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Dr Ashwin Jainarayanan has been selected to become a 2024 Schmidt Science Fellow – an honour bestowed on only 32 exceptional early career researchers worldwide.

Ashwin Jainarayanan

For his DPhil in the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology at Oxford, Ashwin specialised in immunology, focusing on characterising particles released into the immunological synapse – a nano-scale gap between T-cells and antigen-presenting cells. Leveraging this expertise, he engineered cytotoxic T-cells to release synthetic extracellular particles that specifically target and kill cancer cells.

As a 2024 Schmidt Science Fellow, Ashwin will undertake a year-long Science Leadership Program and receive up to $220,000 in funding for a one to two-year research placement. He intends to redirect his expertise in immunology to investigate a common and aggressive brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

Ashwin said:, 'Receiving this award is a tremendous honour. It affirms my commitment to pursuing innovative solutions in the field of neuroimmunology and encourages me to push the boundaries of my research. This shift allows me to explore the complex interactions between immune cells and brain cells, vital for deciphering the biology of aggressive brain cancers.'

Professor Michael Dustin, Ashwin's primary DPhil supervisor at the Kennedy Institute said: 'This has been an exciting six months for Ashwin. He has earned his DPhil, founded a company, Granza Bio, and been named as a 2024 Schmidt Science Fellow. Ashwin is a dynamo with enormous enthusiasm for science and generating impact through publishing and translating his work to improve human health.'

The Schmidt Science Fellows program was established in 2018 to identify the world's best emerging scientists and equip them with the skills to become scientific and societal thought leaders, accelerating ground-breaking discoveries. The rigorous and highly-competitive selection process has a success rate of just under 10%. Candidates are expected to have a strong track record of scientific achievement from their PhD/DPhil studies, combined with a clear intellectual curiosity, a desire to drive future discoveries, and a commitment to making a lasting difference in the world.

Read the full story here.