Researcher with a pipette

Congratulations to our 2020 winners!

  • Tim Brown—Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
  • Prathamesh Chati—Washington University in St. Louis
  • Shweta P. Kitchloo—University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • Anna Claire McMullen—University of Tulsa
  • Sammy Mustafa—Northwestern University
  • Nicole Renee Palmer—Case Western Reserve University

2020 scholarship recipient biographies

Tim Brown
Tim Brown, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

MD-PhD candidate: Cancer Biochemistry

Tim Brown is a sixth year MD-PhD student at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center majoring in cancer biochemistry and tumor biology in the lab of Dr. Vadivel Ganapathy. Tim is currently investigating the role of tumor-derived lactic acid in suppression of the immune response to breast cancer which ultimately leads to enhanced tumor growth. Dr. Ganapathy’s lab hopes to elucidate a signaling mechanism whereby lactic acid acts as an agonist for a G-protein coupled receptor in breast cancer tumors. After completion of the MD-PhD program, Tim hopes to match to a competitive residency and ultimately launch his own lab to further study cancer-cell metabolism and tumor immunology. Outside the lab, Tim enjoys golfing and skiing, playing the banjo, and being outdoors.

Prathamesh Chati, Washington University in St. Louis

MAJORS: Biochemistry & Computer Science

Prathamesh Chati is a rising junior at Washington University in St. Louis who is studying Biochemistry & Computer Science. He is currently conducting research in the lab of Dr. Aadel Chaudhuri at Washington University School of Medicine under the Department of Radiation Oncology. Prathamesh’s work focuses on merging computer science and cancer biology to elucidate prognostic molecular subtypes within the tumor microenvironment of deadly cancers, such as pancreatic or ovarian cancer. The tumor microenvironment is an immensely complex and heterogeneous ecosystem of cells and molecules. Emerging methods in computer science and machine learning are enabling scientists to explore the mechanisms driving cancer pathogenesis with unprecedented granularity. By harnessing the power of ML-based predictive classifiers, Prathamesh is developing computational models to discover cell subtype populations capable of predicting patient survival and treatment response. Beyond research, Prathamesh is also interested in the field of biotechnology entrepreneurship. He is currently the managing director for Sling Health St. Louis, a biomedical accelerator for early-stage medical startups. Under Sling Health, Prathamesh helps manage operations and supports startup founders to actualize their medical technology startup ideas.

Pratamesh Chati
Shweta Kitchloo
Shweta P. Kitchloo, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

MD Candidate

Shweta Kitchloo is a first year medical student in the Physician Scientist Training Program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She completed her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Boston University (BU), and subsequently earned a Master’s degree in Biotechnology through a combined BA/MA program. After graduating, she conducted breast cancer research at Harvard for three years and translational ophthalmology research at Boston Medical Center. Her current work at The University of Pittsburgh focuses on developing gene therapy for retinal disease. She is passionate about research and medicine, and wishes to inspire more women to pursue the sciences. In the future, she aspires to establish herself as a physician-scientist and cultivate a career that connects medicine from bench to bedside. Outside the lab, Shweta enjoys playing the violin, watching Bollywood movies, and exploring the beautiful city of Pittsburgh.

Anna Claire McMullen, University of Tulsa

MAJOR: Biochemistry

Anna Claire McMullen is an incoming freshman in the Honors Program at the University of Tulsa, majoring in biochemistry with a pre-veterinary focus. Inspired by zoonotic illnesses, Anna Claire intends to pursue a career in academia as a research professor of Veterinary Pharmacology and Disease Ecology, with a special interest in finding effective and practical ways to treat diseases in endangered species, such as Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in the Panamanian golden frog. As a high school senior, Anna Claire placed first in the Health Occupational Student of America’s pathophysiology test in Oklahoma. Anna Claire also enjoys her work at a veterinary hospital where she assists in surgeries and observes new technological advances in the veterinary field. Outside of the biochemistry field, she is a published poet, aerialist, a student mentor, and a multi-year volunteer at the Tulsa zoo.

