Meet our new Editor-in-Chief, Daniel Hass

By Ross Keller, Editor-in-Chief

Hello readers! It has been a pleasure to run the blog for the past two years. We have garnered interest in numerous posts about a wide range of topics, and I hope you’ve all learned a lot. I have now defended my dissertation, so my time as editor-in-chief is at an end. Thus, I’m thrilled to announce the new editor-in-chief for Lions Talk Science, Daniel Hass. Daniel has contributed several posts to the blog and has been an associate editor here for the past two years. I know he will do a great job.

So without delay, Daniel will introduce himself.

Let’s get to know you a bit! Where are you from, where did you go to school, and what is your role at Penn State College of Medicine?

daniel new editor in chiefHi I’m Dan! I did my undergrad at Franklin and Marshall College, where I graduated with a major in the Biological Foundations of Behavior—basically another term for Neuroscience. I love the topic, and so now I’m a Neuroscience Ph.D. student in Colin Barnstable’s lab, in the Department of Neural and Behavioral Sciences.

Why did you decide to become a scientist?

My dad has a pretty significant collection of science fiction books, and I’ve been reading them for as long as I can remember. They kind of jump-started my enthusiasm for science and the future when I was a kid, so when I went to college I knew I’d be interested in taking science courses. I think of all the courses I took, Neuroscience kind of jumped out at me as this really interesting and sort of young field that I’d enjoy being a part of. So the decision occurred sometime around sophomore year in college.

What do you research at Penn State, and why is it important?

I’m in an eye lab, and I research novel neuroprotective avenues for the treatment of glaucoma. Glaucoma is an age-related neurodegenerative condition of the eye that slowly leads to total and irreversible blindness.  It doesn’t really make the same ‘splash’ as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, but if you want to compare them—there are about 1 million Americans with Parkinson’s right now, and about 2.72 million Americans with glaucoma, in 2010.

What are some of your hobbies outside the lab?

I’m not entirely sure I would count it as ‘outside the lab’, but I like to cycle (as in bicycle). I’m not sure because I sometimes ride my bike to and from lab. Other than that, I have a pretty strong interest in food and cooking, so I’m always looking for unique international food markets where I can buy some interesting ingredient to experiment with.

Tell us three random facts about yourself!

1) I dream of secretly taking dance classes (On a scale from 1-10, my motor/dancing skills are a hard 0).

2) I have a motorcycle license, but no motorcycle.

3) I know the secret of throwing a Frisbee correctly.

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