Studying these cells could lead to new treatments for diseases ranging from gastrointestinal disease to diabetes.
Four $6,000 Eloranta Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships and a Randolph G. Wei UROP Award have been awarded to undergraduates.
The Eloranta Award is given to undergraduates pursuing exceptional research or creative study projects that they designed or will direct and which may be in any field -- science, engineering, the arts, the humanities or the social sciences. After a review of proposals submitted for this year's awards, the Eloranta Committee has presented fellowships to the following students (listed with their project titles):
Elenita Ashminova, a senior in biology from Sofia, Bulgaria, "Things That Bulge"; Kevin Simmons, a senior in linguistics and philosophy from Castle Rock, CO, "Finding My Spleen: Telling Stories of Human Experience"; Arielle Sumits, a sophomore in physics from Cupertino, CA, "Origins"; and Kudzaishe G. Takavarasha, a senior in chemical engineering from Masvingo, Zimbabwe, "The Preservation of the Oral Heritage of Karanga People of Southern Zimbabwe."
First awarded in 1969, the fellowships are a gift from the late Dr. Edwin H. Land, founder and president of the Polaroid Corp., and were established in memory of the late Peter J. Eloranta, an employee of Polaroid and a member of the MIT Class of 1968.
The 1998 Wei Award was presented this year to Jeremy Heidel, a junior in chemical engineering and biology from Menomonee Falls, WI, for outstanding work at the interface of the life sciences and engineering.
Mr. Heidel was nominated for the award by Professor Robert Langer and Dr. Jeffrey Hrkach of chemical engineering for his work in the area of pulmonary drug delivery. According to Dr. Langer, "Jeremy's contributions were substantial in the publication of a paper in the journal Science last June that focused on porous particles for pulmonary drug delivery of therapeutic agents, such as insulin for diabetes." The award is given in memory of Randolph G. Wei, a member of the Class of 1987.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 3, 1998.