Dallin Billings Earns Poster Prize at UCUR

Published: July 20, 2023 | Author: Clare-Estelle Perkins | Read Time: 3 minutes

Dallin Billings in front of presentation displayDallin Billings is currently studying at Southern Utah University with a double major in chemistry and biology from the College of Science. This year he was selected as a winner of the Best in Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics Poster Prize at the 2023 Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research.

Titled, “Investigating the Mechanism of Action of Histidine Ammonia Lyase,” his poster was the research abstract for an inconclusive, ongoing project to identify and extract a specific protein from bacteria. 

“There is still a lot that has to be determined for this project to be finished,” said Billings. “The proposal can be further developed to get more research and results.”

Growing up, reading was a primary hobby for Billings. He named his fascination with the world of fantasy as his inspiration to think and learn about the real world through the sometimes fantastical elements of science. Billings was led to SUU through his love of the outdoors. After a campus tour where he learned about SUU graduates' high chances of being accepted into medical schools, his mind was made. He enjoyed volunteer work at the hospital and in SUU’s Tutoring Center, as well as helping his fellow students in class. He is also the president of the Chemistry Club and has run it for two years, tripling the chemistry events turnout in that time.

Billings said the science program is very rigorous and that it can be difficult to keep up with the workload and understanding of complex concepts. Because of this, he is very thankful to the faculty and staff in the science department. He is especially grateful to Dr. Pierce with whom he did research. 

Billings was greatly impacted by his biochem class. As a double major in biology and chemistry, it really brought everything he learned and worked on for the past four years into one class, wrapping it all up. 

“I would not have made it as far as I have without a lot of the faculty members at SUU,” said Billings. “Their patience with me coming in asking a million questions when I don't understand what's going on, or just keeping me up to date, making sure we put in the work to do well and have a concrete understanding of what's going on. The faculty members in chemistry and biology are doing an amazing job and I really would not have made an impact on campus or in research if it weren't for the work that they do.” 

Billings advises incoming students to take college seriously. “Don't treat it like a high school class. Especially when you get to your upper division classes, if you're treating it like it's high school, and you skip class every other day, you're not gonna get through it. So recognize that you're here to learn and you're paying a good amount of money so put the time in.”

After graduating, Billings plans to either head straight on with a career in medicine or go into medical research, spending half his time in a clinic and the other half contributing to treatment plans. He is enrolled this summer in an internship at the University of Utah with the Huntsman Cancer Center, investigating how specific changes in DNA may be involved in cancer.

Tags: College of Natural Sciences Biology Chemistry

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