Vikram Sundar

Vikram Sundar ’18 is the recipient of a Churchill Scholarship, one of 16 awarded in the U.S.

Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer

Campus & Community

Harvard senior awarded Churchill Scholarship

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Vikram Sundar to attend University of Cambridge with focus on computational research

For senior Vikram Sundar, May’s Commencement will mean departing one Cambridge and going to another, as he was recently awarded a prestigious Churchill Scholarship and is headed to the University of Cambridge in the fall.

Sundar was one of 16 students chosen from across the country to receive the scholarship. With a concentration in mathematics, at Cambridge he will focus on finding new ways to predict protein-ligand binding affinity.

“I was really excited when they informed me,” said Sundar ’18, a Leverett House resident. “I’m thrilled to be able to go to England and experience a different culture, and enjoy a community of talented individuals who have similar interests.”

Sundar, who will earn a research degree in chemistry, said he hopes to focus his work on computational research to assist with the development of new medical treatments.

“Determining tight ligand binders to a protein is critical for most drug discovery,” he said. “Traditional methods of identifying small-molecule ligands via screening are very expensive. I’m looking forward to trying to find a computational way to predict protein-ligand binding and using physics to eliminate the need of analyzing huge amounts of data.”

The scholarships are awarded by the Winston Churchill Foundation, founded by American Friends of Churchill in an effort to fulfill the wish of the former prime minister of Great Britain to bring gifted students to the University of Cambridge. According to its website, “the Foundation’s Scholarship Program offers American citizens of exceptional ability and outstanding achievement the opportunity to pursue graduate studies in engineering, mathematics, or the sciences at Cambridge.”

More information on the scholarship program can be found at the Churchill Foundation website.