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Two grad students win Howard Hughes Medical Institute fellowships

July 16, 2015 By Chris Barncard

Two University of Wisconsin–Madison graduate students have won prestigious Gilliam Fellowships for Advanced Study from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) in recognition of their scholarship and their commitment to increasing diversity among scientists.

Sterling Martin, a doctoral candidate in biophysics in the lab of zoology Professor Jeff Hardin, and Katie Yang, a doctoral candidate in neuroscience in the lab of otolaryngology Professor Michelle Ciucci, will receive an annual award of as much as $43,000 each for up to three years.

“Our goal is to support the development of extraordinary students who will become scientific leaders and are committed to diversity in the life sciences,” HHMI President Robert Tjian says. “Diversity drives new ideas, and we need new ideas to help us solve many difficult problems in biomedical research.”

Gilliam Fellowships were established in 2004 in honor of the late James H. Gilliam Jr., a charter HHMI trustee dedicated to nurturing excellence and diversity in science and education. Martin and Yang are part of a group of 30 Gilliam Fellowship winners chosen from 119 applicants.

“We are excited to be able to expand the program to support the training of a greater number of terrific, young scientists,” said Sean B. Carroll, vice president for science education at HHMI and a UW–Madison genetics professor. “We look forward to watching these Gilliam Fellows develop into leading scientists in the years ahead.”