Anna Claire McMullen
Sammy Mustafa
Sammy Mustafa, Northwestern University

MAJOR: Biological Sciences
MINOR: Global Health

An incoming freshman at Northwestern University, Sammy Mustafa conducts cell biology research in the lab of Donna Leonardi at Bergen County Academies, investigating the role of the PTEN pseudogene as a novel modulator of glioblastoma malignancy. His research utilizes the nonfunctional gene as a “decoy” to combat miRNA-mediated repression common in glioblastomas. As an enrollee of Northwestern’s seven year BA/MD Honors Program in Medical Education, Sammy will continue his academic and research career at the Feinberg School of Medicine, as well as delve further into the field of synthetic biology. Outside the lab, Sammy is a varsity hurdler and Eagle Scout who enjoys watching documentaries, thrifting, and spending time with friends and family.

Nicole Renee Palmer, Case Western Reserve University

MAJORS: Biochemistry & Public Health

Nicole Palmer is a rising senior at Case Western Reserve University, where she is concurrently obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and a Master’s degree in Public Health. After graduating, she plans to pursue a Doctor of Medicine and combine her two degrees. In Dr. James Reynold’s lab, Nicole is investigating the many clinical applications of S-Nitrosothiols and their ability to control vasodilation. Among these studies are the potential improvement in outcomes of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), organ transplantation, COVID-19, bypass, blood transfusion, and dementia, among others. Outside of the lab, Nicole is the president of an advocacy club, a volunteer at the Women and Children’s Center, and a three-time freshman Resident Assistant.

Nicole Renee Palmer

2019 scholarship recipient biographies

James C. Bowden
James C. Bowden, California Institute of Technology

Major: Bioengineering

An incoming freshman at Cal Tech, James plans to pursue an academia career in biomedical research. He is currently investigating the mechanism of telomere clustering and subsequent elongation in ALT cancer in the lab of Dr. Jerry Shay at the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center. Active in biomedical research since entering the 8th grade, James has contributed to several projects, most notably designing and testing a RNR-expressing AAV6 vector to treat heart failure and examining the role of polyX regions in fungal pathogen Candida glabrata’s stress response effectiveness. In the future he hopes to earn a MD/PhD and launch his own lab in an area where he can make an impact — potentially immunoengineering, synthetic biology or cancer research. Outside the lab, James is an Eagle Scout who enjoys reading, camping and enjoying the outdoors.

Azadeh Hadadianpour, Vanderbilt University

PhD candidate: Immunology and Molecular Pathology

A 4th year PhD student at Vanderbilt University majoring in Immunology and molecular pathology, Azadeh’s current research in Dr. Scott Smith’s lab is focused on characterizing human IgE antibodies, which are elevated in the course of parasitic worm infection and allergy, two completely unrelated diseases. For the first time work in the Smith lab has generated full-length naturally occurring human IgE monoclonal antibodies from patients with parasitic worm infections and patients with various allergies. Azadeh is now using these IgE antibodies as tools to identify immunodominant antigens in parasitic worms and to introduce new targets for vaccine development. In addition, the results from human IgE repertoire analysis in patients with various allergies will provide insight into novel diagnostic tools and therapy options for allergy. As a future scientist, Azadeh’s focus is on becoming an expert in antibody research and she hopes her work will make a real scientific contribution to this field.

