Five from MIT awarded 2023 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships

MIT graduate college students Kat Kajderowicz and Shomik Verma, alumni Desmond Edwards ’22 and Steven Truong ’20, and Vaibhav Mohanty, an MD-PhD scholar within the Harvard-MIT Program in Well being Sciences and Know-how, are among the many 30 recipients of this 12 months’s Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Individuals.

The P.D. Soros Fellowships for New Individuals program honors the contributions of immigrants and kids of immigrants to the USA. This system acknowledges the potential of immigrants to make important contributions to U.S. society, tradition, and academia by offering $90,000 in graduate college monetary help over two years.

College students excited by making use of to the P.D. Soros Fellowship could contact Kim Benard, affiliate dean of distinguished fellowships in Profession Advising and Skilled Improvement.

Desmond Edwards ’22

Desmond Edwards graduated from MIT in 2022 with a double main in organic engineering and biology and a minor in French. As a Nationwide Science Basis GRFP Fellow and Jamaica’s first Knight-Hennessy Scholar, Edwards is presently a PhD scholar in microbiology and immunology at Stanford College’s Faculty of Drugs, the place he researches immunity to infectious ailments. He intends to guide a scientific profession not solely contributing to groundbreaking educational analysis, but additionally guaranteeing that the fruits of this analysis have their maximal profit to society by public coverage, outreach, and training.

Born and raised in Jamaica, Edwards lived in rural St. Mary and attended college in city Kingston. His fixed childhood diseases prompted his curiosity in higher understanding human illness and his need to develop novel therapeutic choices for his or her therapy and prevention. At MIT, Edwards carried out host-pathogen analysis in Professor Rebecca Lamason’s lab, specializing in characterizing mutants of curiosity and growing novel genetic instruments to be used within the tick-borne pathogen Rickettsia parkeri. As an Amgen Scholar, he additionally labored with Professor Viviana Gradinaru at Caltech to engineer options for a novel gene remedy for Rett syndrome, a neurodevelopmental dysfunction primarily seen in women.

not solely within the technical particulars of scientific analysis but additionally in its societal impression, Edwards has devoted himself to serving the group by roles within the MIT Biotech Group, scholar illustration and advocacy, and instructing and mentorship. For his educational achievements and commitments to group and nation-building, he was awarded a 2022 Prime Minister’s Nationwide Youth Award for Excellence, the very best nationwide award bestowed on Jamaicans between the ages of 15 and 29 by the Prime Minister of Jamaica.

Kathrin (Kat) Kajderowicz

Kat Kajderowicz is a neuroscience PhD scholar within the Division of Mind and Cognitive Sciences at MIT. She is co-advised by professors Sinisa Hrvatin and Jonathan Weissman on the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Analysis and is researching how cells from hibernating organisms can survive chilly temperatures to engineer human cells to do the identical. Kajderowicz envisions her work bettering organ transplantation and therapeutic hypothermia applied sciences. She hopes to sometime lead a analysis group growing applied sciences that permit people to securely enter and exit “hibernation-like” stasis for medical therapy functions. 

Kajderowicz grew up in Chicago’s giant Polish-immigrant group. Her dad and mom fled communist Poland within the early Nineteen Eighties, arriving in the USA with no financial savings, faculty levels, or information of English. Kajderowicz’s mom labored as a housekeeper, whereas her father labored in development. As undocumented immigrants combating to acquire inexperienced playing cards, they spent most of their financial savings on the American naturalization course of and infrequently sought medical care as a result of they couldn’t afford insurance coverage and feared deportation. To assist financially, Kajderowicz started working as a golf caddie at age 14. Her golf purchasers related her with shadowing and interning alternatives at expertise and biotechnology corporations and hospitals, which impressed her profession pursuits.

As an undergraduate at Cornell College, Kajderowicz labored on the Lab of Ornithology, the place she constructed computational pipelines to higher perceive songbird communication. Throughout undergraduate summers at Harvard College, she labored on comparative genomics and inhabitants genetics tasks utilizing crops, fruit flies, and butterflies. As a post-baccalaureate researcher at Harvard Medical Faculty, she constructed imaging instruments to visualise the event of several types of mouse retinal neurons.

In 2020, Kajderowicz’s father handed away from metastatic lung most cancers. Kajderowicz served as his caregiver and medical proxy. Her best supply of consolation was her hospital ready room group. Impressed by the facility of communities, Kajderowicz based DNA Deviants, a 2,000-plus member biotechnology group that hosts podcasts on Twitch to debate breakthrough analysis and organizes profession mentorship applications.

