Hometown: Nashville, Tenn.
"Ultimate Frisbee is probably the thing I dedicated the most time to at Davidson. Aside from academics, of course!" He cocaptained the DUFF team (that's "Davidson Ultimate Frisbee Folk," for the uninitiated) as a senior. Now in grad school, he continues to balance work with play, completing his fifth and final year of eligibility on UC Berkeley's Ultimate Frisbee team. "My loyalty's still with Davidson, though."
Ultimate Frisbee is honor-bound. Games are self-officiated, so players call their own fouls in competition, and teams are obligated to honor each other's calls. "Sportsmanship is the most important element of the game."
DeLoache studies synthetic biology, a field that combines principles from biology, math, physics, chemistry and engineering in the design of novel biological systems. "Synthetic bio is what computers were 30 years ago."
He was part of a Davidson team that collaborated with a Missouri Western University team to create a synthetic device within an E. coli cell capable of solving a Hamiltonian Path Problem. The device answers this kind of question: given a number of cities and the cost of traveling from one city to another, what is the cheapest round-trip route that visits each city only once? The team's research was published in The Journal of Biological Engineering in July 2009 and quickly became the publication's most-accessed article of all time, racking up more than 21,000 downloads. "Research at Davidson really changed the course of my life. It opened my eyes to new options."
After graduating cum laude with honors in biology and a pre-med concentration, he is continuing his studies at UC Berkeley's Ph.D. program in bioengineering on a full scholarship. He plans to pursue a career in synthetic biology that focuses on the medical applications the field offers. For example: "It might be possible to construct an organism capable of detecting and destroying tumors."