Chemical engineering grad student Kallmyer is Brown Graduate Fellow

Nathaniel Kallmyer, a fourth-year Ph.D. chemical engineering student at Iowa State, has been named a recipient of a Brown Graduate Fellowship for 2020-21. Across Iowa State University, 14 of the fellowships are awarded each year.

He was selected for the honor after a Chemical and Biological Engineering departmental competition that included an oral presentation showcasing qualifications, thesis research and how funds received from the fellowship would be used to advance Iowa State research in the areas of science and agriculture.

Kallmyer’s major professor is assistant professor and Jack R. and Carol A. Johnson Faculty Fellow Nigel Reuel. His research has involved pioneering the development of a modular optical sensor for hydrolytic enzymes along with low-cost readers and efficient data algorithms to determine kinetic rates. He has also developed a novel sensing platform that exploits surface sensitivity of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT) to detect perturbations to a surrounding “corona” phase. Changes to this phase are communicated by a modulation of fluorescent signal.

His work has led to study of the membranes of potentially harmful bacteria and techniques that provide near-instantaneous feedback while minimizing the risk of human exposure to infectious disease.

In his letter of nomination to the Brown Fellowship Selection Committee, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering Director of Graduate Education Jean-Philippe Tessonnier said,“Nathaniel advances academic excellence at ISU through his exceptional dedication to research, innovation and teaching. These efforts have already had multifaceted impacts on his research group and our department. Nathaniel is one of those rare students who couples genuine curiosity with a deft ability in the lab.”

Tessonnier also pointed to Kallmyer’s commitment to share his research and experience with younger generations of students, particularly with underrepresented minorities in STEM programs. He is involved with the FIRST Robotics (where teams of high school students build industrial-sized robots that must complete a task) and APEX-Engineering outreach programs that host automation outreach activities for high school students and new undergraduates of underrepresented groups.

Kallmyer is listed as author on four ISU research publications, has assisted in teaching two undergraduate courses and has mentored 18 undergraduate students. He came to Iowa State in 2016 after receiving his B.S. degrees in chemical engineering and chemistry from Purdue University.
“I feel honored to have been nominated by the CBE department. This fellowship will open a lot of doors for my cell membrane study,” said Kallmyer.