Azadeh Hadadianpour
Colin J. Mann
Colin J. Mann, University of California, San Diego

Major: Microbiology/Immunology

Colin is a member of UCSD’s class of 2020 majoring in microbiology with aspirations of an immunology-focused PhD. While maintaining his 4.0 GPA, he has established himself as a promising researcher during his 3-year internship at Scripps Research in La Jolla, CA. Colin has so far acquired 3 co-authorships for his work on HIV vaccine design and characterization under Associate Professor Jiang Zhu. His research is primarily focused on developing subunit vaccine candidates for major pathogens and presenting them on multivalent self-assembling nanoparticles as an idealized platform. Colin intends to maintain these efforts into his graduate studies and is currently working to create novel immunization strategies for Tuberculosis. With the significant prevalence of these deadly diseases in developing countries, Colin hopes to advance research into safe, affordable and effective vaccines to mitigate transmission and prevent millions of deaths worldwide. In his free time, Colin enjoys exploring other research areas, mountain biking, and spending time with friends and family.

Isha Puri
Isha Puri, Harvard University

Major: Computational Biology

Isha Puri is a freshman at Harvard University majoring in computational biology. She is passionate about innovating technologies at the intersection of computer science and healthcare, having previously created an application that provided screenings for dyslexia to anyone with access to a laptop (research for which she has been named a Google Science Fair Global Finalist and a winner of the ACM Cutler Bell Prize for Excellence in Computing, among other honors). She has interned at the Harvard Center for Brain Science, the Stanford Departments of Genetics and Computer Science, and the Stony Brook Center for Materials Science Engineering on research projects at the intersection of computer science and biology: a model for the movement of drugs through hydrogels, for example. In the future, she hopes to continue exploring the various applications of computer science for societal good.

Salil Uttarwar, Washington University in St. Louis

Major: Genomics and Computational Biology
Minor: Computer Science

Salil Uttarwar is a third-year undergraduate student at Washington University in St. Louis majoring in Genomics and Computational Biology and minoring in Computer Science. He currently works in the lab of Dr. Daniel C. Link at Washington University School of Medicine. Salil’s research focuses on the role of TGF-Beta signaling in Mesenchymal Stromal cells towards the development of myelofibrosis and disruption of hematopoietic niches. In the future, he plans on becoming a physician and hopes to incorporate his research and computational methods towards improving treatments for patients. Outside of the lab, Salil enjoys cooking, making art, and volunteering.

Salil Uttarwar
Stella Paffenholz
2019: Stella Paffenholz, Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

PhD Candidate: Molecular Biosciences – Cancer Biology

A doctoral candidate at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, Stella’s current work focuses on developing innovative genetic tools to understand the process of senescence, a tumor-suppressive mechanism de-regulated in cancer. Stella completed her undergraduate in Molecular Biomedicine at the University of Bonn, Germany, and subsequently earned a Master’s degree through a Helmholtz International Graduate School for Cancer Research Fellowship at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, Germany. As chair of GSK Women in Science, Stella strives to advance gender equality and diversity in science. She is also part of the leadership team of the Tri-Institutional Biotech Club aiming to bridge the gap between academic research and pharmaceutical industry to ultimately turn academic breakthroughs into therapies for cancer patients. In her free time, Stella is an enthusiastic traveler and enjoys cycling and marathon running.

2018: Christopher Thang, The University of Houston — Houston, Texas

Christopher is a member of the University of Houston’s 2018 freshman class and one of 10 students in the 3/4 accelerated BS/MD program, majoring in Biomedical Science. Previously, Christopher investigated the ability of specialized peptides and antibodies that target myosin subfragment-2 to modulate muscle contraction at the University of North Texas under Dr. Douglas Root, co-authoring a publication in the Biophysical Journal. Now part of Dr. Chengzhi Cai’s laboratory at the University of Houston, Christopher researches the ability of benign E. coli to form biofilms on silicon catheters, widely used in biomedical devices, to reduce pathogen colonization. In the future, Christopher aims to benefit others by conducting both clinical research and international medical missions as a physician. In his free time, Christopher enjoys creating songs on the piano, weightlifting, and spending time with friends.

