BME Senior Receives Merrill P. Freeman Award
Daniel Robert Wieland is graduating summa cum laude from the Honors College with a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology, and biomedical engineering with a minor in math. Born and raised in Tucson, Wieland was interested in medicine and research from an early age after witnessing the debilitating effects of disease on friends and family. The Merrill P. Freeman Medal is named in honor of Merrill Freeman, who served the University of Arizona as a regent and chancellor. Qualifications for the award include outstanding character.
As a freshman, Wieland joined Jacob Schwartz's lab in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, researching proteins responsible for diseases such as ALS and Ewing sarcoma, a pediatric bone cancer. He has two manuscripts in progress. For his work, he has received a Barry Goldwater Scholarship and a Galileo Circle Scholarship, as well as an Excellence in the Biological Sciences Award. Additionally, he conducted epidemiological research with Dr. Chien-Hsiang Weng of Brown University, with whom Wieland has two co-first author publications and is currently writing another. Under Dennis Discher, he conducted virtual bioinformatics cancer research at the University of Pennsylvania.
Wieland serves as president of the University of Arizona chapter of HOSA, formerly called the Health Occupations Students of America, and as an officer of the Arizona Global Health Project, which sets up biannual temporary free clinics in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico. He volunteered in the emergency room at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson, recruiting patients for clinical trials. For his senior design project, he worked on a way to visualize sequencing data to diagnose secondary infections in intubated COVID-19 patients. As a chemistry and biochemistry ambassador and mentor, he helped first-year students transition into college and assisted the department in its events. As an undergraduate biology research ambassador, he assisted others in applying for research opportunities on campus. He was awarded the Biochemistry Outstanding Student Award for his respective class each year.
Upon graduation, Wieland plans to enroll in a dual MD-PhD program with the goal of treating patients both at the bedside and through the lab.