Gilliam Fellowships for Advanced Study

The program provides awards to pairs of dissertation advisers and their graduate students based on what HHMI values and considers essential components of the environment, particularly the institution and adviser’s commitment to creating a healthy academic ecosystem and the student’s potential for scientific leadership.

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50 Gilliam Fellowships Awarded

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November 12, 2021
Gilliam Fellows Program statement

HHMI has a long-standing commitment to inclusion in science and science education. The goal of the Gilliam Fellowships for Advanced Study is to advance diversity and inclusion in U.S. science. To determine eligibility, HHMI relies on National Science Foundation data to identify populations underrepresented in science because of race, ethnicity, or disability.

We also recognize that there are other ethnic populations who might be underrepresented but who are not currently designated as such by the federal government. In the current competition, concerns have been raised about how HHMI can ensure that persons from these groups are able to apply. Because in the 2022 competition we did not provide nominators specific instructions as to how to nominate persons from other, demonstrably underrepresented ethnic groups, we have extended eligibility to a small number of applicants who were initially advised they were ineligible.

As we plan for future competitions, we are implementing two changes. First, we will work with universities that wish to nominate persons from ethnic groups not identified as underrepresented in science by federal agencies. Second, we will offer more explicit guidance to nominators about how we define eligibility, so they have the information they need to act on this provision. In addition, we will continue to consider how we and other organizations might better examine what ethnic groups are underrepresented in science.

2019 Gilliam Awardees
2019 Gilliam Awardees

The goals of the Gilliam program are to ensure that students from groups historically excluded from and underrepresented in science are prepared to assume leadership roles in science and science education, and to foster the development of a healthier, more inclusive academic scientific ecosystem by partnering with faculty and institutions committed to advancing diversity and inclusion in the sciences.

Gilliam Advisers

Gilliam Advisers play a key role as change-makers who can foster the development of a more inclusive academic scientific environment. To facilitate this role, all Advisers participate in a year-long, culturally responsive mentorship development course, which is a hallmark of the Gilliam program.

Advisers are empowered to disseminate lessons learned to their lab, department, and institution to make an exponentially greater impact on creating a healthy academic scientific ecosystem. Additionally, Advisers receive a modest award to address challenges to diversity and inclusion at the graduate level.

Through their development of Diversity and Inclusion projects, Advisers are able to leverage their influence and implement activities that will remove undue burden from populations historically excluded and underrepresented in science.

Read About Advisers’ Projects »

“I used the knowledge gained from the Gilliam mentor training to develop workshops for faculty in my department on how to create and maintain an inclusive and diverse work environment. Faculty that participated see a visible change in the confidence of their underrepresented mentees.”

Gilliam Fellows

Becoming part of a diverse, supportive, strong community where Fellows can focus on their science is a highlight of the Gilliam Fellows’ experience in the program.

Fellows’ attendance at the Gilliam Annual Meeting and participation in HHMI leadership training gives them the tools to use their strengths and experiences to the benefit of science, to influence the environment, maximize their collaborations, and elevate their voices as scientific leaders.

Gilliam-specific sessions at the HHMI Science Meetings further enable them to engage with their peers, increase their scientific knowledge, and gain important insight and advice from leading HHMI scientists.

“The Gilliam community constantly inspires me. It has given me a group of peers to whom I can relate, who are passionate about scientific discovery, pursuing careers in academia, and making science a more inclusive space for people of all backgrounds. The support of my Gilliam family has been invaluable throughout graduate school, and I know these relationships will remain throughout my entire career.”

About James H. Gilliam, Jr.

The Gilliam Fellowships for Advanced Study were created in 2004 in honor of the late James H. Gilliam, Jr., a charter Trustee of HHMI and chair of its Audit and Compensation Committee. Mr. Gilliam was a respected business and civic leader who spent his life nurturing excellence and diversity in science and education.

