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Pranav Lalgudi And Syamantak Payra Of MIT Named 2022 Knight-Hennessy Scholars

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MIT senior Syamantak Payra and graduate student Pranav Lalgudi '21 have been honored by this year’s Knight-Hennessy Scholars program. They will head to Stanford University this fall to commence their doctoral programs.

Knight-Hennessy Scholars receive full funding for up to three years of graduate studies in any field at Stanford University. Fellows, who hail from countries around the world, also participate in the King Global Leadership Program, which aims to prepare them to become inspiring and visionary leaders who are committed to the greater good.

Pranav Lalgudi

Pranav Lalgudi, from San Jose, California, graduated from MIT in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in biology, a minor in data science, and a concentration in philosophy. He will pursue a PhD in genetics at Stanford School of Medicine. Lalgudi is keen to answer fundamental questions in biology to improve our understanding of human health. At MIT, he uncovered how cells regulate metabolism in response to nutrients, processes which are disrupted in cancer and diabetes. He previously worked at Stanford, creating new tools for studying the genetic diversity of cancers. Lalgudi aspires to make academic research more collaborative, rigorous, and accessible. He is also passionate about addressing inequities in access to education and has worked at schools in Spain and Italy to develop more interactive STEM curricula for students. Lalgudi’s research has been accepted for publication in several peer-reviewed journals, including Nature, and he was awarded the NSF GRFP and NDSEG Fellowships.

Syamantak Payra

Syamantak Payra, from Friendswood, Texas, will graduate this spring from MIT with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and computer science, and minors in public policy and in entrepreneurship and innovation. He will pursue a PhD in electrical engineering at Stanford School of Engineering as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar and Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow. Alongside creating new biomedical devices that can help improve daily life for patients worldwide, Payra aspires to shape American educational and scientific ecosystems to better empower upcoming generations. At MIT, he conducted research creating digital sensor fibers that have been woven into health-monitoring garments and next-generation spacesuits. He has organized and led literacy and STEM outreach programs benefiting a thousand underprivileged students nationwide. Payra earned multiple first-place awards at International Science and Engineering Fairs, placed ninth in the 2018 Regeneron Science Talent Search, was inducted into the National Gallery of America's Young Inventors, and was an Astronaut Scholar, Coca-Cola Scholar, and U.S. Presidential Scholar.

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