Prof. Daisuke Kihara named Showalter University Faculty Scholar


Prof. Daisuke Kihara

After receiving his University Faculty Scholar Award in the spring, another heaping helping of recognition was placed upon Daisuke Kihara, associate professor of Biological Sciences and Computer Science.

Kihara was named a Showalter Foundation scholar in 2013. His new Showalter University Faculty Scholar title comes with $10,000 a year for five years.

The Ralph W. and Grace M. Showalter Trust was established in 1975 to support research in the areas of:

  • Environmental research including air and water quality
  • Research in the field of biochemistry and molecular biology
  • Research in the area of disease prevention, diagnosis, progression, treatment and control
  • Research in the area of new technologies for food production, preservation, distribution and safety
  • Research the area of medical and biophysical instrumentation, including the analysis of large data sets.

That last point was why Kihara was selected. His research focuses on the growing field of bioinformatics.

“The interdisciplinary work between biology and computer science is recognized by the Showalter Foundation,” Kihara explained. “Bioinformatics is about identifying functions of biological molecules and revealing underlined structures between different types of biological data. It is now being applied more in clinical studies, too, like in personalized medicine. Instead of providing the general drug molecule for everyone, it’s customized medicine and drugs based on the individual’s genome sequences. Those need a lot of data analysis. There’s lots of data.”

Kihara is honored to be in the Showalter Trust stable of scholars. He plans on using the extra funding for a 3D printer and other equipment that can help elevate and illustrate his work.

“It allows me to try new things,” Kihara said. “I’m working on protein structure, developing computational methods for predicting protein structures, functions, and protein docking. … It allows me to purchase new equipment like a 3D printer or fund undergrad students during summer, which were not budgeted in grants in federal agencies.”  

Other Showalter faculty include Kinam Park, Showalter Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Showalter Prof. Charles Bouman, who teaches and researches in Electrical and Computer Engineering as well as Biomedical Engineering.

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