Reuben Saunders, an MIT senior pursuing a degree in chemistry, has won a prestigious Churchill Scholarship to fund a year of graduate study at Cambridge University in England. Saunders plans to pursue an MPhil in chemistry at Cambridge University’s Churchill College before returning to the U.S. to undertake a PhD in biochemistry. He ultimately hopes to forge a future career as a scientist, dissecting the molecular details of the processes underlying life.
Saunders, a gifted scholar and researcher, works in Professor Robert Sauer’s laboratory in the Department of Biology, where he uses single molecule optical techniques to investigate the protein machinery involved in intracellular protein degradation. He previously spent a year working in Professor Peter Reddien’s laboratory in the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research.
At MIT, Saunders was editor-in-chief of the MIT Undergraduate Research Journal, an entirely student-run peer-reviewed journal that publishes the research of MIT undergraduates. He has served as the president of MIT’s undergraduate chapter of Sigma Xi, the national science honor society, and has organized undergraduate seminars where students can present their research outside of the classroom. Through MIT’s Educational Studies Program (ESP), he taught summer and weekend courses on biochemistry and bioinformatics to middle-school and high-school students.
Saunders is one of only 15 national recipients of this year’s Churchill Scholarship awards. Established in 1963 by the Winston Churchill Foundation, the competitive Scholarship honors the memory of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his vision of U.S.-U.K. scientific exchange. Saunders is the 13th MIT student to receive this honor.