Notre Dame Biology student recognized for outstanding contributions to science

Author: Sarah Craig


Graduating Biology major, Diane Choi, is being honored with multiple academic achievement awards as the Class of 2016 prepares for graduation. Choi is the recipient of three major undergraduate awards for her work while a science student at Notre Dame.  

The awards include the:

  • Outstanding Biology Student Leader Award from the Department of Biological Sciences recognizing “a senior Biology major who has made outstanding contributions, through leadership and service, to advance the interests of other students in the department;”
  • Mr. and Mrs. Frank McDonald Undergraduate Research Award, also from the Department of Biological Sciences, recognizing, “the senior Biology major who has made outstanding intellectual contributions to their field of study and has been an exemplary undergraduate researcher;” and
  • Dean’s Research Award given by Dean Mary Galvin in the College of Science.

While a student at Notre Dame Choi was mentored by faculty from the Eck Institute for Global Health who also are members of the Department of Biological Sciences, including Nicole Achee, John Grieco, and Michelle Whaley, where she worked on multiple research projects. In October 2015 Choi presented at the 64th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene with her research on the effects of repellent chemicals on mosquito behaviors required for survival and propagation.  Her overall research project, “Effect of Spatial Repellent Exposure on Aedes aegypti Attraction to Oviposition Sites,” builds on existing data regarding the post-exposure effects of spatial repellents on dengue vector blood-feeding, flight, and resting behaviors. 

Cos Jam Event

“Students like Diane only come around a few times in one’s career,” said Grieco, Associate Director of the Eck Institute for Global Health, when speaking about his research collaborations with her over the past three years. “Guiding her as she developed into a solid research scientist is something Notre Dame does extremely well and I am happy to have been a part of that. I am thrilled that I, together with my colleagues at the Eck Institute for Global Health, will have the opportunity to continue working with Diane over the next year as she stays on to help advance some major global health research projects.”

Choi will continue at the University for a one-year assignment as a Research Coordinator in Achee’s laboratory, where she will mentor undergraduates, and develop her own research project.

Speaking about Choi’s new appointment, Achee said, “We are excited to have another year with Diane at Notre Dame in our lab. This is an opportunity for us to explore the various effects of spatial repellents and their impact on vector behavior.”

After her one-year gap year commitment to Notre Dame, she plans to pursue medical school and continue in the area of global health. Choi notes, “I hope that my efforts will contribute to the ongoing efforts of alleviating the global burden of vector-transmitted diseases.”

All three awards will be presented at the annual College of Science Awards Luncheon on May 13, 2016. “I am honored to receive any one, let alone all three, of these awards,” states Choi. “It has been a privilege to have had the chance to work with Drs. Achee, Grieco and Whaley. Their mentorship has allowed me to pursue unique opportunities I don’t think I would have had anywhere else.”

The Eck Institute for Global Health at the University of Notre Dame is a University-wide enterprise that recognizes health as a fundamental human right and endeavors to promote research, training, and service to advance health standards for all people, especially people in low and middle-income countries who are disproportionately impacted by preventable diseases.

Photo: Diane Choi ’16, participating in the University of Notre Dame College of Science Join Annual Meeting 2015.


Originally published by Sarah Craig at on May 05, 2016.