Studying these cells could lead to new treatments for diseases ranging from gastrointestinal disease to diabetes.
Three MIT undergraduates are among the 323 students recently named Barry Goldwater Scholars.
Goldwater Scholars receive up to $7,500 per year for each of their remaining academic years. The awards are given to sophomores and juniors planning careers in science and engineering.
The winners from MIT are junior Alexander Bagley, a chemical engineering major who plans to obtain an M.D./Ph.D. in biomedicine/tissue engineering; junior Jennifer Choy, a nuclear science and engineering major who plans to pursue a Ph.D. in nuclear physics; and junior Daniel Kane, a mathematics major who plans to obtain a Ph.D. in mathematics.
This year's Goldwater Scholars include 234 science majors, 47 engineering majors, 32 math majors and 10 computer science majors. They include 182 men and 141 women.
Kane was also one of three MIT undergraduates who finished in the top six in the William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, held throughout North America in December 2005.
The other two MIT students placing in the top six were Oleg Golberg and Matthew Ince, both sophomores majoring in mathematics.
A record 107 MIT undergraduates participated, and 23 of them ranked in the top 75, the most from any school to make it to the top 75.
The MIT Putnam team, composed of three students chosen by the math department, placed fourth in the team competition. Team members were Kane; Timothy Abbott, a junior majoring in mathematics and electrical engineering and computer science; and Vladimir Barzov, a senior majoring in mathematics and economics.