Hampshire College graduate Yash Patankar 06F is one of the recipients of the John H. Cophenhaver and William Thomas Fellowship at Dartmouth College for the 2013 academic year. The fellowship provides a stipend for a year for graduate students in the molecular and cellular biology program at Dartmouth.
“I know that what I’m working on is being recognized by my peers. That was the most important thing for me in winning this award,” Patankar says.
Patankar’s research focuses on the immune response to Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a pathogen that is the cause of one of the most common hospital-acquired infections. He plans on defending his dissertation in 2015.
Patankar’s work at Hampshire included research on molecular biology, parasites, and immunology. His Division III (senior) project focused on cellular signaling in Th-17 cells, a class of helper T-cells that are implicated in autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis.
Associate Professor of Cell Biology Christopher Jarvis, who was Patankar’s Division III committee chair, says: “Yash is an engaged, intelligent, and serious student, with strong problem-solving skills. He demonstrated strong abilities in biology, chemistry, and laboratory research.”
Patankar in turn praises Professor Jarvis for his availability and creative suggestions for solving problems. “He introduced me to immunology,” Patankar says. “He, and Hampshire, helped me build my critical thinking and independent thinking skills.”