UC Merced graduate students, Md. Mehdi Masud and Akshay Paropkari, will travel this summer to attend the prestigious 70th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, an invitation-only gathering in Lindau, Germany. They will join about 600 young scientists from 101 countries and attend lectures and small seminars with around 70 Nobel laureates.
Masud, a doctoral candidate in the Physics Graduate Group, was selected by the scientific review panel of the Council for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings.
Under the guidance of Professor David Strubbe, Masud is studying the behavior of materials at extreme conditions. His research focuses particularly on computational high energy density physics — which is a new subfield of physics that intersects condensed matter physics and plasma physics — at extreme conditions of pressure and/or temperature. Masud is working to provide an in-depth explanation as well as necessary predictions to future experimentalists working in this highly challenging area of research.
Paropkari, a doctoral candidate in the Quantitative and Systems Biology Graduate Group, was selected as part of the inaugural class of the University of California President’s Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings Fellows, an extraordinary group of 20 young scientists, scholars and economists selected from nine UC campuses.
“This first class of UC fellows to the Lindau meetings embodies the academic rigor and endless intellectual curiosity that is a hallmark of our university,” President Janet Napolitano said. “I anticipate that this rare opportunity to directly engage not only with Nobel laureates, but with global peers, will spark ideas and forge lasting connections. The fellows benefit, and so does UC.”
Paropkari, who is advised by professors Clarissa Nobile and Suzanne Sindi, is working on understanding the molecular mechanism underlying biofilm communities of microorganisms that attach to each other and to surfaces in the human fungal pathogen Candida albicans. He is using a computational framework by combining multi-modal high-throughput sequencing data.
“As a young researcher, the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting provides a unique environment to learn about conducting successful interdisciplinary research,” Paropkari said. “I believe that my interactions with the Nobel laureates will inspire my perspective toward my research goals.”
As a young researcher, the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting provides a unique environment to learn about conducting successful interdisciplinary research.
The UC fellows were chosen in a multi-step process that required an essay, motivation, extracurricular activities, CV, letters of recommendation, an evaluation of their research accomplishments and approval by the Lindau meetings organization in Germany. A work group of UC administrators and faculty members winnowed the list of candidates, which was then approved by Napolitano and UC Chief Investment Officer Jagdeep Singh Bachher, who conceived of the fellowships after previously attending the Lindau meetings.
“There is no better investment than in the promise of young minds intent on making our world better,” Bachher said. “Our office hopes to sponsor this fellowship for many years to come and to continue to be inspired by the accomplishments and caliber of UC students and postdoc researchers who may one day win a Nobel Prize themselves.”