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Four MIT graduate students win HHMI fellowships

Four PhD students at MIT are among 48 nationwide to receive new fellowships from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), enabling them to devote their full attention to research at a critical time during their professional development as scientists. MIT has more recipients of the fellowships than any other institution.

Offered for the first time this year, HHMI’s International Student Research Fellowships will support science and engineering students during their third, fourth and fifth year of graduate school. Each fellowship is worth $43,000 annually.

The four MIT recipients are:
  • Carlos Pardo-Martin, of Spain, who is studying the effects of chemicals on neurodevelopment and neurodegeneration with Mehmet Yanik, associate professor of electrical engineering;
  • Jonathan Rameseder, of Austria, who is studying DNA damage response using high-content screening with Michael Yaffe, professor of biology and biological engineering;
  • Ying Qi Shirleen Soh, of Singapore, who is studying germ cell developmental biology with David Page, professor of biology; and
  • Xuebing Wu, of China, who is studying RNA genomics with Phillip Sharp, Institute Professor in the Department of Biology.
“HHMI’s educational training program is about finding the best talent, regardless of where the students are from,” says HHMI President Robert Tjian, who first conceived of the new fellowship. “Not only is this program international, but it goes after students who have already shown they have potential as researchers.”

International students in U.S. graduate schools often have difficulty getting funding to support their studies, according to the HHMI. For example, they are not eligible for federal education and training grants, state scholarships, or other stipends that are reserved only for U.S. citizens.

Sixty research institutions with pre-existing relationships with HHMI were eligible to nominate between one and 10 graduate students for the fellowships, depending on the size of their graduate programs. The 385 students who completed the application process were reviewed by a panel of top scientists and graduate educators.

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