016 to further his research contributions.