News Release

News and Public Information Office
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Miami University
Oxford, Ohio 45056
(513) 529-7592
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Miami Senior awarded $10,000 Astronaut Scholarship


Prashant Rajan
Miami University senior Prashant Rajan, a biochemistry and zoology double major and molecular biology and neuroscience double minor from Mentor, has been awarded $10,000 from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF). He is one of 27 students nationwide to be selected for the scholarship by ASF for the 2012-2013 academic year.

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."

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 is working 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 and is also a member of Miami’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

Miami is one of the 27 schools eligible to nominate a student for the Astronaut Scholarship.

ASF was founded in 1984 by the six surviving members of America’s original Mercury astronauts. Since then, more than 80 other astronauts have lent their support to the program. Its mission is to aid the United States in retaining its world leadership in science and technology by providing scholarships for college students who exhibit motivation, imagination and exceptional performance in the science or engineering field of their major.

Astronaut Scholarship

Miami is one of the 27 schools eligible to nominate a student for the Astronaut Scholarship.

Institutional partners are asked to submit their very best and brightest science and technology students who have shown initiative, creativity, and excellence in their chosen field, according to the ASF. Students must be nominated by a professor, entering their junior or senior year in engineering, natural or applied science, or mathematics at one of the 27 schools the foundation supports, and demonstrate excellence in research and academics.

A member of the Astronaut Hall of Fame will visit campus in the fall semester to give a public lecture and present Prashant Rajan, Miami's Astronaut Scholar, with the scholarship check.


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