For DonorsFor Applicants

Saswati Gupta Cancer Research Scholarship

Funded by
2 winners, $1,000 each
Application Deadline
Apr 6, 2024
Winners Announced
May 6, 2024
Education Level
Undergraduate, Graduate
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
Undergraduate junior or senior or Graduate student
Field of Study:
Medicine or Biology

Research into gastric cancer, and cancer in general, is one of the most valuable disease areas today. 

Cancer cuts so many lives short and touches millions of families each year. Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the United States, taking 1,670 lives each year for a total of more than 609,000 per year. 

This scholarship aims to support female students interested in medicine or biology so they can go on to advance cancer research and prevention.

Any female college junior or senior student, or enrolled in a graduate program may apply for this scholarship. Low-income and first-generation applicants are highly encouraged to apply for this scholarship.

To apply, please tell us your career goals and professional aspirations, and please attach a fully updated curriculum vitae or resume that highlights any publications or research presentations given.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Boldest Profile
Published December 4, 2023
Essay Topic

What are your career goals and professional aspirations?

250–300 words

Winning Applications

Kanita Chaudhry
University at BuffaloBUFFALO, NY
As an M.D./Ph.D. student at the Jacobs School of Medicine, my ultimate dream is to become a physician-scientist specializing in pediatric oncology. I am currently pursuing my third year of medical school studies. I recently completed the PhD part of my dual-degree program at the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center where I studied neuroblastoma, a deadly pediatric cancer affecting nerve cells of the body. More than half of high-risk neuroblastoma patients will ultimately die from progressive disease, highlighting the critical need for new therapy options. Under the direction of my mentor, Dr. Anna Bianchi-Smiraglia, I identified and characterized the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) as a new tumor promoting-protein in neuroblastoma. Excitingly, my work revealed clofazimine (CLF), an already FDA-approved drug for leprosy, as a potential new treatment for neuroblastoma in laboratory models. We plan to test the safety and effectiveness of clofazimine in high-risk neuroblastoma patients in clinical trials. Ultimately, I aspire to lead a laboratory as a principal investigator and study the molecular basis underlying pediatric tumors, including neuroblastoma. In addition, I plan to care for childhood cancer patients and their families in the hospital. My unique M.D./Ph.D. training background in both medicine and cancer biology will allow me to ask clinically relevant questions in the lab and bring my discoveries in the lab back to the patients in the clinic. My goal is to find novel therapies for pediatric cancers such as neuroblastoma in the lab, and ultimately run clinical trials. I want to be a physician-investigator at a leading academic hospital, where I can make the greatest impact on patients while being the most caring and compassionate provider that I can be.
Elnaz Guivatchian
Wayne State UniversityDETROIT, MI
Healthy young adults always neglect doctors appointments, but being considered at an extremely high risk for breast cancer makes this decision all the more risky. My mother was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer at the young age of 29. With no family history, this came as an extreme shock, and altered the lives of her three daughters forever. Knowing that I would always have several extra doctors appointments to attend to each year influenced my aspirations. From a young age, I knew I was not only interested in medicine, and attending medical school, but also interested in conducting research and advancing medicine. As a rising third year medical student, I have realized my career goals have two aspects- patient care and scientific research. Starting from my time at UCLA, I conducted research on glioblastoma, an incredibly deadly malignant brain tumor. I spent hours working in a laboratory using cancer cells taken from patients at the Ronald Reagan Hospital at UCLA and injecting them into hydrogels mimicking the brain's extracellular matrix to understand just why these cancer cells were so migratory. After beginning my master's program in public health at USC, I continued this work but also became interested in understanding if patients even understood their diagnoses, and how genetics could influence individual's lifetime risk of developing cancer. This led to a project conducted with the cancer genetics clinic at the University of Michigan aiming to understand patient attitudes towards sharing and understanding their cancer genetics screenings, focused on conditions like Lynch Syndrome and Familial Adenomatous Polyposis. These passions have continued as a medical student as I am now conducting a chart review understanding how to influence the preservation of language in individuals diagnosed with various brain tumors. These passions guide me as I look towards my future in medicine.
Shruthi Sudhakar
Johns Hopkins UniversityBoston, MA
I am currently a student in a Regulatory Science Masters programme, with the ultimate goal of making safe pharmaceuticals accessible to those who need them the most. I currently work in women's health, primarily in ovarian cancer and endometriosis research, and I see how many women are affected by these diseases - it is my hope that through my work, I will be able to work with those who are developing tumour biomarkers to prevent disease progression. We must take into account the fact that the top pharmaceuticals are often inaccessible to those from low income backgrounds, and while we may be making progress on the disease front, we need to come up with equitable ways for women and people of colour to be heard and believed when it comes to their diseases. Many reports have shown that disease can go undetected in these groups simply because their healthcare providers don't recognise the level of pain they are in. Especially working in women's health, we see how many doctors women have to go through before they are given an accurate diagnosis; some women see more than 15 doctors before they are truly listened to. As a professional in regulatory affairs, my hope is to bridge the gap between clinicians, patients, and pharmaceutical companies to discuss solutions that work best for everyone, and ultimately be on the ground, providing medical access to those who may not get treatment otherwise. While I may not be a medical professional, over my years as a volunteer, student intern, and employee within the hospital systems in Boston, I see how we all play a vital role in cancer prevention and health equity.
Nikita Ganeshan
Loyola University ChicagoOak Park, IL
I was 16-years-old when my family learned my uncle had lung cancer. We were told it was stage IV and he had less than a year to live. As we sprung into action, everyone's workload increased. The adults took shifts with appointments and doctor's visits. My uncle's daughter and I were left in charge of our younger siblings. We packed lunches and drove everyone to and from school. On weekends, we would support our parents in whatever way we could. We saw our parents become patient advocates and caregivers, picking up prescriptions, and tackling the steep learning curve that is cancer-related care. I then realized that the delivery of medical care is so much more nuanced than any of us could have imagined. Sadly, my uncle passed away 9 months later. There are many things I wish to accomplish or partake in throughout my medical career. I want to serve patients, help combat misinformation and arm patients with the tools to take control of their health, continue researching, learn from those who came before and mentor those who come after me, and positively impact healthcare policy. Throughout my career, I will continue advocating for interdisciplinary medicine, healthcare entrepreneurship, health policy shaped by science, and compassionate clinical care, because I am truly passionate about these areas of medicine and believe these avenues can help bridge the delivery-of-care gap for all people. As an MS1 student, I'm exploring hematology/oncology as one of my specialties of interest. Based on these goals, Academic Medicine is where I’d like to practice. Not only is teaching and mentoring more likely in an academic medicine setting, but I can also lead research initiatives and new innovative procedures and technology. Above all, I can still see patients and witness the direct impact of medical practice.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Apr 6, 2024. Winners will be announced on May 6, 2024.

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