Congratulations to our Spring 2017 winners!

  • Joyce KangStanford University
  • Oscar Hernandez MurilloUniversity of Pennsylvania
  • Danielle MzykNorth Carolina State University
  • Nicholas PageRutgers University
  • John PluvinageStanford University School of Medicine
  • Lillian XuPrinceton University

Spring 2017 scholarship recipient biographies

Joyce Kang, Stanford University—Stanford, California

Major: Computer Science and Biology

Joyce is a junior at Stanford University majoring in Computer Science with a secondary major in Biology. In the Bhatt Lab at Stanford Medical School, Joyce is currently researching the gut microbiome within the context of bone marrow transplantation using next-gen sequencing and bioinformatics analysis. Outside of class and lab, Joyce enjoys working as a “live-in” counselor at The Bridge (a 24/7 peer counseling center), volunteering as an EMT through the Stanford Emergency Medical Service, and serving as the editor-in-chief of the Stanford Intersect journal. An aspiring medical researcher, she is tremendously excited by the potential applications of genomics and biotechnology in medicine.

Oscar Hernandez Murillo, University of Pennsylvania—Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Major: Biology (concentration in Computational Biology)

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.

Danielle Mzyk, North Carolina State University—Raleigh, North Carolina

Major: Veterinary Medicine/PhD Candidate, Comparative Biomedical Sciences (Pharmacology)

Danielle is currently enrolled as a dual degree student at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine where she is completing both her PhD and Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine degrees. Her graduate research and clinical interest at the CVM is focused on pharmacology and dairy calf health, particularly the effects of age and disease on drug distribution. In the future, she hopes to continue combining her love of science with the art of clinical medicine as a large animal clinician.

Nicholas Page, Rutgers University—New Brunswick, New Jersey

Major: Cell Biology and Neuroscience

Nick is currently a freshman at Rutgers University–New Brunswick where he works in the Mladen-Roko Rasin Lab studying the post-transcriptional control of neurodevelopment. He believes that one of the most challenging problems currently confronting the field of neuroscience is the lack of understanding about neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism. Currently, scientists have few definitive answers about the disorder’s cause, and treatment options are limited and can only treat symptoms at best. Nick hopes to investigate the cause of autism by studying the gene-environment interactions that take place throughout development. His ultimate goal is to develop early intervention, drug-based treatments to prevent autism in high risk individuals.

John Pluvinage, Stanford University School of Medicine—Stanford, California

Major: MD/PhD candidate

As an undergraduate at Stanford, John studied mechanisms of normal and pathological hematopoiesis in Dr. Irv Weissman’s Lab. Now a Stanford MD/PhD student, John’s research is focused on regulators of homeostatic phagocytosis in the periphery and central nervous system in the context of aging and disease in the laboratory of Dr. Tony Wyss-Coray. A native Californian, John is active in the local sketch comedy scene and he enjoys tennis and Belgian culture in his free time.

Lillian Xu, Princeton University—Princeton, New Jersey

Major: Molecular Biology

Lillian is a freshman at Princeton University studying molecular biology with a focus in computational biology and bioengineering. She has conducted stem cell, CRISPR, and cancer research at the University of Virginia in the past and is currently working at a lab in Princeton to identify novel mammary stem cell regulators in the context of breast cancer progression. Ultimately, Lillian aspires to work at the nexus of healthcare, biomedical research, and technological innovation.

Fall, 2016: Vanja Tolj, 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. 

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.

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.

Full list of winners
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