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Miami students named Goldwater Scholar and Honorable Mention

04/03/2012

Prashant Rajan, 2012 Goldwater Scholar
Prashant Rajan, a junior at Miami University with a double major in biochemistry and zoology and a double minor in molecular biology and neuroscience, has received a Goldwater Scholarship. He is one of 282 students nationwide to receive the scholarship, the premier undergraduate award of its type in the fields of mathematics, natural science and engineering. Dirk Auman, sophomore double major in biochemistry and engineering physics, with a minor in computer science, received a Goldwater Scholar Honorable Mention.

Rajan, from Mentor, has been conducting independent study research with Blanton Tolbert, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, since his first semester at Miami.

“Prashant has endeavored to understand how the HIV virus hijacks host proteins to regulate the expression of its genome. He has collaborated with a senior research associate, graduate and undergraduate students to determine the high-resolution 3D structure of a key RNA molecule from HIV. This work was recently published in the Journal of Molecular Biology,” Tolbert said. “Prashant is truly a remarkable young man … I am sure that the Goldwater scholarship is just one of many more prestigious accolades in his future."

Rajan has also conducted clinical research at the Cleveland Clinic in pediatric neurology during the past two summers working with children with autism and with Tourette’s syndrome. This summer he will work in a molecular oncology research position at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

At Miami, Rajan is president of the honors and scholars advisory board, a member of the honors program and a Harrison Scholar. He is a resident assistant for Bishop Hall (current year and next year) and is also a member of Miami’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

The Goldwater Scholarship

The Goldwater Foundation Scholarship Program encourages outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, natural sciences and engineering. This year the program awarded 282 Goldwater Scholarships, worth up to a maximum of $7,500 per year, out of nearly 1,125 students who were nominated by faculty at their institutions.

Rajan is one of five students at an Ohio public university to receive a Goldwater Scholarship; Auman is one of five students at an Ohio public university to receive an honorable mention.

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Blanton Tolbert, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry (left) and Prashant Rajan

Honorable Mention

Auman, from Reynoldsburg, has been conducting independent study research with Chris Makaroff, chair and professor of chemistry and biochemistry, since his first semester at Miami. He is involved with Makaroff’s research on the isolation and characterization of genes required for meiosis in the plant Arabidopsis (member of the mustard family).

“Dirk is a pleasure to work with in the lab. He thinks deeply about what he is doing, picks up concepts quickly, and asks thoughtful questions,” Makaroff said. “Dirk has plans to earn a Ph.D. and have a career in research. I have no doubt that he will be successful in this regard.”

Auman is a member of the honors program and is involved in the Miami athletic band, the Miami Chemical Society, and the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society.

Dirk Auman, 2012 Goldwater Scholar Honorable Mention

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