Tara Srinivas of Brown University was among the 27 of its current students or recent graduates who were named among the latest cohort of Fulbright Scholars.
Founded in 1946, the Fulbright program promotes international peace through intellectual and cultural exchange. Applicants are selected based upon their academic and professional records, the quality and achievability of their proposals, and their capacity to engage culturally with their host communities, Brown University’s report said.
The program funds approximately 2,000 recent college graduates and current graduate students to teach and research for a full academic year in 140 countries around the world.
Brown’s newest cohort of Fulbright winners submitted project proposals to teach and research in 17 countries across Asia, Latin America, Europe and Africa.
“At Brown, I learned so much about how to become an independent researcher,” Srinivas, a native of Broomfield, Colorado, said in the report. “I’m looking forward to expanding upon these skills while in Spain — to continuing to learn how to formulate and test my own hypotheses and to employ new techniques in the lab.”
Srinivas said that Brown’s exceptional record of producing and mentoring student Fulbright scholars helped her shape her own application processes.
“Brown is just amazing at helping us prepare for these opportunities,” Srinivas added. “The fellowships office offered endless feedback and resources.”
At the institute, Srinivas will use patient-derived stem cells to study the role that epigenetic factors — elements (in this case, RNA molecules) that influence the expression of genes without altering their DNA sequences — play in Rett syndrome, a rare neurodevelopmental condition that affects brain development.
“There’s so much left to explore in epigenetics,” Srinivas said. “My hope is that using it to study Rett syndrome will contribute to our understanding of the condition and help researchers develop new therapies, if needed and desired by patients.”
The project will build upon her studies at Brown, where she concentrated in neuroscience and served as an undergraduate researcher in the laboratory of Dr. Eric Morrow, whose work seeks to better understand the genetic factors that contribute to conditions on the autism spectrum.
She said that spending a year in Spain as a Fulbright fellow will allow her to heighten her Spanish language skills while developing a nuanced appreciation for the country’s diverse culture — including in Barcelona, where as many people speak Catalan as they do Spanish.
“Being able to really immerse myself in the language will be an amazing opportunity,” Srinivas said. “And I’m really excited to learn more about Spanish culture from the community I’ll live in and from fellow Fulbrighters who are studying the humanities and arts.”
After completing her Fulbright, Srinivas plans to begin medical school.