Gilliam Fellows group photo in 2019
2017 Gilliam Advisers
  • Fellows are supported for up to three years of dissertation research, typically in years three, four, and five of PhD study.
  • For the 2022-2023 fellowship year the award amount is $53,000 per year. This includes an annual fellow stipend of $36,000, an institution allowance (in lieu of tuition and fees) of $10,000, a fellow’s discretionary allowance of $4,000, and an adviser allowance of $3,000 to support diversity and inclusion efforts at the graduate level.

Advisers' Benefits

  • Engage in thirty-hour, year-long culturally responsive mentorship development through interactive online modules and in-person meetings
  • Build a community of advisers and share knowledge and experiences
  • Learn best practices in improving communication, managing expectations, and developing equitable and inclusive mentoring relationships from nationally recognized facilitators
  • Develop an implementation plan to disseminate mentor training with feedback from facilitators
  • Receive support to address challenges to diversity and inclusion at the graduate level

Read About Advisers’ Projects »

“I chose to focus my initial dissemination efforts from the Gilliam Adviser training on teaching the faculty in my department about culturally aware and inclusive practices. Faculty learn specific actions they can take to improve mentoring and create a more inclusive culture in science. Most importantly, they appear to be discussing cultural awareness regularly and taking individual actions to effect positive changes in our graduate training environments.”

Fellows' Benefits

  • Become part of a vibrant, supportive community of Gilliam Fellows
  • Enhance leadership and professional development skills in annual training
  • Present research and network with other trainees and scientists at the Gilliam annual meeting and at HHMI science meetings
  • Gain career advice and insight from HHMI investigators at Gilliam-specific discussion sessions
  • Receive support to participate in discipline-specific meetings, advanced courses, and other professional development events and activities
“The Gilliam Fellows’ discussion with HHMI Investigator Dr. Samara Reck-Peterson was very worthwhile. I will utilize her advice in collaborating with lab members, being truly invested in their research, and effectively communicating my most valuable attributes when applying to postdoc positions. She was very open to sharing her own hardships and showed her humility and honesty in that teamwork is a key contributor to academic breakthroughs.”

HHMI’s Gilliam Fellowships for Advanced Study are open to eligible pairs comprising thesis advisers and PhD students (“adviser-student pairs”). Application for the Gilliam Fellowships for Advanced Study is by invitation only.

  • Adviser-student pairs from eligible disciplines must be nominated by the HHMI-designated nominator.
  • Prospective fellows must be (i) U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, undocumented childhood arrivals, or undocumented individuals who have been granted temporary permission to stay in the U.S. (DACA), and (ii) be from populations excluded from and underrepresented in science because of ethnicity, race, or disability status, or alumni of the HHMI EXROP program and (iii) be at the appropriate stage of their PhD training.

Notifications will be sent to the designated nominator by HHMI in August, and the deadline for nominations for the competition is mid-September. (See Application tab)

The adviser-student pairs must be studying scientific problems in biomedical sciences, life sciences, or biological questions in related disciplines. This includes basic research on a variety of biological systems and at all scales including at the molecular, cellular, organismal, and ecological levels. This initiative does not support social science research.

Nominations should be made of students who (i) are in their second or third year of a PhD program, (ii) and/or have at least two full years of study remaining, and (iii) who have or will advance to candidacy by September 1, 2022.

Students who are enrolled in or affiliated with a funded MD/PhD or other dual-degree program are not eligible (e.g., MSTP or institutionally funded program).

Note: Application for the Gilliam Fellowships for Advanced Study is by invitation only.

HHMI’s Gilliam Fellowships for Advanced Study are awarded on the basis of:

  1. The commitment and/or demonstrated ability of the institution and the thesis adviser to develop scientists, especially doctoral students from populations historically excluded from and underrepresented in science;
  2. The demonstrated commitment by the institution and the thesis adviser to create a healthy and inclusive academic scientific ecosystem for all members (e.g., graduate students, postdocs, early career faculty);
  3. The candidate’s promise as a scientific investigator and leader in the scientific community, including as a college or university faculty member;
  4. An evaluation of all submitted materials from the nominator, adviser, student, and previous research adviser. All these materials will be critical elements in the evaluation of the application.

