W. Dylan Hale

My work uncovered the mechanism of action for a class of anti-epileptic drugs that target the most common neurotransmitter receptor in the brain. This discovery will help design future drugs to target epilepsy and other neurological disorders. I led a collaboration between Rick Huganir and Ed Twomey’s labs, which initiated this work, and we also collaborated with Albert Lau’s lab at Johns Hopkins and Vasanthi Jayaraman’s lab at the University of Texas Health Science Center.

Questions & Answers

Why did you choose Johns Hopkins for your work?

The people at Johns Hopkins are unparalleled. When I was looking for a laboratory for my postdoctoral research, it was clear that the people and the environment at Johns Hopkins were second to none.

What does receiving this award mean to you personally and professionally? Do you have any connection with the particular award you received?

 This award has tremendous personal and professional meaning as it wouldn’t have been possible without the investment and knowledge of my mentors and peers at Hopkins. Likewise, Daniel Nathans, the namesake of this award, laid the foundation for the molecular biology we used to conduct our studies. In many ways, Daniel Nathan’s scientific work at Hopkins is still contributing to discoveries at Hopkins decades later.

What contributed to your project’s success?

This project would not have been possible without the specific mentorship of my advisers, Rick Huganir and Ed Twomey, and without our wonderful collaborators, Albert Lau and Vasanthi Jayaraman. Furthermore, this work could not have happened without the world-class instrumentation and expertise assembled by the Beckman Center for CryoEM at Johns Hopkins.

What thoughts do you have about Young Investigators’ Day itself, as a celebration of the roles students and fellows play in research at Johns Hopkins?

Young Investigators’ Day is a wonderful and unique opportunity for students and postdoctoral fellows to take pride in their achievements and demonstrate the results of their training at Hopkins.

What has been your best/most memorable experience while at Johns Hopkins?

When my wife and I were expecting my son, the lab put together a baby shower for us. I’ll never forget the kindness, generosity and support that we felt from the people around us.

What are your plans over the next year or so? Graduating, looking for faculty positions, etc.?

I will be looking for a faculty position very soon!

Tell me something interesting about yourself that makes you unique. Do you have any special hobbies, interests or life experiences?

In my free time, I love playing the guitar and banjo, hiking and camping with my wife and son, and exercising.