Benton Purnell, PhD, is the winner of the 2021 D.C. Spriestersbach Dissertation Prize. This Prize was established to recognize excellence in doctoral research. The award recognizes highly original work that is an unusually significant contribution to the field of study. Students from a variety of graduate programs are eligible, including the biological and life sciences. Each year, a winner of the D.C. Spriestersbach Dissertation Prize is eligible to become the University of Iowa’s nominee in the national competition for the Council of Graduate Schools/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award. Benton was confirmed as a nominee for 2021 in this national competition. Benton is a truly exceptional young scientist, as you all know, and he is no stranger to success, having thrived in our Program!