Components of the application

Nomination (from the nominator)

  • Due: September 16, 2021

Eligibility Confirmation (to be completed by the thesis adviser)

  • Due: October 13, 2021

Application (nominator, thesis adviser, student)

  • Opens: October 27, 2021
  • Closes: December 9, 2021

External Letter of Support (from student’s previous research adviser)

  • Opens: October 27, 2021
  • Closes: December 9, 2021

Please note that the application prompts are subject to change for each new competition. For more information about the nomination and application components, please refer to the 2022 Gilliam Program Announcement (PDF)

Current Advisers and Fellows

Cohort Year Adviser/Co-Adviser Institution Fellow
2021 Lisa Arendt University of Wisconsin-Madison Abbey Williams
2021 Jose Avalos
Daniel J. Cohen
Princeton University Lisset Duran
2021 Steven Bensinger University of California-Los Angeles Kelly Kennewick
2021 Sue Biggins Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/University of Washington-Seattle Campus Daniel Barrero
2021 Paul Boutros University of California-Los Angeles Alfredo Gonzalez
2021 Mariana Byndloss Vanderbilt University Nicolas Shealy
2021 Christopher Chang University of California-Berkeley Angel Gonzalez-Valero
2021 Feixiong Cheng Case Western Reserve University Jessica Castrillon Lal
2021 Edward Chouchani Harvard Medical School Martha Ordonez
2021 Hiutung Chu University of California-San Diego Marvic Carrillo-Terrazas
2021 Kerri Coon University of Wisconsin-Madison Aldo Arellano
2021 Virginia Cornish Columbia University in the City of New York Arden Lee
2021 Catherine Drennan Massachusetts Institute of Technology Dante Avalos
2021 Michel DuPage University of California-Berkeley Jesse Garcia Castillo
2021 Rachel Dutton University of California-San Diego Tara Spencer
2021 Emily Elliott University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus Elijah Hall
2021 Cagla Eroglu Duke University Medical Center Maria Pia Rodriguez Salazar
2021 Cassandra Extavour Harvard University Dwayne Evans
2021 Li Gan Weill Cornell Medical College Chloe Lopez-Lee
2021 Robert Gereau Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine Bobbie Brown
2021 Benjamin Glick University of Chicago Fernando Valbuena
2021 Daniel Grimes
Karen Guillemin
University of Oregon Gabriel Luna-Arvizu
2021 Reuben Harris University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Medical School Sofia Moraes
2021 Martin Jonikas Princeton University Micah Burton
2021 Daniel Kronauer Rockefeller University Lindsey Lopes
2021 Sanjay Kumar University of California-Berkeley Kwasi Amofa
2021 Jonathan Kurtis Brown University Amanda Ruiz
2021 Agnes Lacreuse University of Massachusetts Amherst Mélise Edwards
2021 Michael Laub Massachusetts Institute of Technology Christopher Doering
2021 Maria Lehtinen Boston Children's Hospital/Harvard University Ya'el Courtney
2021 Cynthia Leifer Cornell University Karla García-Martínez
2021 Elizabeth Leslie Emory University Kimberly Diaz Perez
2021 Christian Lorson University of Missouri-Columbia Sara Ricardez Hernandez
2021 Karolin Luger University of Colorado Boulder Briana Aboulache
2021 Eric Martens University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Jaime Fuentes
2021 Vasant Muralidharan University of Georgia Alejandra Villegas
2021 Sonya Neal University of California-San Diego Analine Aguayo
2021 William Noble
Brian Beliveau
University of Washington-Seattle Campus Robin Aguilar
2021 Joseph Puglisi Stanford University Carlos Alvarado
2021 Charles Rice Rockefeller University Gabrielle Paniccia
2021 Olivia Rissland University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus Evan Morrison
2021 Daniel Siegwart University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Ester Alvarez Benedicto
2021 Joseph Sisneros University of Washington-Seattle Campus Loranzie Rogers
2021 Paul Slesinger
