Thermo Fisher Scientific Antibody Scholarship award winners

Congratulations to our 2019 winners!

  • James Bowden — California Institute of Technology
  • Azadeh Hadadianpour — Vanderbilt University
  • Colin Mann — University of California, San Diego
  • Stella Paffenholz — Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School
  • Isha Puri — Harvard University
  • Salil Uttarwar — Washington University in St. Louis

2018 scholarship recipient biographies

Rachael J. Adams
Rachael J. Adams, The Ohio State University

Major: DVM/MS candidate

As an undergraduate student at The Ohio State University and a member of Dr. Thomas Wittum's veterinary epidemiology lab, Rachael performed research on antimicrobial resistant bacteria disseminated throughout animal populations. She is currently a second-year veterinary student at OSU and is also pursuing a master’s degree in comparative veterinary medicine. Her research is currently focused on antimicrobial use and corresponding resistance in horses. In her free time, Rachael enjoys reading novels, traveling, and scuba diving

Shannon R. Esswein, UCLA-California Institute of Technology

Major: MD/PhD candidate

Shannon is an MD-PhD student in a joint UCLA-Caltech program utilizing a combination of tools in chemical biology, physical chemistry, and drug discovery to investigate new therapeutic targets. As an undergraduate, Shannon researched protein misfolding diseases at UCLA. She subsequently earned a Master’s degree in Biochemistry through a Gates-Cambridge Fellowship at the University of Cambridge where she investigated improved cancer therapeutics by targeting DNA repair. Now, as a PhD student at Caltech, she applies her interests in biological chemistry and infectious disease towards designing a vaccine for Zika virus. Through her work in the American Medical Student Association and as Outreach Chair for Women in Chemistry at Caltech, Shannon strives to advance diversity and gender equality in science. As a future physician-scientist, Shannon aims to lead an interdisciplinary research group designing novel proteins to improve treatment options.

Shannon Esswein
Veeraj Shah
Veeraj Shah, University of Maryland

Major: Neurobiology & Physiology, Public Health Sciences

Veeraj Shah is a second year undergraduate at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) double majoring in biological sciences and public health. Currently, he conducts research at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine under Dr. Todd McNutt focusing on the integration of precision medicine/big data informatics into clinical radiation oncology. He also works at the National Cancer Institute under Dr. Lindsay Rowe and Dr. Kevin Camphausen on clinical protocols regarding body image shifts in brain tumor patients. At UMD, he leads a public health intervention to India as a part of UMD’s Public Health without Borders and serves as a TA for an honors organismal biology course. In the future, he hopes to combine his experience in clinical oncology and public health to increase access to cancer care.

Christopher Thang, University of Houston

Major: Honors Biomedical Science

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. 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
Jeffrey Zhou
Jeffrey Zhou, Yale University

Major: Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry and Computer Science

Jeffrey Zhou is a rising sophomore at Yale University double majoring in Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry and Computer Science. He is currently working in Dr. Junjie Guo’s lab, focusing on the pathogenic mechanisms by which the GGGGCC RNA repeat sequence causes amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Jeffrey hopes to utilize computational methods in order to further contribute to advances in ALS research.

Student Athlete, Massachusetts Institute of Technology*

*name and details withheld due to NCAA rules

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.

Oscar Hernandez Murillo
Vanja Tolj
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. 

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
  • 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