Ohio State student awarded 2022 Astronaut Scholarship

Rakesh Murugesan, a rising senior and biomedical science major, has been awarded a 2022 Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) award. Astronaut Scholarships are awarded to students in their junior and senior year of college studying science, technology, engineering, or mathematics with the intent to pursue research or advance their field upon completion of their final degree. Astronaut Scholars are among the best and brightest minds in STEM who show initiative, creativity, and excellence in their chosen field.

Murugesan aims to become a pediatric physician-scientist and use key questions arising from his clinical experiences to motivate relevant research into effective novel cancer therapies. He was nominated by Professor of Hematology Dr. Susheela Tridandapani and selected by the ASF for his impressive research and stellar academic record. In the Tridandapani Lab at the Comprehensive Cancer Center, he headed a project studying Natural Killer cell activation for leukemia immunotherapy. Additionally, he worked for two summers in Dr. Todd Golub’s lab at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard researching therapy for pediatric brain tumors. At Ohio State, he finds passion to support pediatric cancer and blood disorder patients through his involvement in BuckeyeThon, a student-run philanthropy that fundraises for research to support such patients at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

The ASF annually awards more than 50 scholarships valued up to $15,000 to each selected scholar. The ASF scholarship award is just the beginning for Astronaut Scholars, and their selection is the start of a life-long relationship with astronauts, alumni, and great leaders who span academia, technical research, and corporate leadership. All students must be nominated by their research mentor, and as a participating university, Ohio State may forward two applications on to the ASF. Murugesan is Ohio State’s eighth Astronaut Scholar.

For more information on the Astronaut Scholarship, please visit the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation website. The Ohio State University students interested in applying for the Astronaut Scholarship or other nationally competitive awards should contact the Undergraduate Fellowship Office.