Kristen Brennand
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Michael B. Fernando
2021 Anna Sorace University of Alabama at Birmingham Tiara Napier
2021 Jonathan Staley University of Chicago Matthew McDonough
2021 Ashleigh Theberge University of Washington-Seattle Campus Tammi van Neel
2021 Shigeki Watanabe
Seth Margolis
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Chelsy Eddings
2021 Monte Winslow Stanford University Emily Ashkin
2021 Hyejung Won
Joyce Besheer
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine Nancy Sey
2020 Nicola Allen Salk Institute for Biological Studies/University of California-San Diego Jillybeth Burgado
2020 Graça Almeida-Porada Wake Forest School of Medicine of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center Martin Rodriguez
2020 James Alvarez Duke University Nina Marie Garcia
2020 Mark Andermann Harvard University Nghia Nguyen
2020 K. Mark Ansel University of California-San Francisco Priscila Muñoz-Sandoval
2020 Swathi Arur University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center/Baylor College of Medicine  Jacob Ortega
2020 Luis Barreiro University of Chicago Katherine Aracena
2020 Douda Bensasson University of Georgia Jacqueline Peña
2020 Kivanc Birsoy Rockefeller University Mariluz Soula
2020 Kathleen Caron University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine Hernán Méndez
2020 Yolanda Chen University of Vermont Erika Bueno
2020 Catherine Drennan Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sheena Vasquez
2020 Siobain Duffy Rutgers University, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Alvin Crespo-Bellido
2020 Monica Dus University of Michigan Thibaut R. Pardo-García
2020 Sharon Gerecht The Johns Hopkins University Franklyn Hall
2020 David Ginsburg University of Michigan Medical School Candilianne Serrano-Zayas
2020 Rachel Green The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Miguel Pacheco
2020 Diana Hargreaves Salk Institute for Biological Studies/University of California-San Diego Matthew Maxwell
2020 Ritchie Ho Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Thomas Mota
2020 Joanna Jankowsky Baylor College of Medicine Gabriella Perez
2020 Thomas Kash University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine Sofia Neira
2020 Alexis Komor University of California-San Diego Carlos Vasquez
2020 Lisa Komoroske University of Massachusetts, Amherst Nadia Fernandez
2020 Genevieve Konopka University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Ana Ortiz
2020 Konrad Kording University of Pennsylvania Ilenna Jones
2020 Kelly Liu Cornell University Marissa Baccas
2020 Robert Malenka Stanford University School of Medicine Daniel Cardozo Pinto
2020 Seth Margolis The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Michael Hopkins
2020 Wallace Marshall University of California-San Francisco Ulises Diaz
2020 Andreas Martin University of California-Berkeley Santiago Yori Restrepo
2020 Robert Mauck Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Ryan Daniels
2020 Douglas Melton Harvard University Alana Van Dervort
2020 Timothy Mitchison Harvard Medical School Lillian Horin
2020 Shruti Naik New York University School of Medicine Kody Mansfield
2020 Lauren O'Connell Stanford University Aurora Alvarez-Buylla
2020 Kathrin Plath University of California-Los Angeles Clara Cano
2020 John Rawls Duke University School of Medicine Briana Davis
2020 Amita Sehgal Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Jessica Schwarz
2020 Aakanksha Singhvi Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/University of Washington-Seattle Campus German Rojas
2020 Gina Turrigiano Brandeis University Andrea Guerrero
2020 Noah Whiteman University of California-Berkeley Jessica Aguilar
2020 Karen Zito University of California-Davis Nicole Claiborne
2019 Regina Baucom University of Michigan Nia Johnson
