Durga Thakral PC’12 explains her biomedical research project during the undergraduate research symposium. (Courtesy: Yuanchi Zhao | Yale Scientific – www.yalescientific.org)

Indian American student Durga Thakral, at the Yale University, is among 30 recipients of a prestigious fellowship aimed at supporting graduate students who have demonstrated “creativity” and “originality” in their lives, writes Yoshita Singh. (@Siliconeer, #Siliconeer, #Yale, #SorosFellowship, #DurgaThakral, #MedicalResearch, #Science, #YaleSchoolofMedicine)

Durga Thakral is among the winners of the 2016 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans and will use her award to support work towards an MD/PhD in genetics at Yale School of Medicine, the university said in a statement.

Thakral says her work with communities with minimal healthcare resources has shown her the “dire need for better access to medical care and affordable biomedical devices.”

An MD/PhD student in the laboratory of Yale geneticist Richard Lifton, Thakral said she hoped to take advantage of the vast and growing power of molecular medicine in her work to improve the human condition and empower others to pursue their dreams.

The fellows, selected from a pool of over 1,400 applicants, will receive tuition and stipend assistance of up to $90,000 in support of graduate education in any field and in any advanced degree-granting program in the U.S.

Hungarian immigrants Paul and Daisy Soros established the program in 1997 to support the graduate educations of students who were born abroad but have become permanent residents or naturalized citizens of the U.S.

Each award recipient must have “demonstrated creativity, originality, and initiative in one or more aspects of her or his life,” as well as “a commitment to and capacity for accomplishment that has required drive and sustained effort,” the statement said.

In addition, they must have shown a commitment to the values expressed in the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Born in Illinois, Thakral is the daughter of Indian immigrants. She earned a combined bachelor’s and master’s degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale.