Samueli School Grad Student Wins One of Three Chancellor’s Club Fellowships

Dec. 19, 2019 - Samueli School materials science and engineering student Reza Mohammadi is one of three UC Irvine graduate students campuswide selected to receive a Chancellor’s Club Fund for Excellence Fellowship award. The $12,000 funding will help Mohammadi, a doctoral candidate, complete his degree by the end of next year.

The Chancellor’s Club fellowships recognize and reward UCI’s most academically superior doctoral and MFA students who exhibit outstanding promise as scholars, researchers and public leaders. Awardees, who must be first-generation college students, were selected based on academic excellence, and their accomplishments and leadership qualities.

Mohammadi earned his bachelor’s degree in 2010 from Amirkabir University of Technology in Tehran, Iran. He seeks to develop a biomaterial that can regulate patients’ local immune systems around transplants. Patients with Type 1 Diabetes can receive transplanted insulin-producing cells that are housed inside biomaterials, but these implants are often are attacked and destroyed by the body’s immune system. Mohammadi is creating a biomaterial that can protect the transplanted cells from these immune attacks. “This biomaterial has enabled long-term treatment of Type 1 Diabetic mouse models without any drug or insulin administration,” he said.

“We have amazing students at UCI, and I was honestly surprised to be one of the winners this year,” added Mohammadi, who is advised by Jonathan Lakey, professor of surgery, and Weian Zhao, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences. “The Chancellor’s Club fellowship has not only motivated me to work harder during the last chapter of my Ph.D., but it also provided me with secured funding to focus on finishing my dissertation.”

- Anna Lynn Spitzer