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01/05/92

CONTACT: Stanford University News Service (415) 723-2558

Senior wins Indian Rhodes Scholarship; Stanford's third

STANFORD -- Stanford University senior Siddhartha Mukherjee, a student researcher in biological sciences, has been named a 1993 Rhodes Scholar representing his native India.

Mukherjee's Rhodes - one of four given in India - brings to three the number of Stanford students chosen to be Rhodes Scholars this year. Seniors Erez Kalir and Fayyaz Nurmohamed were selected as U.S. Rhodes winners in December. The awards provide fees and living expenses for two years of study at Oxford University in England.

A native of New Delhi, Mukherjee came to Stanford in 1989 as a David Starr Jordan Scholar, an honor awarded to incoming freshmen with exceptional academic abilities. While he was a sophomore, he joined the research group of Paul Berg, Willson Professor of Biochemistry and director of the Beckman Center for Molecular and Genetic Medicine.

While carrying a full course load, Mukherjee spent at least 20 hours a week in the lab, studying a gene that is known to cause cancers in the immune system.

When he reported the results of his research last October, "it was an impressive performance, one that our graduate students could be proud of," said Berg, in his letter of recommendation.

In addition to his regular coursework, Mukherjee served as a teaching assistant and tutor in mathematics, chemistry and biology; as a resident assistant at Hammarskjold House; and as a staff writer and graphics artist for the Stanford Daily student newspaper.

He also continued his training as a student of Indian classical vocal music and served as coordinator of the Stanford Indian Music Group, bringing numerous concerts and demonstrations to campus.

He currently is at work planning a spring course on "Health and Hunger in the Third World" to be given at Hammarskjold House. The workshop, the first of its kind to be offered at Stanford, will focus on critical issues in development, using examples from India.

At Oxford, Mukherjee intends to pursue graduate work in immunology. He is particularly interested in parasitology and malaria, and would like to play a role in the development of a vaccine for the disease, based on his work in molecular biology.

Rhodes scholarships were established in 1902 by the estate of Cecil Rhodes, the British colonialist and philanthropist, who hoped that the scholarships would contribute to world understanding and peace.

Among the qualities sought of scholars are proven intellectual and academic excellence, integrity, respect for others and the ability to lead and use their talents fully.

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