Representing Science's best and brightest: Danny Huang

The Faculty of Science is home to some of the best and brightest minds in Canada, including new grad Danny Huang.

Kristy Condon - 5 June 2015

Born in China, Huang immigrated to Canada at a young age and discovered an early interest in science. He first came to the University of Alberta as a high school intern in pediatric oncology. "I was exposed to the robust research scene on campus and became fascinated with understanding the complexities of human biology," he says. "Continuing my studies as an undergraduate student at the U of A was a natural extension of my positive experiences."

Huang went on to pursue an honors biochemistry degree with a focus on structural biology. Committed to an interdisciplinary education, he has conducted undergraduate research in fields spanning cell biology, biochemistry and epidemiology, and has already co-coauthored four publications during the course of his degree. He was awarded Best in Fair for his research at the 2011 Canada Wide Science Fair and represented Canada as one of 90 finalists at the 2012 worldwide Google Science Fair.

No stranger to awards, Huang is the 2015 recipient of all three of the biggest honours awarded to a graduating science student: the Faculty of Science Lieutenant-Governors Gold Medal , the Governor General's Silver Medal, and the Rt. Honourable CD Howe Memorial Fellowship . "I attribute my successes to my support system-my mentors, friends, and family," he says. "I have been fortunate to have individuals in my life who collectively challenge me to stay open-minded, to be resourceful, to face failures, and to go beyond my comfort zone."

Outside of academia, Danny has led initiatives to promote science learning for Alberta students and to foster mental wellness on campus. His community contributions have been recognized with a number of awards including the 3M National Student Fellowship, Youth in Motion Canada's Top 20 Under 20, and the University of Alberta's prestigious Peter Lougheed Scholarship.

He founded Kids Help Phone Student Committee, and is the co-founder and president of the TeamUP Science outreach program. "In my second year, a couple of friends and I wanted to share the cool experiments we do in science courses with the community," says Huang. The result was TeamUP Science, a student group with a mission to cultivate scientific imagination, curiosity and leadership abilities of youth, especially in under-represented populations.

In devising experiments and planning lecture talks, Huang learned how science education works from the other end of the classroom. "The process, though stressful at times, was ultimately fun and rewarding," he reflects.

His advice to other students is simple-keep your eyes on the prize. "I have always valued the importance of keeping tangible goals in mind. Whether it's shopping for Christmas gifts or doing biochemical research, I try to break a seemingly insurmountable task into meaningful and achievable parts-this fends off procrastination and helps you stay motivated."

As an aspiring clinician-scientist, Danny will be attending the Stanford School of Medicine in Fall 2015.