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HHMI Supporting 50 International Predoctoral Students at US Institutions with more than $2M in Fellowships

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For international students training in US graduate schools, finding funding can be tough.

"Being an international student, it is virtually impossible to find fellowships that fully support my stipend, not that mention the educational allowance that is a luxury for most PhD students," says Elisa Araldi, who is from Italy and studying the role of regulatory RNAs in macrophage activation and paracrine communication at New York University School of Medicine's Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, in a Howard Hughes Medical Institute statement.

Araldi is one of 50 graduate students from 19 countries who will each receive $43,000 per year through HHMI's International Student Research Fellowships program, the funding organization announced today. HHMI President Robert Tijan says that "this program is designed to nurture the career development of scientists who have the potential to become international scientific leaders."

For Araldi, receiving this award means worrying about scientific problems, not her stipend. "The fellowship gives me the freedom to focus only on my research for the next three years," she says.

HHMI notes that students from China and Canada have won the most awards, followed by those from India and Taiwan. Among the 50 awardees are several predoctoral students working on genomics and related research. They include the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Tolulope Agunbiade, from Nigera, who is working to apply genomic tools to population genetics studies on cowpea pests in West Africa; Siavash Mirarab, from Canada, who is working on taxon identification of metagenomic reads using phylogenetic placement at the University of Texas at Austin; India's Jagannath Swaminathan, who is also at UT Austin, and working on single-molecule proteome sequencing; UT Southwestern Medical Center's Qian Cong, from China, who is working toward predictive analyses of the human proteome; Northwestern University's Liangliang Hao, who is from China and working to use spherical nucleic acids for novel targeted miRNA therapeutics; and Canada's Eleen Shum, who is studying RNA surveillance in olfaction at the University of California, San Diego.

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