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Two South Asians Named Leon Levy Scholars

Two South Asians Named Leon Levy Scholars

Two South Asians Named Leon Levy Scholars

India-West Staff Reporter
NEW YORK, NY – The New York Academy of Sciences and the Leon Levy Foundation on May 29 announced the 2024 cohort of Leon Levy Scholars in Neuroscience. Among the nine competitively selected scholars are two outstanding South Asian researchers, Deepak Kaji and Adithya Rajagopalan.

This prestigious postdoctoral program, initiated by the Leon Levy Foundation in 2009, continues to support exceptional young researchers across New York City, fostering their development into independent principal investigators.

Deepak Kaji, MD, PhD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, was recognized for his innovative use of 3D organoids and assembloids to model abnormal protein accumulations and aggregations in the brain, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s Disease. Kaji completed his BA in Economics and Biological Sciences at Cornell University, where he conducted an honors thesis utilizing bioengineering techniques to study cardiac development.

He earned his MD/PhD at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, conducting doctoral research in Dr. Alice Huang’s lab on tendon regeneration. In his current research residency in Mount Sinai’s psychiatry department, Kaji leverages his expertise in stem cell biology and bioengineering to model Alzheimer’s disease using 3D neocortical and hippocampal organoids in Dr. Panagiotis Roussos’ lab.

Adithya Rajagopalan, PhD, New York University was recognized for his research on how neurons in the brain’s orbitofrontal cortex combine input from other brain regions to encode complex properties that guide decision-making. Rajagopalan is a postdoctoral associate in Dr. Christine Constantinople’s lab at NYU’s Center for Neural Science, where he studies the algorithms governing decision-making. He earned a dual B.S.-M.S. degree in Biology from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research in Pune, India, in 2017. During his master’s thesis with Dr. Collins Assisi, he used computational approaches to study brain function and neuronal connectivity.

In 2023, Rajagopalan completed his PhD in Neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University, working with Dr. Glenn Turner at the HHMI Janelia Research Campus, where he used fruit flies to explore decision-making under uncertainty. Outside the lab, Rajagopalan is an avid science communicator, writing articles to share cutting-edge research with the public.

The Leon Levy Foundation, established in 2004, continues Leon Levy’s philanthropic legacy, supporting diverse areas such as the ancient world, arts and humanities, neuroscience, and more. The New York Academy of Sciences, an independent, not-for-profit organization since 1817, aims to advance science for the benefit of society.

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