Student hopes to use knowledge gained from interdisciplinary research to change the world

June 18, 2024

Daniel Jeremiah

For someone who is always curious about how things work, Daniel Jeremiah ‘26, finds that biochemistry lets you explore that curiosity and provides more knowledge about what makes the world function at a very infinitesimal level. 

The biochemistry major and biology minor from Kaduna, Nigeria, said that “with knowledge, comes power to make things happen and to inspire change in the world.” And he intends to do just that.

During his first two years at Albion, Jeremiah has taken classes across the liberal arts curriculum and contributed to a diverse range of projects with real-world implications. 

This summer, he is working alongside Professor of Chemistry Cliff Harris on a Foundation for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity (FURSCA) project which seeks to synthesize enantiomeric amino alcohols using a catalyst. “Simply put, we’re basically trying to make a process that can manufacture left-handed versions of a class of chemicals,” he explained.

The impacts of this research are far-reaching, according to Harris. “We are trying to build a better mousetrap,” Harris said. “Beta-blockers, a.k.a. Beta-amino alcohols, are one of the most important and common classes of drugs known because they regulate blood pressure and heart rate. There are many methods for making these drugs. If successful, we will introduce a new method that is more selective, less toxic, and cheaper than currently available technology.”

research notesA typical lab day for Jeremiah actually starts outside the lab. “Before I come down to the lab, I review my lab notes from the previous session and evaluate what I need to do for the day. Perhaps work up a reaction or start an entirely new procedure,” he explained. “Once I have that figured out, I then begin to set up my hood for the next experiment (if need be) and begin to take measurements, record, and start the new experiment.”

Daniel Jeremiah computerDuring the week, Jeremiah shuffles between the advanced synthetic lab on the third floor of the Science Complex and the math lounge on the second floor as he works on reactions or other projects. A good day, he says, is having up to five hours of focused lab time—no small task for any student, let alone a student with Jeremiah’s packed schedule. 

Making the most of his Albion experience

Jeremiah has become a master at maximizing his time out of class by setting up his experiments for the day and letting them run overnight if need be, taking data, evaluating, and making adjustments, or repeating the experiment, if necessary. His ability to stay organized allows him to pursue a variety of individual and college projects that are setting him on the path to a career as a biochemist.

Since spring, he’s been working on a solo project to develop a large language model to efficiently break down complex research papers into small, understandable chunks. “Think of it as an app that will take any research paper and basically summarize it in ways you will understand,” Jeremiah explained. He hopes to have a minimum viable product by late July.

Last year, Jeremiah was part of the interdisciplinary team from the college working with the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi to investigate the macroinvertebrate composition in the tribe’s wild rice fields. For his part, Jeremiah constructed a sustainable prototype of an insect trap in the college’s Innovation Lab that the team used to collect samples and evaluate the ecology of the rice beds.


“I believe that by actively participating in research at Albion College, I am setting the tone for my future career and hence developing a voice which I will use to speak during the application process,” Jeremiah said.

He’s also a member of the Wilson Institute for Medicine, the James L. Curtis Institute, the African and Caribbean Student Union, president of the International Student Union, and a student ambassador for Extern, a firm which turns company projects into unique remote externships for students. And he still finds time to exercise at the Dow, practice video editing and making short- form content, and playing video games.

After graduation, he plans to gain  experience by working in the pharmaceutical industry, and ultimately, pursuing a Ph.D. in biochemistry.