Christopher Thang
Kritika Singh
Fall 2017: Kritika Singh, Northeastern University — Boston, Massachusetts

Kritika is an undergraduate student at Northeastern University majoring in Bioengineering with a focus in cell and tissue engineering, chemistry, and global health. At the Mazitschek Lab at Massachusetts General Hospital, Kritika is currently working to establish an assay platform to allow the simultaneous profiling of the specificity of epigenetic modulators and their small molecule inhibitors in the context of a diverse set of histone modifications. Outside of class, Kritika gives back to society as the CEO of the non-profit, Malaria Free World Inc., advocating for malaria research and prevention. She is also the webmaster of the undergraduate engineering research journal, Embark, and is the director of Northeastern’s first global health conference.

Spring 2017: Oscar Hernandez Murillo, University of Pennsylvania—Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Oscar is a senior at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in biology with a concentration in computational biology and a minor in chemistry. His current research at Dr. James Shorter’s laboratory focuses on engineering substrate-specific variants of Hsp104, a yeast disaggregase, as a potential therapy for neurodegenerative diseases. Oscar is planning to pursue a PhD in biological sciences and hopes to, one day, become a university professor. During his free time, Oscar enjoys practicing his French, reading manga, and sharing fun facts about Ecuador, his home.

Oscar Hernandez Murillo
Vanja Tolj
Fall 2016: Vanja Tolj, The Ohio State University–Columbus, Ohio

Vanja Tolj is a junior at The Ohio State University majoring in Neuroscience with a minor in Global Public Health. As an aspiring physician, she hopes to incorporate translational research in her practice to improve the lives of her patients. Her current research focuses on determining how forced displacement contributes to the onset of dementia in the Serbian population. In her free time, Vanja contributes her time to TEDxOhioStateUniversity as a speaker coach and leading the GlobeMed chapter at OSU.

Spring, 2016: Jessica Ong, UCLA–Los Angeles, California

Jessica is an aspiring physician scientist in the MD/PhD program at UCLA. Jessica completed her undergraduate and master’s degrees concurrently in UCLA’s rigorous Departmental Scholars Program, and she is now pursuing her PhD in the laboratory of Karen Reue. Jessica’s research focuses on lipid metabolism, studying the role of a novel gene Diet1 in bile acid homeostasis as well as kidney proximal tubule function.

Jessica Ong
Kekoa Taparra
Fall, 2015: Kekoa Taparra, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine–Baltimore, Maryland

A doctoral candidate at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in the Cellular and Molecular Medicine PhD Program, Kekoa’s current work focuses on cancer gene transcription programs associated with the Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) and how they modulate cancer metabolism. In the future, Kekoa plans to pursue his Medical Degree upon completion of his PhD; ultimately his goal is to return home to Hawai‘i as a physician-scientist prepared to advance medical discoveries that will impact the health of his Native Hawaiian communities.

Spring, 2015: Peter Cabeceiras, Rice University–Houston, Texas

Peter Cabeceiras is a junior at Rice University, majoring in Biochemistry and Cell Biology. Peter holds a college student researcher position in the laboratory of Dr. Lynda Chin in the Department of Genomic Medicine at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) with a focus on cancer research.

Peter Cabeceiras
Kristin Qian
Fall, 2014: Kristin Qian, Princeton University–Princeton, New Jersey

A High School graduate at 16, Kristin Qian began her research work at the Oregon Health and Science University Knight Cancer Institute in Dr. Brian Druker’s Laboratory and is now attending Princeton University as a pre-med major.

Spring, 2014: Casey Miller, Indiana University/Purdue University–Indianapolis, Indiana

Casey is currently working toward a degree in biology at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis, Indiana. She is deeply intrigued by the unknown in the world, and looks forward to learning about diseases and conditions that have yet to be cured.

