Manoj Kanagaraj was named a Davidson Fellow Laureate while four other Indian American youths were among the 21 young people named 2012 Davidson Fellows who exemplify the extraordinary work that can be accomplished by students in the U.S. who are given opportunities to excel.
The 18-year-old Kanagaraj, of Chino Hills, Calif., received a scholarship of $50,000. His project, “A Novel Mechanism for HER2 Targeted Drug Resistance: The Role of t-DARPP in a Compensatory Signaling Shift between the EGFR and HER2 Pathways,” focuses on breast cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in women.
He developed a model that demonstrates how a particular protein can lead to drug-resistance in certain types of breast cancer. His findings are a significant step toward the development of an effective combination strategy to overcome the drug-resistant mechanism in breast cancer.
Kanagaraj is a freshman at Duke University majoring in biology and global health. The young Indian American plans to earn a Ph.D. and M.D. leading to a career as a physician scientist.
Receiving a $25,000 scholarship was 17-year-old Naomi Shah, Portland, Ore., for her project, “An Experimental Study of the Impact of Airborne Pollutants on the Peak Expiratory Flow Rate of Asthmatic Subjects PLUS A Novel Risk Assessment Model to Predict the Effect of PM10 and TVOC on the PEF Rate.”
Receiving a $10,000 scholarship was 17-year-old Saumil Bandyopadhyay, of Glen Allen, Va., for “A novel frequency-selective detector of light and β radiation implemented with self-assembled quantum wires: An application of quantum-mechanical wavefunction and density-of-states engineering.”
The other $10,000 scholarship recipients were 17-year-old Vaishnavi Rao, of San Diego, Calif., for “Activity-dependent Regulation of Nitric Oxide Expression: Novel Form of Neurotransmitter Plasticity”; and Anand Srinivasan, of Roswell, Ga., for "Doc Ock - Development of Novel Filtration Techniques to Facilitate Accurate Pattern Detection in EEG Signals.”
The Davidson Fellows Scholarship program offers $50,000, $25,000 and $10,000 college scholarships to students 18 or younger, who have created significant projects that have the potential to benefit society in the fields of science, technology, mathematics, literature, music and philosophy.