Vaibhav Mohanty

Vaibhav Mohanty is pursuing an MD-PhD within the Harvard-MIT Program in Well being Sciences and Know-how, the place he’s incomes a second PhD (in chemistry). His aim is to increase his physics-based theories of evolution to know how molecular-level structural modifications in proteins can induce modifications in evolutionary health of viruses and cancers. Mohanty aspires to develop novel therapeutic approaches to fight ailments topic to evolution on quick timescales, and to deal with sufferers with such ailments.

Mohanty was born in Durham, North Carolina, and grew up in Charleston, South Carolina. His dad and mom emigrated from Odisha, India, to the USA to pursue educational analysis careers in biology. Accepted to Harvard School at age 15, Mohanty graduated in 2019 with a grasp’s diploma in chemistry (concept) and a bachelor’s diploma summa cum laude in chemistry and physics and a minor in music. He was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa educational honor society and obtained a 2018 Barry Goldwater Scholarship for his physics analysis. As an undergraduate and grasp’s scholar, Mohanty’s printed analysis papers spanned numerous interdisciplinary subjects throughout the sciences and even music, together with diffusion MRI physics, time-dependent quantum mechanics of graphene, and mathematical and geometrical fashions of voice main in music concept. In 2022, Mohanty earned a PhD in theoretical physics as a Marshall Scholar on the College of Oxford’s Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics, the place he labored within the Condensed Matter Concept Group to make use of statistical physics and spin glass concept to analyze elementary properties of organic evolution.

Along with being a scientific researcher, Mohanty is an award-winning classical and jazz music composer, arranger, pianist, and saxophonist. His giant wind ensemble and chamber works are distributed and carried out commonly round the USA and in lots of components of the world. He actively performs as a jazz pianist.

Steven Truong ’20

Steven Truong graduated from MIT in 2020 with a double main in organic engineering and writing. He was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi and was additionally named a Barry Goldwater Scholar. As a Marshall Scholar in the UK, Truong accomplished an MPhil in computational biology at Cambridge College and an MA in artistic writing at Royal Holloway, College of London. Presently, he’s an MD-PhD scholar at Stanford College. In his future profession, Truong aspires to assist resolve and deal with metabolic problems comparable to diabetes. He hopes to make these discoveries accessible — particularly for communities historically underrepresented and underserved in medication — as a physician-scientist, science communicator, and storyteller.

Truong was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, to Vietnamese refugees. His dad and mom and kin pooled their sources to start out a family-owned nail salon. Truong spent his evenings after college on the salon, the place he assisted within the enterprise’s operations and completed homework between serving to clients. In his free time, he avidly learn science fiction and fantasy, which advanced right into a ardour for science. Truong ultimately realized he may use science to deal with diabetes, a illness that impacts a lot of his household and group.

Throughout his undergraduate years at MIT, Truong labored within the Langer-Anderson Lab to develop sensible insulins, and within the Lauffenburger Lab to review the hyperlink between the immune system and diabetes. With funding from MIT’s Undergraduate Analysis Alternatives Program, he began a research investigating the genetic foundation of diabetes with colleagues on the College of Drugs and Pharmacy at Ho Chi Minh Metropolis. The info from this research have been printed, associating single nucleotide polymorphisms to Kind 2 diabetes in Vietnamese people. Truong and his colleagues ultimately secured a grant to broaden their research by the Nationwide Basis for Science Know-how and Improvement. The grant presently funds Vietnam’s largest genome-wide affiliation research, which he co-leads.

Shomik Verma

Shomik Verma is pursuing a PhD in mechanical engineering at MIT with Professor Asegun Henry, the place he’s engaged on vitality storage to make variable renewable vitality sources comparable to photo voltaic extra dependable, and on a next-generation energy plant based mostly on thermophotovoltaic energy conversion. After his PhD, Verma hopes to make use of his talent set to decarbonize trade and make low-cost, clear, and dependable vitality accessible to all.

Rising up in Sugar Land, Texas, Verma maintained a deep connection to Indian tradition. There was a powerful emphasis on training, and he spent many weekends at math competitions with fellow Asian Individuals. Verma began noticing some attention-grabbing patterns on the math competitions he attended — oil and fuel corporations would usually sponsor them, and the conversations his petroleum engineer father had together with his mates usually turned to the geopolitics of vitality. Verma was struck by the conclusion that he lived within the oil and fuel capital of the world, with dad and mom who have been from the coal capital of India. He was caught between two worlds — the fossil gas trade that enabled his lifestyle, and the rising risk of world warming he realized about at school.

When Verma misplaced his uncle to black lung, he determined it was time to commit his life to scrub vitality. Whereas learning mechanical engineering at Duke College, he helped lead the Duke Electrical Automobiles crew to 2 Guinness world information for gas effectivity, for each battery electrical and gas cell automobiles. Within the U.Ok., as a Marshall Scholar, he accomplished an MPhil in supplies science and carried out analysis at Imperial School London and the College of Cambridge, engaged on bettering the effectivity of photo voltaic cells.


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