ChBE Student Wins University MedalFor his work in the classroom, the lab and the wider community, Peter DeMuth has been named the 2008 University Medalist. The award, which recognizes a graduating senior who best exemplifies academic distinction, extraordinary character and extracurricular contributions to the university or public communities, was presented at the May 2008 Commencement.
DeMuth, a Towson native who double majored in chemical and biomolecular engineering as well as biochemistry, graduated with a 4.0 grade point average and a reputation for discipline and dedication.
"He has a splendid potential for a future as an engineer or scientist," says professor Sandra Greer, who taught DeMuth in chemical process thermodynamics and served as his advisor. "I judge him to be the best undergraduate student whom I have encountered in my nearly 30 years at the university."
DeMuth began working as a student researcher during his junior year. His senior-year project involved professors from chemistry, biochemistry, mechanical engineering, cell biology, molecular genetics and pharmaceutical science. As part of the interdisciplinary team, DeMuth helped develop nanoparticles that can be used to image and deliver drugs to certain kinds of cells, including cancerous or bacterial cells.
His work led him to be published twice in major research journals, and he is also applying for two patents to protect discoveries concerning porous nanoparticles and the synthesis of fluorescently labeled nanoparticles. The advances could lead to improvements in diagnostic imaging.
Chemistry and biochemistry professor Philip DeShong calls DeMuth a "role model" even for graduate students.
"He works hard, he knows what he is doing, and he is both willing and able to interact with his colleagues in a highly constructive manner," DeShong says, adding that DeMuth teaches others how to use specialized nanoparticle equipment and avoid certain pitfalls in the lab.
DeMuth says he chose Maryland because it offered "limitless" opportunities for driven students seeking a challenge. In addition to his lab commitments, he was a University Honors student, a member of the student-run Navigators Christian Fellowship and a service volunteer on campus and in the Baltimore region.
He heads to Massachusetts Institute of Technology this fall to begin a doctoral program in biological engineering. He hopes to forge a career as a university researcher.
"I’m excited about investing my time in the growth of the entire field," DeMuth says. "One of the best ways to do that is through teaching."
"I judge him to be the best undergraduate student whom I have encountered in my nearly 30 years at the university."
Published June 4, 2008