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Senior Who Applies Computer Science to Medical Issues Wins Gates Cambridge Scholarship

February 22, 2018 — Ayan Mandal (C’18) of Rocky Point, New York, will use the prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship he won this year to pursue a Ph.D. in psychiatry at the University of Cambridge.

A double major in neurobiology and biological physics at Georgetown, Mandal says he hopes to return to the United States after Cambridge to attend medical school.

He is one of only 35 American women and men selected to receive the scholarship, which was created by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Mandal’s research interests lie in the neurological basis for language.

Network Neuroscience

The senior currently works in the Cognitive Recovery Lab alongside Dr. Peter Turkeltaub of Georgetown University Medical Center, applying computer science tools to medical issues such as stroke-induced language deficits and aphasia.

“At Cambridge, I will be applying my growing expertise in network neuroscience analysis to uncover brain networks corresponding to states of cognition in patients with brain tumors,” Mandal explained on the Gates Cambridge Scholarship website. “We hypothesize that when important pieces of cognitive networks are resected to remove the tumor, predictable surgically induced cognitive deficits will result. This work could inform neurosurgical planning before tumor resection in the future.”

The Human Condition

Mandal is also the recipient of a 2017 Barry Goldwater Scholarship, one of the country’s most prestigious awards for students in mathematics, engineering and the natural sciences.

The Georgetown senior also participates in the Carroll Fellows Initiative and writes a column on neuroscience for the student newspaper The Hoya.

“Ultimately, I hope to become a physician-scientist dedicated to translating key advances in research into the clinic,” Mandal writes. “I am truly honored to join a community of motivated scholars focused on bettering the human condition.”