After an exhausting two days of interviews, UC Berkeley senior Daniel Price was stunned and practically speechless Saturday night when he learned that the venture he had embarked on nearly half a year ago had paid off — he had been named a 2013 Rhodes Scholar.
Price, who is one of 32 undergraduates from across the country and the only one from UC Berkeley, was selected for this year’s class of Rhodes Scholars. He is planning to graduate in May with degrees in bioengineering and electrical engineering and computer science along with a minor in physics. Price will receive a full scholarship to pursue a graduate degree at Oxford University for the next two or three years.
He said he did not even know about the scholarship until last summer.
“Like everyone else going into their senior year, I was looking at what I wanted to do after graduation,” Price said. “I knew I wanted to study internationally, but I didn’t have the funds for it myself, and the Rhodes Scholarship gave me both.”
Daniel Price’s father, Eric Price, said his son was shaking with excitement after learning he had won.
“Daniel really downplayed everything because he didn’t want people to get excited,” Eric said. “The magnitude of this award didn’t sink in for me until I started receiving numerous phone calls and emails from different media outlets wanting to know more about Daniel.”
Eric said his son has had a mathematical mind ever since he was “a nerdy little 3-year-old.” Carrying a calculator and tape measure wherever he went, Daniel wanted to quantify everything, according to his father, who added that his house was strewn with puzzles, none of which his son left unsolved.
Daniel Price currently works in the Berkeley Imaging Systems Laboratory, directed by campus associate professor of bioengineering Steven Conolly. As a sophomore, Price enrolled in Conolly’s Bioengineering 101 class — a class generally taken by juniors and seniors — and was among the top students in the class that semester.
Conolly invited Price to work in his lab, and Price started research there in June 2011. Since then, Price has helped develop a new body-scanning method known as magnetic particle imaging, which involves injecting iron oxide contrast agents into the bloodstream and is a safer alternative than traditional imaging scanners like X-rays for people with chronic kidney disease, according to Conolly.
During his time at UC Berkeley, Price also worked as a study group leader for the campus’s Bioengineering Honor Society. Price spent this past summer at Johns Hopkins University researching medical robotics.
Price, who will begin studying bioengineering at Oxford in October, said he aspires to create medical devices and medical robotics to address global health care needs.
“I didn’t want to make things that were just cool,” Price said. “I wanted them to have real-world applications as well. I wanted to know that my work could make a real difference in patients’ lives.”
Pooja Mhatre covers research and ideas. Contact her at [email protected].