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HHMI selects 45 predoctoral students from 18 countries to receive fellowships that will help them complete their graduate degrees in the life sciences. 
HHMI selects 45 predoctoral students from 18 countries to receive fellowships that will help them complete their graduate degrees in the life sciences. 

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has selected 45 predoctoral students from 18 countries to receive fellowships that will help them complete their graduate degrees in the life sciences. The awardees will receive $43,000 during each year of the fellowship.

HHMI established the International Student Research Fellowships Program in 2011 to support international students during their third to fifth years of graduate school in the United States. Since then, the Institute has invested $20.8 million in the program, and is currently supporting a total of 231 students from 46 countries.

Four of the new fellows are from countries that were not represented in previous years of the program – Jamaica, Philippines, and Poland.

“I believe this award will show that Jamaica’s continued investment in science education is imperative, as our country can produce individuals that are competitive on an international level,” said Colleen Carpenter, an HHMI International Student Research Fellow from Jamaica. She is completing her PhD at the University of Michigan.

“The award has proven to me that even a rural town girl from a low-income family can successfully make her mark in science,” she said. “I hope this serves as an encouragement for other young Jamaicans who wish to pursue a career in the sciences.”

The Institute chose to fund the third to fifth years of graduate school because, by this time, most students have chosen a graduate advisor, identified a research project, and demonstrated their potential for success in the lab.

“We are fortunate that some of the most talented young scientists from around the world choose to come to the United States for their graduate work,” said David Asai, Senior Director of Undergraduate and Graduate Programs at HHMI. “It is a pleasure to recognize the HHMI International Student Research Fellows for their high level of scientific creativity, their potential to become scientific leaders, and the effective guidance that they are receiving from their thesis advisers.”

International students in U.S. graduate schools often have difficulty getting funding to support their studies. They are not eligible for federal fellowships or training grant support, or other governmental opportunities that are generally reserved for students who are U.S. citizens.

Fifty-seven PhD-granting institutions were eligible to nominate graduate students for this year’s fellowships. Three hundred twenty-nine students submitted applications, which were reviewed by a panel of top scientists and graduate educators. Only institutions currently hosting one or more HHMI Investigators could nominate candidates.

Twenty-two of the new fellows will conduct research in the labs of current or former HHMI Investigators. One of them is Sean Morrison, an HHMI Investigator at UT Southwestern. Morrison is originally from Canada, and was selected as an HHMI International Predoctoral Fellow when he was completing his PhD at Stanford University.

“It feels like an opportunity to give back a little by now mentoring one of these students in my lab,” said Morrison. “These are all students who have an opportunity to do something special. The fellowships fill a major need, while also supporting some of the strongest and most highly selected students in the country.”

The International Student Research Fellowships build on HHMI’s commitment to funding international scientists. In 2012, HHMI selected 28 International Early Career Scientists to help talented individuals who have trained in the U.S. establish independent research programs in 12 countries where funding for scientific support is scarce. In collaboration with the University of KwaZulu-Natal, HHMI has also helped to establish the KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV, an independent research institute in South Africa. Its mission is to conduct outstanding basic science research on tuberculosis (TB) and HIV and translate the scientific findings into new tools to control TB and HIV. 

Meet the 2015 International Student Research Fellows:

Student Institution Adviser
Timour Al-Khindi
Johns Hopkins University Alex Kolodkin*
Herdeline Ardoña
Johns Hopkins University John Tovar
Kutay Atabay
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Peter Reddien*
Nathan Belliveau
California Institute of Technology Robert Phillips
Qian Cao
Johns Hopkins University Jeff Siewerdsen
Colleen Carpenter
University of Michigan Margaret Gnegy
Yiming Chen
University of California-San Francisco Zachary Knight
Edgar Dobriban
Stanford University David Donoho
Vivek Dwivedi
Massachusetts Institute of Technology H. Robert Horvitz*
Ho Yee Joyce Fung
Hong Kong
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Yuh Min Chook
Jianhe Guo
University of Texas at Austin Donglei Fan
Sizun Jiang
Harvard University Elliott Kieff
Yei Hwan Jung
South Korea
University of Wisconsin-Madison Zhenqiang Ma
Yoori Kim
South Korea
University of Texas at Austin Ilya Finkelstein
Piotr Kopinski
University of Pennsylvania Douglas Wallace
Judith Kribelbauer
Columbia University Harmen Bussemaker
Dylan Kwart
Rockefeller University Marc Tessier-Lavigne+
Pedro Lamothe Molina
Harvard University Bruce Walker*
Junwei Li
University of Washington Xiaohu Gao
Qiuling Li
New York University Nicholas Stavropoulos
Zhuo Li
Princeton University Yibin Kang
Leenoy Meshulam
Princeton University Carlos Brody*
Eran Mick
Harvard University Vamsi Mootha*
Youngjun Mo
South Korea
University of California-Davis Jorge Dubcovsky*
Maziar Mohammadi
University of Michigan Ronald Larson
Jennifer Obligacion
Princeton University Paul Chirik
Benjamin Partridge
United Kingdom
University of Pennsylvania Virgil Percec
Saba Parvez
Cornell University Yimon Aye
Mariela Petkova
Harvard University Florian Engert
Le Qi
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Sean Morrison*
Janani Saikumar
University of Pennsylvania Nancy Bonini+
Yihui Shen
Columbia University Wei Min
Jae Hun Shin
South Korea
Yale University Alfred Bothwell+
Fang-Yi Su
University of Washington Patrick Stayton
Michael Swan
Princeton University Eric Wieschaus*
Longzhi Tan
Harvard University Xiaoliang Xie
Oana Ursu
Stanford University Anshul Kundaje
Hua Wang
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Jianjun Cheng
Melecia Wright
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Linda Adair
Yang Xu
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign P. Scott Carney
Kun-Hsing Yu
Stanford University Michael Snyder
Thomas Zaikos
University of Michigan Kathleen Collins
Lisheng Zhang
University of Chicago Chuan He*
Zihan Zhu
University of California-San Francisco Dan Vigneron
Ipshita Zutshi
University of California-San Diego Stefan Leutgeb

* HHMI Investigator
+ Former HHMI Investigator