One of science’s most fascinating endeavors has been the enhancement of the human body and mind. For centuries, we have studied both, in hopes of attaining a new level of human evolution and even in hopes of conquering death itself.
Isaac Kresse, a chemistry and computer engineering student at Northeastern University, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, which he will use to study the role of chaperone proteins in age-related diseases such as Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. Kresse has been fascinated with life’s existential questions ever since he was 6 years old and has now chosen a path that could lead to all the answers he’s been searching for.
Currently a senior at Northeastern University, he will be using his Fulbright at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Germany to study the role of chaperone proteins in age-related diseases. He will spend a year studying the physical process by which proteins transition from a long, linear strand of amino acids to their final three-dimensional shape.
“Germany is a really interesting place to study science because it has such a strong history,” he said.
“It was home to a plethora of scientists who have advanced physics and chemistry: Heisenberg, Planck, Schrödinger, Einstein. So it’s exciting to be there and be in that academic environment.” He then plans on enrolling in a doctoral program at Rockefeller University in New York City, where he hopes to continue studying the relationship between neurodegenerative disease and the incorrect folding of a protein that produces inactive or toxic proteins that malfunction.
He hopes to answer some of life’s long-researched notions such as-
- How does a mass of molecules become a breathing, thinking, human being?
- How do all the molecular systems work together?
- What happens on the molecular level to make us sick and die?
Kresse was among nine Fulbright scholars from Northeastern who were celebrated by President Joseph E. Aoun at the Academic Honors Convocation last week. The annual ceremony recognizes students and faculty who have received prestigious awards for scholarship, research, or teaching over the past year.