Skip to main content

Dayna Patterson Receives Winifred Burks-Houck Graduate Leadership Award

28 July 2021
Dayna Patterson

Chemistry graduate student Dayna Patterson was recently named the recipient of the 2021 Winifred Burks-Houck Graduate Leadership Award by the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE). The award was created to highlight outstanding graduate research and leadership and commitment to outreach activities. 

Patterson, who is a fifth-year student in the Weinert group, was recognized for her research on characterizing a class of heme proteins called globin-coupled sensors and for her work as the 2020-2021 president of the Penn State chapter of NOBCChE. She also previously served as the co-president of the Penn State Minority Graduate Students organization, an interviewer for Penn State's Millennium Scholars Program, and was recently named a recipient of the Department of Chemistry Student Leadership Award.

Patterson’s research focuses on characterizing a class of heme proteins called globin-coupled sensors (GCS). GCS proteins are widely distributed in bacteria and contain a heme-sensor domain that is linked to an output domain that can regulate diverse functions such as biofilm formation and degradation. GCS proteins’ heme-sensor domain can sense gaseous ligands (oxygen, nitric oxide, and carbon monoxide) to turn on or turn off the output domains’ function. Patterson uses biochemical, spectroscopic, and structural techniques to understand how these ligands transmit their signals to the output domain.

The Winifred Burks-Houck Graduate Leadership Award was named after Winifred Burks-Houck, an environmental organic chemist and the first female president of NOBCChE. In 2010, NOBCChE established the distinguished lecture, award, and symposium to honor Winifred A. Burks-Houck by highlighting the leadership scientific achievements, creativity, and community service of a NOBCChE-affiliated professional woman and a NOBCChE undergraduate and graduate student working towards a degree in a STEM field.

Please join the Department of Chemistry in congratulating Dayna Patterson on receiving this important award.