Farita Tasnim, a research assistant in the Conformable Decoders group, has been named as one of 48 finalists for the 2021 Hertz Fellowships in applied science, mathematics, and engineering. Selected from more than 900 applicants and representing 17 universities, the finalists advance to a culminating round of interviews; the 2021 class of Hertz Fellows will be announced in May.
For her upcoming PhD work, Farita's goal is to develop theories that aim to increase our understanding of how living systems operate, as well as to design and orchestrate experiments that can test such theories. She believes that a central component of achieving this understanding will require mathematically formulating and experimentally observing the way in which a living system’s constituent components, i.e., subsystems, interact with each other and evolve to form hierarchically functioning complex systems. Ultimately the aim of her proposed research is, by understanding living systems, to help make progress towards three major goals: i) to better understand how they or their internal constituents can fail, which can lead to better techniques for early diagnosis and treatment of medical diseases or disorders; ii) to better design systems which aim to replicate the feats achieved by living systems; and iii) the better understand the features which lead to biological efficiency on Earth.
"Since 1963, the Hertz Foundation has granted fellowships empowering the nation’s most promising young minds in science and technology. Hertz Fellows receive five years of funding valued at up to $250,000, with the freedom to pursue innovative projects wherever they may lead. In addition to financial support, the foundation provides ongoing mentoring, symposia, and retreats to build a network of peers, providing fellows a forum to share ideas and explore opportunities throughout their careers."