2019 Peter Chien University of Massachusetts, Amherst Samar Mahmoud
2019 Seemay Chou University of California-San Francisco, School of Medicine Fauna Yarza
2019 Daniel Colon-Ramos University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras Ernesto Cabezas-Bou
2019 Susan Daniel Cornell University Ferra Pinnock
2019 Ian Davis
Peter Mucha
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine
Dartmouth College
Andrew Hinton
2019 Ian Davis University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Shelsa Marcel
2019 Marcelo Dietrich Yale University Gabriela Bosque-Ortiz
2019 Chris Dulla Tufts University School of Medicine Sadi Quinones
2019 Kafui Dzirasa Duke University Elise Adamson
2019 Ruth Anne Eatock The University of Chicago Selina Baeza-Loya
2019 Camilla Forsberg University of California-Santa Cruz Donna Poscablo
2019 Michael Francis University of Massachusetts Medical School Kellianne Alexander
2019 James Fraser University of California-San Francisco Roberto Efraín Díaz
2019 Rachelle Gaudet Harvard University José Velilla
2019 Jason Gestwicki University of California-San Francisco Kelly Montgomery
2019 J. Silvio Gutkind University of California-San Diego School of Medicine Michael Allevato
2019 Corey Harwell Harvard University Christopher Reid
2019 Mark Heise University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine Brea Hampton
2019 Luisa Iruela-Arispe University of California-Los Angeles Gloria Hernandez
2019 John Jewett University of Arizona Natasha Cornejo
2019 Alec Kimmelman New York University School of Medicine Joel Encarnacion-Rosado
2019 Katherine King Baylor College of Medicine Daniel Morales-Mantilla
2019 Erez Lieberman Aiden Baylor College of Medicine Per Aspera Adastra
2019 Judy Liu Brown University Alexis Toliver
2019 Alea Mills Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory David Johnson
2019 Jennifer Nemhauser University of Washington-Seattle Campus Román Ramos-Báez
2019 Medha Pathak University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine Jesse Holt
2019 Scott Pletcher University of Michigan Kristina Weaver
2019 April Pyle University of California-Los Angeles Devin Gibbs
2019 Priya Rajasethupathy The Rockefeller University Josue Regalado
2019 Samara Reck-Peterson University of California-San Diego Donte Stevens
2019 Antonis Rokas Vanderbilt University Jacob Steenwyk
2019 Sunny Shin University of Pennsylvania Perleman School of Medicine Natasha Lopes-Fischer
2019 Benjamin Sivyer Oregon Health and Science University Tavita Garrett
2019 Michelle Southard-Smith Vanderbilt University Justin Avila
2019 Jorge Torres University of California-Los Angeles Erick Velasquez
2019 Robert Weiss Cornell University Irma Fernandez
2019 Danny Winder Vanderbilt University Kellie Williford
2019 Kim Woodrow University of Washington-Seattle Campus Jamie Hernandez
2018 Rudy Behnia Columbia University in the City of New York Jessica Kohn
2018 Elizabeth Brainerd Brown University Jeremy Lomax
2018 Robert Froemke New York University School of Medicine Naomi Caraballo (Lopez-Caraballo)
2018 Angela Jefferson Vanderbilt University Medical Center Francis Cambronero
2018 David Linden The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Jessie Benedict
2018 Michelle Lynne Reniere Vanderbilt University Monica Cesinger
2018 Melissa Spencer University of California-Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine Raquel Aragon
2018 Danny Winder Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Jordan Brown


2018-2021 cohorts active as of October 1, 2021.

Program Alumni


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Program Dates

August 18, 2021: Nomination Opens

September 16, 2021: Nomination Deadline

September 23, 2021: Eligibility Opens

October 13, 2021: Eligibility Deadline

October 27, 2021: Application Opens

December 9, 2021: Application Deadline

June 2022: Award Notification

September 1, 2022: Fellowship Starts