Casey Miller

Full list of winners
  • Tim Brown—Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
  • Prathamesh Chati—Washington University in St. Louis
  • Shweta P. Kitchloo—University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • Anna Claire McMullen—University of Tulsa
  • Sammy Mustafa—Northwestern University
  • Nicole Renee Palmer—Case Western Reserve University
  • James C. Bowden—California Institute of Technology
  • Azadeh Hadadianpour—Vanderbilt University
  • Colin J. Mann—University of California, San Diego
  • Stella Paffenholz—Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School
  • Isha Puri—Harvard University
  • Salil Uttarwar—Washington University in St. Louis
  • Rachael Adams—The Ohio State University
  • Shannon Esswein—California Institute of Technology
  • Veeraj Shah—University of Maryland
  • Christopher Thang—University of Houston
  • Jeffrey Zhou—Yale University
  • Name withheld due to NCAA rules
Fall 2017
  • Nathaniel Deimler of Nova Southeastern University
  • Ana Enriquez of Emory University
  • Micheal Munson of Baylor University
  • Kritika Singh of Northeastern University
  • Emily Xu of Yale University
  • Joshua Yang of Johns Hopkins University
Spring 2017
  • Joyce Kang of Stanford University
  • Oscar Hernandez Murillo of University of Pennsylvania
  • Danielle Mzyk of North Carolina State University
  • Nicholas Page of Rutgers University
  • John Pluvinage of Stanford University School of Medicine
  • Lillian Xu of Princeton University
Fall 2016
  • Brad Foster of Duke University 
  • Pranati Pillutla of Texas Tech Health Science Center School of Medicine
  • Christina Tan of Rice University
  • Vanja Tolj of The Ohio State University
  • Anthony J. Treichel of Winona State University
  • Jason Cheng-ting Tsai of Stanford University
Spring 2016
  • Aswin Bikkani of University of Cincinnati
  • Akhil Garg of Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Madeline Keleher of Washington University in St. Louis
  • Jessica Ong of University of California, Los Angeles
  • Pia Sen of University of Texas at Dallas
  • Mohamed Soliman of Cornell University
Fall 2015
  • Fatima Nizamuddin of University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Yeshwant Chillakuru of The George Washington University
  • Yuyan Cheryl Mai of Yale University
  • Louis “Bobby” Hollingsworth of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • Marisa Egan of Saint Joseph’s University
  • Kekoa Taparra of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Spring 2015
  • Michael Zhu Chen of Stanford University
  • Claire Liu of University of Chicago
  • Peter Cabeceiras of Rice University
  • Christina Rudolph of Siena College
  • Jean-Nicholas Gallant of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
  • Adrienne Snyder of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Fall 2014
  • Kristin Qian of Princeton University
  • Alexandra Tamerius of University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Ryan Lindeborg of Harvard College
  • Adriano Bellotti of North Carolina State University
  • Nicole Olson of University of California-San Francisco
  • Graham Walmsley of Stanford University
Spring 2014
  • Wen Chyan of University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Matthew Jeffreys of Stanford University
  • Rachel Marty of University of California, San Diego
  • Casey Miller of Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis
  • Catherine Norman of Trinity University
  • Max Wallack of Boston University
Fall 2013
  • Chandler Burke of Rice University
  • Melissa Dang of University of Oklahoma
  • Michael Neiger of Ohio State University
  • Lauren Nowacki of Texas A&M University
  • Lindsey Rogers of Yale University
  • Kelly Wallin of University of Wisconsin, Madison
Spring 2013
  • Jeanette Wat of Rice University
  • Jack Huang of Harvard University
  • Brandon Fennell of Stanford University
  • Nrithya Sundararaman of University of Miami
  • Douglas Bennion of University of Florida
  • David Han of Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Fall 2012
  • Nigel Reuel of Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Erik Schieda of Duke University
  • Jonathan Tsai of Stanford University
  • Shannamar Dewey of University of California, Davis
  • Priya Pathak of University of Wisconsin, Madison

Scholarship program support

If you have any questions or experience any difficulties regarding your scholarship submission, please contact our scholarship coordinator by email at