Daniel Chen ’22, has been named a Marshall Scholarship recipient. Daniel graduated last spring with majors in microbiology and informatics, and will be pursuing a master’s degree in biological sciences and genomic medicine and conducting genomic medicine research at the Sanger Institute at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. He entered the University of Washington through the Robinson Center's Transition School at the age of 14.


Originally established in 1953, the Marshall Scholarships finance distinguished young Americans for study in the U.K. This year 40 recipients from across the U.S., out of 951 applicants, were awarded scholarships for 2023.

“I was so surprised when I learned I was awarded,” shared Chen. “This is such an honor. It represents an opportunity to learn and gain a unique perspective in science.” The Marshall Scholarship covers university fees, living expenses, annual book and thesis grants, research and daily travel grants along with fares to and from the United States.

Reflecting on the award, Chen said, “I think the Marshall Scholarship is a great example of taking U.S. and U.K. perspectives, and putting them together to work and discover and push for better health, not just for these two countries, but for the world at large. “

The Marshall Scholarship was designed to support future leaders while helping scholars gain an understanding of contemporary Britain. As a dedicated researcher and scholar, Chen intends to work with Dr. Sarah Teichmann at the Sanger Institute and learn from her library of experience to apply new skills into his research of autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases.

“All of us at the UW are so proud of and happy for Daniel being selected as a Marshall Scholar,” says Ed Taylor, vice provost and dean of Undergraduate Academic Affairs. “Daniel’s rigorous undergraduate scholarship on topical and complex medical issues is exemplary and highlights how UW undergraduates deepen and connect their academic interests to research for the public good. This recognition will provide a wonderful opportunity for Daniel, who is already dedicated to the medical sciences, to extend his scholarship.”

Chen is no stranger to prestigious awards. As an undergraduate at the UW, he has received the Goldwater Scholarship, Mary Gates Research Scholarship, Microbiology Undergraduate Research Award and Levinson Emerging Scholar Award. In 2022, Chen was named to the Husky 100, an annual program recognizing only 100 UW undergraduate and graduate students who are “making the most of their time at the UW.” 

Originally from Sammamish, Wash., Chen arrived at the UW at 14, through the Robinson Center for Young Scholars Early Entrance Program. Majoring in microbiology and informatics (data science), Chen spent his senior year conducting single-cell research on pancreatic cancer and COVID-19 patients. Chen worked with mentor Jim Heath, professor and president of the Institute for Systems Biology, on a large COVID paper identifying factors to measure when and before a patient is diagnosed with long COVID. 

“Daniel is an amazing young scientist,” said Dr. Heath, speaking to Chen being both the second-author for the December 2020 acute COVID study and co-first-author for the March 2022 long COVID study. “On top of that, he is also a concert level pianist,” shared Dr. Heath. 

Chen looks at his research as being led by questions, asking,  “Why do people get severe COVID? How do we have protective immunity? What did those cells look like?” He identifies the second part of his current work as diving further into those questions, seeing what is special about cells and phenotypes, and looking at  “what leads them to be created or contracted or to later go away.” 

“Daniel is one of my most striking students ever,” shared Greg Hay, assistant teaching professor for the UW Information School. “He has a superpower processor; his mind is always active, engaged and blasting forward at double-speed,” he said on Chen’s participation at 17 in a Microsoft project as a team lead managing both undergraduate and graduate students. “He is fearless, focused and curious.” 

Chen has worked in a BSL-2 medical microbiology lab, assisted in the Heath Lab (ISB) and Greenberg/Gottardo Labs at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, researched under Dr. Yapeng Su on melanoma patients and conducted research under Dr. Fosheng Hsu in the Mougous Lab at the UW while gaining experience in bacterial cloning and genetic engineering. 

“I am really thankful for the people around me, both in the lab and my friends,” Chen said, “To be supported in both pursuing opportunities as they arise, and in knowing when to rest.” Chen aspires to be an academic-medicine professor working in classrooms, research labs and practicing in clinics. Chen, who identifies as LGBTQIA+, enjoys hiking in Washington’s nature preserves, crocheting amigurumi animals and playing the piano. 

Chen looks forward to his upcoming U.K. adventure, stating, “I have always loved community and the diverse perspectives it can bring through connection. The Marshall Scholarship provides me the means to build connections with scientific communities in the UK, and I believe these will be key to long-term collaborations that push forward science and health for all.”  


You can read more about Daniel on UW News, UW Undergraduate Academic Affairs, King 5, GeekWire, and the Marshall Scholarship Website.