Goldwater Scholarship Winner: Yanni Sarrimanolis

April 10, 2020

Amanda Nagy

Man smiling in red T-shirt.
Second-year Yanni Sarrimanolis
Photo credit: Courtesy of Yanni Sarrimanolis

Yanni Sarrimanolis is one of Oberlin’s three recipients of the Goldwater Scholarship, a competitive award program that supports students in the natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics.

Yanni Sarrimanolis, a second-year biochemistry major with aspirations of being a researcher and an internal medicine doctor, has been awarded a Goldwater Scholarship .

One of the nation’s most prestigious undergraduate awards for students pursuing research in the natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics, the Goldwater Scholarship supports college sophomores and juniors with up to $7,500 for tuition and expenses. Those who receive the award in their sophomore year will receive funding for two years.

Sarrimanolis works in the lab of Professor Matt Elrod, where he conducts research on atmospheric chemistry.

“I am currently studying the nucleophilicity of sulfate reactants with various secondary organic aerosols. I am also investigating the substitution preferences of the sulfate species in organic substitution reactions. We use NMR Spectroscopy to determine which organosulfate products are formed in reactions.”

A native of Fairbanks, Alaska, Sarrimanolis also has conducted research on Antarctic icefish with Professor of Biology Kristin O’Brien at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. 

‘‘More specifically, I am investigating the functionality of Antarctic fish species’ molecular response to hypoxia. I aim to elucidate how mutations in the fish species’ HIF-1α transcription factor, which is instrumental in hypoxia response in many species, affects the functionality of  HIF-1α. Knowledge of hypoxia response mechanisms is also useful in cancer research. I was named coauthor on a paper currently in the process of being submitted for publication.”

Sarrimanolis says he is honored to be chosen for the Goldwater Scholarship. 

“No matter what kind of graduate studies I pursue, the Goldwater Scholarship will verify my capabilities as a scientist before engaging in those studies. The scholarship will also allow me to save money for graduate school,” says Sarrimanolis, noting that he is interested in pursuing a combined PhD/MD with the goal of practicing internal medicine, possibly with a specialty in cardiology or gastroenterology.

“I will have the opportunity to help those in need both by propagating medical science in the lab and by interacting with patients on the front lines,” he says.

Outside of academics, Sarrimanolis is captain of the club ice hockey team, contributes to the Synapse, Oberlin’s science journal; and is a member of the Student Honor Committee. 

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