Two current students, three alumni win Soros fellowships

Melis Anahtar ’08

An MIT undergraduate, graduate student and three alumni have been named recipients of the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans in 2011. Hattie Chung, a senior in biological engineering; Juan Jofre, a graduate student in architecture; Melis Anahtar ’08; Aadel Chaudhuri ’04; and David Reshef ’08, MEng ’09 were among the 30 young scholars granted the fellowships, which support the graduate studies of immigrants and children of immigrants.

Anahtar graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from MIT in 2008. Awarded a Rhodes Scholarship in 2007, she earned an MSc degree in immunology during her year at Oxford. Her research projects at MIT ranged from synthesizing nanoparticles for cancer detection to studying novel drug-delivery methods. She served as editor-in-chief of the MIT Undergraduate Research Journal. She is now in her second year as an MD/PhD candidate at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology and will begin a PhD in immunology at Harvard in the fall.

Chaudhuri earned two bachelor's degrees at MIT in 2004 — one in electrical engineering and computer science and one in biology. He is currently finishing his PhD in biology at the California Institute of Technology. His research focuses on small RNAs in cancer and the immune system, and has been supported by a Howard Hughes Medical Research Fellowship and an NSF graduate research fellowship.  He was a member of MIT’s varsity lightweight rowing team and worked in the lab of Nobel laureate and Institute Professor Phillip Sharp, where he studied gene targets of a new class of small RNA molecules, called microRNAs, culminating in a publication in the journal Nature Genetics.

Chung, a senior studying biological engineering and applied international studies, plans to focus her graduate study in systems biology. Her entrepreneurial strengths emerged at MIT where, as a freshman, she entered the $100K Elevator Pitch Competition with a proposal to reduce the side effects of common painkillers that won first prize in the life sciences category. In 2010, she was awarded the prestigious Amgen Scholarship. She also excels as an Emerson Piano Scholar, and received the MIT Naess Award for exceptional talent in piano in 2008.

Jofre is in the first year of the master’s in architecture program at MIT. In addition to excelling at his formal work, Jofre spent a summer studying in Denmark and has interned at three of the most innovative firms in the world: Studio Daniel Libeskind, where he worked on winning designs for Seoul, Korea; New York’s Kohn, Pederson, Fox, where he contributed to a winning design for public buildings in New York, and Preston Scott Cohen, where he helped design a museum in China.

Reshef earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and computer science in 2008 and a master’s degree in computer science in 2009 from MIT. He won a Marshall Scholarship to study at Oxford, where he is pursuing an MSc in statistics. David has spent time working on public health initiatives in India, Zambia and Peru — experiences that inspired him to co-found the MIT Global Poverty Initiative and to organize a major international conference on development. As a computer scientist and statistician, he has worked on developing an automated method for malaria diagnosis, a high-throughput muscle membrane repair assay for muscular dystrophy and a software platform for analyzing and visualizing the spread of diseases which has been used by the CDC, the Clinton Foundation, the NIH, and the Harvard School of Public Health.

Learn more about the Soros fellowship program at

Topics: Alumni/ae, Architecture, Awards, honors and fellowships, Biological engineering, Biology, Electrical engineering and electronics, Mechanical engineering, Students

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