School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, NSF/NASA Center for Chemical Evolution
Georgia Institute of Technology
A productive researcher whose work recently graced the cover of Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry, David Fialho works to elucidate the chemical features and prebiotic processes that governed the formation of the earliest genetic polymers, but his commitment to sharing science extends beyond publications in journals. Committed to a career in academics, David has started early by delivering research seminars at Primarily Undergraduate Institutions, including Kennesaw and Clayton State Universities. He shared candid details about his graduate research experience, underscoring how making meaningful progress in science could be an accessible endeavor to the undergraduates in attendance. David’s background is unusual; he worked as an artist before starting with the NSF/NASA Center for Chemical Evolution (CCE) and has leveraged that experience to share important work with young audiences. Over the past four years, David has drawn caricatures of kids as scientists at the Atlanta Science Festival’s Exploration Expos. More recently, he contributed original digital paintings to the CCE’s mural on the origin of life. The 8’ x 24’ work will soon be posted at Sequoyah Middle School in Dekalb county, Georgia. David is not only committed to the scientific education of young people, he serves in multiple capacities to develop his peers and undergraduates. He has led abstract review for AbGradCon 2018 and has served as the 2017-2018 Social Chair of the CCE Student Leadership and Outreach Council. All of this is in addition to his mentorship of multiple successful undergraduate researchers in the Hud Lab at Georgia Tech. This spring, he presented work at the 2018 Georgia Tech Astrobiology Colloquium. David’s service to the chemistry and astrobiology is carried out with passion, and, personally, I am eager to see how much more he will be able to offer these communities as his career develops.